The Essex Churches Site

 

THE ESSEX CHURCHES SITE

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St John the Baptist, Great Clacton

Great Clacton

 

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.

A big church, the mother church of Clacton on Sea. Great Clacton was once a village, but it was subsumed into the urban area of its monstrous offspring as long ago as the 1890s. This is now the poorest area of town, which is saying something. In a narrow churchyard among portakabins is St John the Baptist. Norman in the chancel, Early English in the nave, extended in the 19th Century by that barbarian Hakewill who placed three absurd neo-Norman windows at the east end. Externally it is reminiscent of Copford on the other side of Colchester, except for the addition here of a red brick tower in the 15th Century. There are other similarities - both Copford and Great Clacton were in the ownership of the Bishop of London, and as at Copford the external buttressing and springing inside show that the interior of the nave here was once vaulted, an extraordinary thought.

However, there the similarities end. Unlike wonderful Copford, the interior here has been gutted - all furnishings removed and replaced with crappy modern chairs. There is no pulpit, only a lectern. The altar stands out for being colourful - without it, you might not even think this was a church. But the people were very nice, and they told me they opened as much as they could, and you could knock on the church office door if you wanted to see inside if it was locked. Interestingly, the Tudors built the tower for the bells from the abandoned church of Little Holland, a mile or so off, but they left the previous belfry woodwork of the 13th Century in situ at the west end of the nave, where you can still see it today.

Simon Knott, September 2014

               

 

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home - index - latest - e-mail
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Norfolk churches - Suffolk churches
www.simonknott.co.uk