The Essex Churches Site

 

THE ESSEX CHURCHES SITE

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St Peter and St Paul, Black Notley

Black Notley

 

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.

I headed down past Cressing railway station and up the other side of the valley into Black Notley and Braintree's long, dull stretch of southern suburbia. I was struck as I had been several times already by the number of obviously busy and active non-conformist churches there were in this area - the one in the main street here was called Braintree Vine Church. Were they the cause of the moribund state of the Church of England in the Braintree area? Or were they a result of it? I headed in the direction of central Braintree before cutting off into the fields and finding Black Notley church - not without difficulty, because although the building is obvious enough, all access roads to it are marked as 'private road'.

Locked without a keyholder. An idyllic setting beside a farm. You wouldn't think you were barely two miles from the centre of town. This church is a really good example of how clever an idea an Essex tower is - this is just a bog-standard flint two-celled building, but you put a little wooden turret on top and you turn it into a Church. Even the outer porch doors were locked here, but the big west window is low and full of clear glass, so you can see everything. Unusually for around here it looked very High Church, with six big candlesticks on the altar, and above it a splendid window by John Hayward and Francis Stephens, at which I would have very much liked a closer look. The obelisk grave to the south of the nave is the last resting place of John Rae, the botanist. I pottered around the graveyard for a while, but there was no point in hanging about, so after a short conversation with a lady tending a grave - 'isn't it a lovely day!' 'yes, much better than the forecast!' I got on my bike and headed back to Black Notley's main street, heading south and leaving Braintree's urban area behind at last, perhaps forever.

Simon Knott, April 2014

               

 

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home - index - latest - e-mail
links - small print - about this site
Norfolk churches - Suffolk churches
www.simonknott.co.uk