The Essex Churches Site

 

THE ESSEX CHURCHES SITE

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St Nicholas, Rawreth

Rawreth

Rawreth Rawreth

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  Leaving Rayleigh to the west, it was a short distance into the countryside to Rawreth. St Nicholas sits broadside on to the village street. The outer gates were hooked back, the inner door was wedged open with a lump of stone. 'Welcome to your church', said the sign on door.

This is an interesting church, because it was substantially rebuilt and refurnished in the early 1880s to the designs of Father Ernest Geldart who we have met before at a number of Essex churches, but most notably at the one where he was rector for many years, Little Braxted. The tower was retained along with the arcades. All the furnishings were designed by Geldart, and even the stained glass and mosaics, which were made for him as usual by the firm of Cox, Sons & Buckley.

Geldart is interesting because he used medieval forms more commonly found in non-ecclesiastical buildings to create worship spaces for extremely high Anglo-Catholic liturgy. That tradition has gone here now, but the fixtures and fittings survive - just. A few years after Geldart's restoration the earthquake caused considerable damage, and then there was blast damage in WWII. There was a massive restoration 1986-90 which cost 75,000, but already the south chancel wall is collapsing, and the floor of the sanctuary breaking up, all the tiles coming loose. It is hard to see how they will rescue it. There are murmurings of redundancy, but I suspect that it simply isn't a significant enough church for the CCT to take it on. Thoughts provoked, we left the narrow band of countryside and, re-entering urban sprawl, came to Wickford.

Simon Knott, August 2013

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looking east looking east
Ernest Geldart altar and reredos Ernest Geldart altar window and wreathes
Good Shepherd Alpha and Omega by Ernest Geldart noli me tangere

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