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Gallery: Churches of Essex

by Peter Kessler, 22 May 2020

Basildon Part 10: Churches of Vange, Fobbing & Langdon Hills

All Saints Church, Vange, Basildon, Essex

All Saints Church Vange is on the southern side of London Road, close to the Brickfield Road junction and backing onto the Stanford-le-Hope bypass at the south edge of the Basildon district. It is thought to have originated about 1328, making it the oldest surviving church in the district. The interior, once lit by oil lamps, was wired for electricity in 1931 which also provided heating. By 1994, now far from the more heavily-inhabited areas, the church was closed.

All Saints Church, Vange, Basildon, Essex

The church is a small Perpendicular building of stone and rubble. It consists of chancel and nave, south porch, and a small wooden bell turret on the western gable containing one bell. The east window contains stained glass, while another remembers a former rector, the Reverend Wright. A three-year maintenance and restoration programme began in 2004. The roof, exterior woodwork, and interior all had work carried out to ensure the building's continued survival.

Vange Mission Bell Hill, Basildon, Essex

Vange Mission Bell Hill is on the west side of Bells Hill Road, close to its south exit. It is an original Victorian 'tin tabernacle' which was erected on 13 October 1886 to act as a free church for the scattered local population. It continues its role today as an undenominational Christian fellowship church. Briefly post-war, it seems, to the north there was also a Bells Hill Road Chapel at the Hawkesbury Bush Lane corner. Today no trace remains and no record of it can be located.

Dry Street Memorial Church (Interdenominational), Langdon Hills, Basildon, Essex

Dry Street Memorial Church (Interdenominational) is on the east side of One Tree Hill, roughly seventy metres south of the Dry Street junction. It opened in 1931 with its congregation in the Dry Street area previously having held meetings at Dry Street Farm (no more than three hundred metres east of the chapel), the first of which took place in 1834. Organised on a Methodist basis, the meeting had become undenominational by the time the chapel was built.

St Mary & All Saints (Old Church), Langdon Hills, Basildon, Essex

St Mary & All Saints (Old Church) is on the northern side of Old Church Hill in Langdon Hills, a little under a kilometre west of the B1007 High Road. It was built in the 1500s, some time after the craze for large stone towers had gone out of fashion. It seems to have replaced an earlier building, as a 'Langedon' church was attested in 1209. Atypically for a Norman church, the local lack of stone and excess of timber may have meant that it was largely a timber construction.

St Mary & All Saints (Old Church), Langdon Hills, Basildon, Essex

The church is claimed as having been built on the foundations of the old one, and was enlargened in 1834. But a new St Mary's Church to serve the parish was built in 1877-1878 (see links). This church, now excess to requirements, was formally closed in or around 1973, although it seems already have been empty for some time, in a gradually deteriorating condition. It was sold a few years later and is now a private home. Access to the large graveyard remains unrestricted.

Five photos on this page by P L Kessler (from 2011), and one kindly contributed by Hannah Fry (from 2009). Additional information from Kelly's Directory of Essex (1902), and Church of S Mary and All Saints, Langdon Hills, Rev C E Livesey BA, rector of Langdon Hills (1931).

 

 

     
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