The Essex Churches Site

 

THE ESSEX CHURCHES SITE

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

St Edmund, East Mersea, Mersea Island

East Mersea

 

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.


From Colchester station, I cycled eleven miles and across the Strood causeway onto Mersea Island. I do like the Essex coast, and as I crossed the mudflats at low tide I recalled Betjeman and ...the level wastes of sucking mud, where distant barges high with hay come sailing in upon the flood... but once you are on the island there is little to distinguish it from the rest of agricultural East Anglian north Essex, except for the concentration of caravanners' cars. A couple of miles off the town is West Mersea, but at the other end of the island alone in the fields (apart from the caravans) is St Edmund, the parish church of East Mersea, most famous for being the church of Sabine Baring-Gould. He was responsible for the restoration, and it was while he was Rector here that he wrote his best and most famous novel, Mehalah, a story of the Essex marshes..

Open. This church is a surprise, a delight. The rugged exterior of ragstone gives way to a beautiful, simple interior, very reminiscent of nearby Fingringhoe, one of my favourites. Clean white walls, brick floors, modern chairs. The church feels almost entirely untouched by the Victorians. The clear glass of the windows is punctuated by about 20 Continental roundels of the 16th and 17th centuries bought by some antiquary on the Grand Tour, perhaps even by Baring-Gould himself, he was an inveterate traveller. A 17th century pulpit with hourglass is stranded high up by the south wall after the removal of the box pews in the 1920s. The feeling is light, well-kept and devotional. This is a super church, and needs to be in my Essex top 20.

Simon Knott, August 2013

               

 

Amazon commission helps cover the running costs of this site

 

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