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Churches of the British Isles

Gallery: Churches of Essex

by Peter Kessler, 22 May 2020. Updated 16 January 2021

Basildon Part 2: Churches of Bowers Gifford & North Benfleet

St John's Mission Church, Bowers Gifford, Basildon, Essex

St John's Mission Church (or St John's Hall), Bowers Gifford, once sat on the southern side of London Road, a little under three hundred metres east of Church Road. The church (not chapel) is shown on post-war OS maps with St Margaret's C of E Primary School behind it in a more modest-sized building than the present one. It has to be assumed that the church was there to serve the school in its early days but was later removed. The land is now a car park.

Elim Pentecostal Church, Bowers Gifford, Basildon, Essex

The former Elim Pentecostal Church is close to the border between Bowers Gifford and North Benfleet, on the west side of Pound Lane, five doors north of the Kelly Road junction. The congregation of the nearby Pitsea Mission Church (Congregational) moved to their new Rectory Park Drive Chapel in 1927, leaving their old building empty at Gun Hill (see links). The Elim Pentecostal congregation bought it in the 1940s. Their old building is now (2019) The Benbow Club.

Pound Lane Mission Church, Bowers Gifford, Basildon, Essex

Pound Lane Mission Church, Bowers Gifford, stands at the north-west corner of the Pound Lane and Osborne Road junction. The mission was founded in 1905, although whether or not in this building is unknown. This was a period of plotland development at such local places as Laindon, Vange, and here, and several missions were established to keep the newcomers spiritually satisfied. The mission was certainly located here from the 1930s, as shown on OS maps.

All Saints Church, North Benfleet, Basildon, Essex

All Saints Church, North Benfleet, sits on the southern tail of North Benfleet Hall Road, off Pound Lane and immediately east of Basildon. The building's oldest parts date to about 1200. It was largely rebuilt in random stone in the 1600s, and underwent restoration in the nineteenth century. The west tower was added in 1903 and this encloses heavy timber-framing with braces and trellis struts from the earlier belfry. The nave's north wall has a Norman window.

All Saints Church, North Benfleet, Basildon, Essex

In the porch is a memorial stone for John Cole, one of Wellington's Foot Guards at Waterloo in 1815. The church became surplus to requirements with a parish merger of 1989. The last services were held in October 1994, and the church was declared redundant. It remained unused until 2013 when it became home to All Saints Orthodox Church. This began in 2009 as a missionary endeavour of St Helen's Orthodox Church, Colchester. All Saints gained its own parish in 2015.

One photo on this page kindly contributed by Graham Jones of The Church at Gun Hill, one by Ken Porter of Basildon Borough Heritage Society, one by Terry Joyce via the 'History Files: Churches of the British Isles' Flickr group, and one copyright © Robin Webster, and reused under a cc licence.



Images and text copyright © all contributors mentioned on this page. An original feature for the History Files.