Downham – St Margaret’s

Downham church is on a hill overlooking Essex, with fields all round. It was a beautiful bright sunny day when we visited it on 13th August 2017, and a christening was just finishing. Because of this we didn’t go inside, as there were still lots of people around and inside the church enjoying their celebrations.

It has a sturdy red-brick tower with navy diapering.

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St Margaret’s at Downham

The exterior of the church:

The churchyard:

The sign:

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The signboard

Nevendon – St Peter’s

We visited this church on 13th August 2017 on a bright day. Despite it being a Sunday morning the church was locked, and the signboard outside said that services were only held on the first Sunday of the month. However, there was confetti on the path indicating a recent wedding, and there were 3 fresh burials in the graveyard, so the church is obviously still well loved and used.

It was all very neat and tidy, and although it was down a lane with lots of lovely trees around it, there was a large Sainsbury’s store just around the corner and it is on the edge of sprawling Basildon.

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St Peter’s at Nevendon

The exterior of the church:

The churchyard:

The signboard:

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Signboard

North Benfleet – All Saints

We visited this church on a bright and sunny Sunday morning. It was down a little lane, past a few houses and through some farm grounds. There was a service going on but we didn’t go in.

The church was in disrepair for many years but since March 2013 it has been used by the Greek Orthodox church. There was some fencing around the south side of the church and a lot of dead climbing plant over the south side of the tower, probably ivy. It had been cut back at the bottom so presumably will be removed at some point.

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All Saints Greek Orthodox church at North Benfleet

Exterior of the church:

The churchyard:

Sign:

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Sign in north porch

Dengie – St James

We visited this church on 22nd July 2017, the church was closed. The grounds were not particularly tidy and there is no path to the entrance porch, but around the side there was a tent with a barbecue and some picnic benches so the church seems to be well used. There is no noticeboard.

It is fairly off the beaten track and surrounded by farmland. This flat open countryside of the Dengie peninsula is not dramatic but it has its own beauty.

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St James – Dengie

The exterior of the church:

Churchyard:

Althorne – St Andrew’s

We went out for a drive around Essex on 22nd July 2017 and this was the first church that we visited. Down a little lane off the main road to Burnham-on-Crouch, with a little parking area in front of it. The church wasn’t open, also there was no noticeboard.

The grounds were extremely neatly kept, all mowed and weeded and there was a list of do’s and don’ts in regard to headstones. Even the gravestones were in neat tidy rows.

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St Andrew’s, Althorne

I will admit to photoshopping out a black cable that stretched from the centre of the tower right across the graveyard, too messy 🙂

The exterior:

The graveyard:

The roadside sign:

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Sign

West Mersea – St Peter & St Paul

We finished our trip to Mersea Island on the 14th July 2017 with a visit to St Peter & St Paul in West Mersea. The church was open, and there was quite a lot of work going on, some painting inside the porch, and lots of things being moved in and out of the building. It is situated in the middle of the busy High Street with cafes opposite and plenty of people and traffic passing by.

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St Peter and St Paul, West Mersea

The exterior and churchyard:

The interior:

Two noticeboards:

East Mersea – St Edmund King & Martyr

Visited on 14th July 2017. It is tucked down a little lane from the main road, and East Mersea Hall and a large caravan site are just nearby although you can’t see either of them from the church. Just before the turn off from the main road is a cafe called Mehalah’s, a reference to the book written by St Edmund’s most famous vicar, Sabine Baring Gould. The cafe is quirky, with bookshelves and a piano inside. We had coffee and a slice of rose and almond cake, very tasty!

The church has a large palm tree growing hard up against the tower, rather exotic for Essex. It was open, and nobody was around, either inside or out.

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St Edmund King & Martyr, East Mersea – nice mixture of building materials in the boundary wall

Exterior of the church:

In the churchyard:

Interior of the church:

There was no noticeboard outside the church, so here is a photo of Mehalah’s cafe instead 🙂

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Mehalah’s restaurant