The Essex Churches Site

 

THE ESSEX CHURCHES SITE

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St Michael, Berechurch, Colchester

Berechurch

 

Click on the 'play' symbol in the second image to see all my photographs of this church as a slide show, then click on any image in the slideshow to see it large in a new page.

Alternatively, if you don't have flash enabled, you can go straight to the set for this church on flickr.


Colchester's southern suburbs are mostly interesting and attractive, many of them former Roman settlements with wharves onto the Colne. This was one of the wealthiest parts of England in the late middle ages, and buildings of note survive. It would be true to say that, with one or two exceptions, the suburbs are more interesting than their churches. One of the exceptions is Berechurch although its former parish church of St Michael is redundant and converted into offices.

18th century red brick tower, the church rebuilt in entirety in the 1880s after the earthquake except, importantly, for the 15th century Audley Chapel on the north side of the chancel. Berechurch is a large suburb separated from the town centre by the Garrison, but this church was out in the fields. Declared redundant in 1975, it was furiously wrecked by vandals in 1981, after which the Diocese obtained a demolition order. It was saved at the eleventh hour by the Borough Council working with the then-Redundant Churches Fund. The RCF (now CCT) took on the Audley Chapel, the Borough oversaw the restoration of the body of the church and its splitting into two levels for offices, currently architects downstairs and solicitors upstairs, where you get the key to the chapel. This is crammed with Audley memorials, some very good, but it doesn't feel much like a church. Good 15th Century roof. An unlikely survival. Ironically, dull suburbia has now encroached to reach the churchyard.

Simon Knott, August 2013

               

 

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home - index - latest - e-mail
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www.simonknott.co.uk