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Modern Britain

Gallery: Churches of Essex

by Peter Kessler, 13 June 2010

 

 

Epping Forest Part 4: Churches of Loughton

St Mary the Virgin

St Mary the Virgin stands between the High Road and Brook Road, on the eastern side of the former. This was Loughton's third parish church, after those of St Nicholas and St John the Baptist. The population of the village of Loughton continued to expand especially around the High Road and the railway station so in 1872 the church of St Mary was built on the site of what until 1865 had partly been railway sidings, and was consecrated as a daughter church of St John's.

St Mary the Virgin

The land for the church was given by the lord of the manor, in this case the rector of St John's. The north aisle was added in 1883. In 1887 the church gained its own parish covering the High Road from the cricket ground southwards to the edge of Buckhurst Hill, and between Epping Forest and the railway, plus a large area of what were then open fields from the railway to the River Roding. Today a small park and some well-grown trees shield the church from the busy High Road.

St Edmund of Canterbury Catholic Church

St Edmund of Canterbury Catholic Church stands well back from the road on the southern side of Traps Hill, a few metres east of the junction with the High Road. The first Catholic church for Loughton was built in 1926-1927, and dedicated to Edmund of Abingdon, or Canterbury, archbishop of Canterbury (1234-1245). That building was virtually destroyed by a disastrous fire, and the present building was constructed in 1958 in the style of modern church architecture of that decade.

Loughton Methodist Church

Loughton Methodist Church is on the western side of the High Road, opposite Trap's Hill. Methodism here began with the 1873 hire of the small 1860s England's Lane Chapel, Debden Green, formerly a Congregationalist chapel. In 1890 the small wooden Loughton Chapel was built, and later rebuilt in brick. An iron chapel replaced that, on Forest Road in 1881. This was moved to the present site in 1885. A brick chapel was built in 1903, and replaced in 1986.

Forest Hall Evangelical Church

Forest Hall Evangelical Church is at 2 High Beach Road, a small red brick building facing south-east over the High Road from the south-western side of the road. The church was founded by the Plymouth Brethren, a conservative evangelical movement whose history began in Ireland in the 1820s. The building was probably erected in the 1930s, although the roof appears to be a later addition. It is sometimes referred to in literature as the Brethren Meeting Place.

Loughton Baptist Church

Loughton Baptist Church lies well back on the western side of the High Road, at its southern end opposite Meadow Road. On 3 October 1813 a small nonconformist chapel was opened here. The church supported the Baptist Union, although it was not part of it. A new church was built in 1860-1861, and Congregationalists shared the chapel as Loughton Union Church for some time, although the 1861 building appears to have been replaced by about the 1980s.

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