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Gallery: Churches of East London
by Peter Kessler, 7 March 2010
Redbridge Part 6: Churches of South Woodford &
The Parish Church of St Mary's Woodford
is on the western side of the High Street, South Woodford, just 180
metres (yards) or so north of the North Circular road. The church
dates at least to 1177, when it was among the possessions of the
canons of Waltham Holy Cross, and possibly before the Norman Conquest.
It was built some distance from the main settlement, and by the
eighteenth century it and the hamlet which had grown up around it
were known as Church End.
The church has been dedicated to St Mary since at
least the fourteenth century, though it has sometimes been known as
St Margaret's. Nothing survives of the medieval building. Former
rector, Blessed John Larke, was martyred at Tyburn in 1544 for
defying Henry VIII. By 1622 the village had grown enough to warrant
enlargement work. More work was carried out in 1816 and 1891. In
1969 parts of the church were destroyed by arson and were rebuilt
with a modern touch.
Woodford Methodist Church is a little
further north, on Derby Road. The first Wesleyan society here seems
to have been founded in the 1830s. In or soon after 1837 they took
over the old Congregational chapel in Mill Lane, Woodford Green. One
of their superintendents founded Woodford Green United Free Church,
but the Mill Lane chapel ended after 1852. Some of the Woodford
Green people later seceded to form this present church on Derby Road
Salway Evangelical Church sits on an open
plot of land on the corner of Forest Approach & Woodford Green,
just south of the green itself. The church was opened in 1933 by
members of the Christian Brethren from Latchett Evangelical Church
in South Woodford. In 1966 it had an active membership of nearly
two hundred, including two missionaries in India and one in Argentina.
The present building would seem to be the original 1930s one, and is
still open for worship.
Woodford Green Congregational Church
stood on Broomhill Road, overlooking Woodford Green, approximately
on the site of the current Sir James Hawkey Hall. The church was
founded about 1790, and was registered in 1795 as Providence
Chapel, for Independents. In 1815 a church was formed,
apparently in nearby Horn Lane, and a meeting was held at that
chapel until 1837, when a second, larger building was erected
on the same site. Additions were made in 1861.
The building was a rectangular stucco-faced
building in the neo-Classical style with a Corinthian portico of
three bays. It was demolished in 1873 and a third church (pictured)
designed by Rowland Plumbe, was built on the green and opened in 1874.
It was stone, in the Early English style with a tall spire, but
despite prospering, the church was wrecked by a flying bomb in 1944.
Instead of rebuilding, the congregation joined Woodford Green United
Free Church in 1947.
Four photos on this page by P L Kessler, and two
kindly contributed by Keith Wreyford. Additional information by Keith