History Files


Modern Britain

Gallery: Churches of Essex

by Peter Kessler, 12 June 2011



Epping Forest Part 8: Churches of Theydon Bois, Abridge & Lambourne

St Mary's (Old) Church Theydon Bois

St Mary's (Old) Church Theydon Bois stood on the western side of Abridge Road adjoining Theydon Hall, east of Theydon Bois. The church existed by the twelfth century and perhaps even earlier, possibly dedicated to St Botolph. It consisted of a nave, chancel, south porch, and a western wooden bell turret. It was taken down in 1844, replaced by the new church. The last burial was in 1849 and the gravestones were still in place in 1906. The plaque was put up in 1995.

Abridge Evangelical Free Church

Abridge Evangelical Free Church is located at the top of a short, narrow lane called at Chapel Chase, situated on the southern side of the London Road in Abridge, on the western side of the village. The church was started about 1923 when a Mr White from Woodford held services first in the Parish Room (the former Wesleyan Chapel, see below) and later with a tent and caravan. In 1924 the church was built; a wooden building with a cement-rendered front.

Abridge Wesleyan Chapel

Abridge Wesleyan Chapel is on the northern side of London Road, next to the Malsters Arms at the north-west corner with Hoe Lane. The chapel was opened on 2 July 1833 but did not long remain Wesleyan. There were no other Wesleyan churches near and pulpit supply must have been difficult. Taken over about 1844, it became Abridge Congregational Chapel. It was given up around 1905 and used as a parish room for some time. By 2010 it was a private dwelling.

Holy Trinity Church Abridge

Holy Trinity Church Abridge is on the southern side of the Ongar Road, near The Chestnuts. It was built in 1836 as a chapel of ease to St Mary & All Saints Lambourne (below), which was a three mile walk across country. It was a plain rectangular building with lancet windows along the sides, in gault brick with red brick dressings. The gabled street front dates from 1877. A new chancel and vestries were added in 1938. In 2009 the church was closed due to dry rot.

St Mary & All Saints Lambourne

St Mary & All Saints Lambourne stands at the top of Church Lane, beside Lambourne Hall, which is close to Soapley's Wood and lies off the southern side of the Ongar Road. The parish is the largest in Ongar Hundred and was in existence at the time of Edward the Confessor. At this time, in 1050, the lands belonged to a Saxon named Leffi, and a small wooden church probably stood on the site. The present aisleless church began in the twelfth century with the nave.

St Mary & All Saints Lambourne

The chancel was built in the thirteenth century and the bell turret in the sixteenth century. This and the west gallery, built in 1704-1705, are weather-boarded, giving the building a Scandinavian appearance. The west gallery was paid for by an undisclosed benefactor. An upper tier was added in 1820. Wall paintings dating from about 1400 were later uncovered on the walls of the church, and a reset doorway, now blocked on the north wall, was in use in the early nave.

In Depth
In Depth


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