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Modern Britain

Gallery: Churches of Essex

by Peter Kessler, 12 June 2011

 

 

Epping Forest Part 7: Churches of High Beach, Theydon Bois & Theydon Garnon

The Church of the Holy Innocents High Beach

The Church of the Holy Innocents High Beach stands at the southern end of the triangle between Avey Lane and Mott Street, High Beach, in the middle of Epping Forest. The church began as St Paul's Church, built in 1836 on a site near Lippitts Hill, to the south-west. The site was poorly chosen, so in 1873 the present church was built in the Early English style to designs by architect Arthur Blomfield. St Paul's continued to handle weddings until it finally closed in 1883.

The Parish Church of St Mary the Virgin Theydon Bois

The Parish Church of St Mary the Virgin Theydon Bois stands atop the hill on the north-western side of Piercing Hill and Coppice Row in Theydon Bois. The original church lay to the south-east, along the road between Theydon Bois and Abridge. St Mary's (Old) Church existed by the twelfth century, but by the nineteenth century it was no longer as central to the village as it may earlier have been so the decision was taken to demolish it and build a new church.

The Parish Church of St Mary the Virgin Theydon Bois

The new church was built in the heart of the village in 1844. Soon afterwards defects began to appear which became so serious that the decision was taken to demolish the building and rebuild. A new architect was engaged, Sidney Smirke, who designed the Reading Room at the British Museum, and the present red-brick church was completed in 1850. It has a central aisle, choir and sanctuary, several stained glass windows, and a copper-clad spire with three bells.

Theydon Bois Baptist Church

Theydon Bois Baptist Church stands at the south-western corner of The Green and Avenue Road in Theydon Bois. In 1834 the house of James Cavill was licensed for the worship of Protestant dissenters. A Baptist church was founded about 1885. In 1900 it had twenty members and sixty Sunday school children. The building was brown brick with round-headed windows, built in 1894. It was later altered and restored before being replaced by the present building in 1962.

All Saints Church Theydon Garnon

All Saints Church Theydon Garnon stands some way back from the western side of Coopersale Lane, midway between the M11 and Hobbs Cross Road, to the immediate east of Theydon Bois. The name Theydon Garnon comes from the Norman family descended from Robert de Gernon. One of his descendants married the daughter of Henry de Taydon in Henry III's reign. The church was built in its rural spot near Garnons Hall because the old London road ran past the site.

All Saints Church Theydon Garnon

All Saints was originally one of the two main parishes of Epping along with All Saints Epping Upland. The building is still the original one, although it has been greatly refurbished over the years. The church was probably built in the thirteenth century, while the tower was apparently completed in 1520. The north aisle and porch were built in 1644, along with the frames for the gabled dormer windows above the porch. These were largely remodelled in the nineteenth century.

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