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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 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 gravestones were still in place in 1906. The plaque
was put up in 1995.
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 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 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 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.
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.