The Essex Churches Site

 

THE ESSEX CHURCHES SITE

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St Mary, Peldon

Peldon

Peldon

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  Unusually for this part of north Essex, Peldon's church sits in the heart of a proper village. Here we are in the earthquake zone to the south of Colchester, home to a good collection of small, pretty and mostly rebuilt churches. The earthquake struck just after nine o'clock in the morning of the 22nd April 1884, and its epicentre was not far from Peldon. Although not many people were killed, the damage was extensive, and over a wide area. Newspaper reports of the time noted that every single building in Peldon was damaged. All the churches in this area suffered damage to various degrees, although most were rebuilt soon afterwards in that generally enthusiastic decade for restorations.

The exterior here is a most curious mix, and bears more evidence of repairs than other churches in the area. The chancel collapsed in the earthquake and the nave was damaged, but the ragstone tower withstood the shock. The nave was repaired in red brick, part of the former ragstone south wall remaining as a patch. A truncated chancel was added in a rather alarming mix of yellow brick and flint rubble.

However, when you step inside the star of the show is a super 15th century hammerbeam roof, making this a bright hall of a church with crisp white walls and no coloured glass, a very likeable interior indeed. You wondered why they didn't just block the east end, as the effect would have been even more dramatic. On the north wall is a large mosaic by local people of the Peldon Madonna.A church which is at once devotional and an aesthetic pleasure, a happy outcome of its earthquake damage, especially on a sunny day.

Simon Knott, October 2012

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looking east looking east looking west
Faith by A A Orr, 1926 Hope by A A Orr, 1926 Peldon Madonna Angel at the empty tomb (Gay Hutchings, 2002) IHS
two angels Hanover royal arms preach the gospel to every creature

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