Pitsea Mount Wesleyan Methodist Church is
located on the outside, north-eastern corner of Brackendale Avenue,
immediately to the south of the A13 eight-lane carriageway on the
western edge of Pitsea. The church was opened in 1929, when this
area of housing was being built up from what had previously been
open countryside. The church closed in the 1970s, and today (2019)
the building provides a home to Pitsea Mount Community Association
The Church of St Michael, Pitsea Mount,
stood some way to the eastern side of Pitsea Hall Lane, with
Brackendale Avenue to its south. It was originally built in the
twelfth century. The tower is believed to have been added in the
sixteenth century - a little late for the main phase of tower-building
but not unreasonably so. The church underwent rebuilding in 1870.
By the mid-1900s it was showing signs of structural defects. Fears
over its future were apparent as early as 1970.
By that time it had already become semi-redundant.
The planned Pitsea Mount development failed to secure its future and,
in 1983, it was officially declared redundant. St Gabriel's Church
(see links) had hastened the decision, being more accessible. The nave
was later demolished following severe vandalism. The tower is now (2019)
owned and used by Orange PCS Ltd as a base station, with the former
churchyard being restored as a public open space with impressive
Sandon Road Hall occupies a plot on the
northern side of Sandon Road, about forty metres to the east of the
High Barrels turning. In the early 1900s this area had three roads
plotted but possibly not yet laid out, with Station Road cutting
through the modern Sandon Road. The hall seems to have existed by
the inter-war period on that layout, and the 1960s restructuring
provided the present road system. Today the hall is used by an
Evangelical Christian group.
Kingdom Hall of Jehovah's Witnesses, Vange,
stands outside the north-east corner of Bardfield, off Clay Hill
Road (originally Timberlog Lane) to the immediate south-east of
Basildon town centre. The main railway line lies right behind it.
The roads here were plotted in the early 1900s and, unlike much of
the district, they have remained unchanged. A small building existed
in this site in the immediate post-war period, but the hall itself
is a much later construction - date unknown.
Trinity Methodist Church sits at the
north-east corner of the junction between Clay Hill Road and
Bardfield, and the building faces west. With the new town being
established, Methodists began meeting in 1953 in the home of a Mr
Newman-Brown. The congregation moved first to Hillview, an empty
bungalow, and then to the Free Church fellowship (see below). By
1957 it was decided that a proper church building was needed. The
present building was opened in 1959.
Gordon Mission Hall is at the south-east
corner of Clay Hill Road and Bardfield, opposite Trinity Methodist
Church (see above). A more traditional Victorian-style building, it
was established around the First World War period, when the first
nearby homes were new. By the 1950s it was the Free Church
Fellowship, with members of the later Trinity Methodists briefly
joining it. Now it is Jigsaw Pre-School, while Basildon
Seventh-Day Adventist Church also uses it.
The Parish Church of St Chad Vange
occupies a plot on the western side of Clay Hill Road, at its
southern end, about seventy metres from the London Road junction.
Residents of the initial housing construction in this eastern part
of Vange looked to All Saints Church (see links) for their spiritual
health. St Paul's Chapel was created to provided more local services
(see below), from 1939. St Chad's was its replacement in 1958,
designed by Humphreys and Hurst.
The free-standing bell tower, so characteristic
of modernist post-war architecture, houses a single, ancient bell.
That bell required repair work by 2013, and once funds had been
secured to cover the work, from the Church Buildings Council
(ChurchCare) and the Heritage Lottery Fund, a good deal of
scaffolding had to be erected from the church porch's roof to the
tower to be able to reach it. The restored bell was re-dedicated
on Sunday 8 February 2015.
St Paul's Chapel, Vange, is on the west
side of Clay Hill Road (Timberlog Lane at the time of its
construction), immediately south of St Chad's Church (see above) and
north of the London Road junction. The chapel opened on 12 July
1939, created by converting part of the church hall for All Saints
Vange (see links). That church hall still survives, despite its
reduction in size. The chapel had seating for seventy and survived
as a mission church until 1958 when St Chad replaced it.
Five photos on this page by P L Kessler (from
2011), with one kindly contributed by Ken Porter of Basildon Borough
Heritage Society, and with one by Keith Guyler / British Methodist
Buildings and two by Julian Walker, all via the 'History Files:
Churches of the British Isles' Flickr group. Additional information
by Julian Walker, and from The Buildings of England: Essex,
Volume 11, Nikolaus Pevsner (Yale University Press, 1965).