Rainham Parish Church of St Helen & St
Giles lies inside the junction of the Broadway and Upminster Road
South in Rainham (formerly in Essex). In 1066 a priest held half a hide
of land in Rainham, suggesting the existence of a church here before the
Conquest. The present church was built of septaria and flint-rubble,
with ashlar dressings, probably about 1178 when Richard de Lucy the
justiciar arranged the grant of the advowson to Lesnes Abbey in Kent.
The twelfth century three bay arcades retain their
original round arches and square piers, but thirteenth century alterations
affected all parts of the church. The upper stage of the tower was built at
this time and more work was done between the late thirteenth and fifteenth
centuries. Little else was done until 1719 and 1767. In 1856 the church
was said to be in a poor way, and a major restoration was carried out in
1897. Today the church offers an evangelical service.
The Chapel of All Saints was sited within
Rainham parish churchyard (above). In 1348 Sir John de Staunton was
licensed to found a chantry there with two chaplains. It was endowed
with a house, land and funds from Rainham rents. The land was increased
by over thirty per cent in 1392. By 1521 the land, and therefore the
endowment, had been sharply reduced and no one would accept the chaplaincy.
So it was converted into a free chapel, and then dissolved in 1548.
South View Mission Hall formerly stood on
Wennington Road, a little to the east of the parish church. The hall
was registered by Brethren in 1902. As it was later known as Maskell's
Chapel, it may have been founded by Jeremiah Maskell, a village
shopkeeper between about 1882–1912. It still existed in 1930-1935, when
the members were described as Exclusive Brethren, but had ceased by 1954.
No trace of it remained in 2010 but it may have been located close to
Rainham Methodist Church is on the south-east
corner of Wennington Road and Ellis Avenue. Six nonconformists were
enumerated in 1676. They may have been Baptists, as Rainham General
Baptist Church existed by 1697. There is no record of the church after
1704. Wesleyan Methodism arrived about 1767 and was revived about 1831. A
chapel was opened in the Broadway between 1834-1851 (demolished 1939), and
the present buildings opened in 1930 and 1959.
Praise Community Church is on the
north-eastern side of Cowper Road. The building was erected as the
Gospel Hall in 1884 when a small gospel mission was founded
here. This may have been Providence Chapel, attributed in the
same year to Strict Baptists. In 1888 William Spear, of East Hall,
Wennington, set up a small iron hall formerly used by Brethren in West
Thurrock, supported by the Vellacotts. The present gospel hall was built
later alongside the iron hall.
St Mary & St Peter Wennington Parish Church
lies on the southern side of Wennington Road, opposite Church Lane in
Wennington. The first church on this site was Saxon, although its
date of construction, probably in the late seventh or eighth centuries,
is impossible to pin down. It certainly existed in 1042-1044, when
Edward the Confessor confirmed the parish as belonging to Westminster
Abbey. The present Norman church replaced it in the thirteenth century.
The church was built in Kentish ragstone. The
chancel, nave, and south aisle were apparently rebuilt in the early
thirteenth century. In the early fourteenth century the north aisle
was added, and later in the same century the embattled tower was
added. Some restoration took place in 1866, which is probably when
the north porch was added (seen on the far right of the photo) and
remains the main entrance to the church to this day. It is now a
Grade II listed building.
Rainham Jewish Cemetery occupies a large
plot on the southern side of Upminster Road North, reaching all the
way east to border Launder's Lane, which lies to the east of Rainham.
The Jewish Federation cemetery is administered by the Federation
Burial Society, based at 9/11 Greatorex Street, London E1, and the
site was dedicated in 1938. It encompasses some nineteen and-a-half
hectares (forty-eight acres) of land within its wall and more land
Rainham Cemetery Chapel lies within the
cemetery itself, which is at the north-eastern corner of Upminster
Road North and Allen Road, heading back towards Rainham from the
Jewish Cemetery (see above). When the cemetery was consecrated in
1902, Allen Road did not exist, probably being laid down and built
up in the 1930s and 1950s. Despite the date of consecration for the
site, the first burial here apparently took place in 1871, according