Much of the material here has been taken from Goldhanger - an Estuary Village written by Maura Benham, and published in 1977. The book is now out of print, however the Trustees of Maura Benham's estate kindly gave the local History Group permission to reproduce all or parts of the book for non-profit making uses. The complete book has been digitised and is available separately on this site at...

Goldhanger - an Estuary Village




Maura’s Trustees wrote:

All who knew Maura would agree that she would have been delighted to know that her work and interest in the Church and village is still being shared by others.




Some of the Information about past rectors and some extracts from Parish magazines are taken from Little Totham, The Story of a Small Village published in 2005. The author Lorna Key has kindly given permission for these to be included here.

Acknowledgements relating to other short extracts from published material are given within the text.




There is a video introduction to the history of Peter's Church on YouTube. It includes a tour of the exterior and interior of the building and highlights the main historical features that are covered on this webpage...

The video is just over nine minutes long and can also be found with a search within Youtube for "St Peters Church Goldhanger".




The information is presented here in three forms:

interactive facility on a plan view of the Church - followed by a chronological ordering.

The third part is extracts from British Listed Buildings online,  given at the end of this page...



Chronological Order...








There was Roman occupation in the vicinity and Roman material has been identified in the Church building. Particularly the quoins, or corner stones, of the north wall. Maura Benham wrote... These may have come from a Romano British building said to have stood in Fish Street.

see... the Roman connections in "Ancient posts in the Creek"




St.Cedd founded a Celtic style community at Othona (Bradwell-on-sea) and built his "Cathedral" of St Peters-on-the-wall on the foundations of the Roman fort. There are similarities in building material and style with St Peter's, particularly the Norman windows. Perhaps the two buildings originally had some similarity.

It is known that some of the first stone churches to be built in south east England was around AD600, when Anglo-Saxon Christian dynasties required stone churches to be built in contrast with the timber buildings of the time. A policy that survived for 1000 years.






Saxon religious settlements and burial grounds have been found in the village. St Peters has a sunken floor, which is characteristic of Saxon buildings. Perhaps the original appearance of St Peters was similar to the Saxon buildings found at the Elms Farm archaeological site in Heybridge.




The Maldon Archaeological Group wrote:

The Churches in Maldon were not mentioned in the Domesday Book because they were too poor to be taxed. These Churches were probably ministered to by Saxon priests in buildings constructed only of timber and thatch.

So the Church could have been originally been thatched as shown here




The Domesday Book refers to Manor of Goldhangre and a priest called "Eldred". See...

Domesday book entry for Goldhanger




Goldhanger & Little Totham manors & Churches merged with one Rector.





Norman round topped windows with Roman tiles were placed in the north wall and remain there.




The first locally recorded Rector of Goldhanger was called "Nicholas" who spent time in Newgate prison for killing a man. The 48 other Rectors who have held the post up until 1987 are listed in a framed manuscript on the vestry wall. A copy is available here (which can be enlarged).




Maura Benham wrote:  Considerable rebuilding work must have been carried out at St. Peter's Church in the latter part of the 14th century. The walls of the nave were heightened (as can be seen on the outside of the north wall) and the fine crown post roof with three tie-beams was built over the nave. A remarkable feature of this roof is the chamfering of every constituent timber, including the smallest and least important. C.A.Hewett, in "Church Carpentry" dated 1974, found this roof of particular Interest. He dated it between 1375 and 1400.



An extract from C.A.Hewett’s 1974 Church Carpentry...

Select to enlarge and zoom



Maura also wrote:  The four carved stone wall plates in the nave, supporting the roof are of particular interest. We do not know who the stone heads may have represented.

However, The Revd. Gardner referred to these carved stone corbels and used them as a theme of a sermon, referring to them as "the four kings and queens".





Caen stone facings from Normandy were used in this period. This type of stone can still be found at the edges of the creek and estuary where it was deposited over board from sailing barges, having been used as ballast.




Maura Benham wrote…

On either side of the south porch doorway one sees a fine intricate stone carving of  leaves  and  berries,  each  of  the  carvings containing a small animal. Whether these date from the early 14th century, when such carvings were carried out at Southwell, York and Lincoln, is uncertain.








These small animals are most likely to be representations of Great Crested Newts,

a species of Salamander which still survives in the vicinity.






List of Buildings of Special Architectural or Historic Interest, dated 1985:

Possible 14th century carving of a man, angel with ivy leaves and a small animal.

also identified as "Tobias and the Angel"




The Black Death halved the number of Essex clergy and the benefice was probably vacant for some time.




Lt Totham funded its own Chaplain - and it remained this way for 200 years.




The tower was added at the west end of the Church, probably as a watch tower with one bell.


earliest photograph                 ancient door in tower                    open view of the tower

                                                                                                                   Select to enlarge and zoom

east and south view from the tower today - Select to enlarge and zoom

When there was perhaps just one bell in the tower, access to the roof would have been easy. However, today with eight bells crammed in, it is very difficult and there is no public access.

There is a detailed...  Study of St Peter’s Church Tower  available here




The walls and roof of the Church raised for the second time.








Plays were performed in the Church to raise money to construct a new roof.




The The Higham family added the South chapel.




Date of the Awdrie Hiegham brass plaque on the tomb in the Lady Chapel




The Interior of the Church was dramatically changed by the Reformation.

Maura Benham wrote…The people of England found themselves ordered to change the interior of their Churches beyond recognition.

The Royal Injunction of 1547 had ordered "that they shall take away, utterly extinct and destroy, all shrines, covering of shrines, all tables, candlesticks, trindles or rolls of wax, pictures, paintings, and all other monuments of feigned miracles, pilgrimages, idolatry and superstition, so that there remain no memory of the same in walls, glass windows or elsewhere within their Churches or houses".

We cannot envisage the interior of Goldhanger Church either before or after these changes, but the main structure as we know it was there at the time of the Reformation.




An inventory of "Church Goods" was made in this year and recorded in the 1873 Transactions of the Essex Archaeological Society...

Select to enlarge and zoom




Maura Benham wrote…

There was either a doorway or an alcove in the north wall of the chancel. Parts of a stone surround resembling a door were revealed during replastering of the interior in 1976, and the space was filled with narrow bricks of the Tudor period. One may wonder why it was closed up. Its position in the north wall of the chancel suggests that it could have been an alcove used as an Easter sepulchre, possibly incorporating a tomb.

The inventory of Church goods made at Goldhanger at this time (shown above) included sepulchre lights. These were tapers given by bachelors and maidens at Easter.



A study of the outside wall on the north side the Chancel reveals a possible doorway...

Over 800 hundred years it is quite likely there was both an Easter sepulchre and a doorway leading to the Rectory at different times located here.


to enlarge

and zoom



Maura also wrote... The four stone carvings set by the windows in the north all said to be 16th century, represent the winged beasts of the Revelation:




The flying eagle                  The calf                       The human face                    The lion




The Revd Thomas Downing was removed from office during the reformation.




Mr. Allyson, minister, caused upset by refusing to: "babptyse a child beyng base born weythin the paryshe beyng a vargrant person."




The Revd. John Knight was excommunicated "for not wearing his supplisse".




There was a prosecution for "camping" (playing football) in the churchyard on the Sabbath.




At a Court held in Coggeshall James Nicholson of Goldhanger, was brought before the Archdeacon for declining to pay a proportion of the cost of erecting a seat for the minister.




A Goldhanger witch was excommunicated.




Maura Benham wrote…

It was finally decided that "a convenient seat should be made for the minister to read the service in", and installed the clergy desk or pew as a permanent fixture and part of the recognised furniture of the parish Church.




The Revd. Edward Howes conversed by letter with the governor of Massachusetts about "a magneficall engine" which would enable him and the governor to sympathize at a distance. An attempt to invent telegraphy. The Revd. Howes also published a book in this year on “A new and brief arithmetic" which, he promised “would enable even a mean capacity person to attain skill and facility”.

There is much more about. . . The Revd Edward Howes




The Church tower contained 4 bells. Two of the bells have this date and are inscribed:


The Miles Graye foundry was in Colchester.  More about...  the bells of St Peters




From the Essex Countryside magazine of 1962...

The Rector was involved in an incident in 1696. Thomas Sparrow, labourer from Tollesbury and a friend of Rector John Lasby's daughter, was taken to the quarter sessions court. He was "caught on a dark October night of 1696 with a ladder planted against the wall of the Rectory beneath the young lady's window, with every preparation made for conveying her away and she still a minor". The Rector was very wroth.




The Iron-bound almsbox

in the Lady Chapel dates

from this period.




The Creed, and Ten Commandments were said to be painted on the inside walls.




A Curate was installed to work in both Goldhanger and Little Totham parishes.





A sketch in the Church of this date which hangs in the Church and shows three gables over the south isle...


Select to enlarge and zoom




Two of the bells in the tower have this date




St Peters Church donated 2 shillings towards Nelson's victory.




The Churchwarden Accounts from 1750-1930 show a payment to the Poorhouse in 1754: "A load of bushes for the poorhouse". However, the accounts show many payments of..."Relieve for Messrs ... with apabs" (apabs being Latin for food). The Parish Poorhouse had 11 residents at around this time.




The Revd Thomas Leigh Rector of Wickham Bishops, purchased the Goldhanger Benifice which included The Glebe and The Parsonage. He installed his son Edward as Rector, who remained until his death in 1946. The family also owned Pumphouse Farm and Follyfaults Farm.

There is more about the... Leigh family




42 children were attending school in the vestry.

Maura Benham wrote...

One may wonder where the large vestry was. The present vestry is a small enclosed area at the west end of the south aisle, and was previously the base of the tower, now the ringing chamber. The three gables shown in the 18th-century drawing may have formed some sort of gallery over the south isle, and this might have been the room in which the school was held, though no windows are shown in the gables.

There is more about the history of... The Village School




The Rural Deans report of this date gives a congregation size of 260-300.





The Revd. Charles Brian Leigh

 was appointed Rector and

 remained until 1893.

There is more about the...

Revd. C B Leigh




The Revd. Thomas Leigh, father of the Rector paid for the building of the new "Church of England" school.  There is more about... Village School





A silver communion service and a pair of alms dishes were donated to the Church by Sarah Leigh in memory of her brother Edward. This is the paten, cup and flagon which are on long-term loan to Chelmsford Cathedral.




A letter sent to Sarah Leigh by the Church Wardens...

We the undersigned Parishioners of Goldhanger beg most respectfully to offer our grateful thanks for your kind and Liberal gift of a Silver Communion Service for the use of the Parish Church.

The full letter is available here  (which can be enlarged)




The Revd. C B Leigh built the "New Rectory", now called Goldhanger House.

There is much more here about... the new Rectory





The Revd. Leigh, who paid for the extensive refurbishments of the Church, had “CBL” as a dedication cast into the down pipes.




The Chelmsford Chronicle reported that the Church had been "thoroughly restored"…"the whole of which has been defrayed by the rector, the Rev C B Leigh", and the parishioners have raised a subscription to erect a handsome organ manufactured by Walker of London.





The Revd. Leigh instructed that red brick walls be build around the Church and encouraged parishioners to build them along the streets. The stile through the wall at the back of the churchyard is still much admired by local artists.

There is more about the village... Red Brick Walls







The two Norman shaped window frames in the north wall were probably fitted with these stained glass windows by The Revd.C.B. Leigh at around this time.

select a window to enlarge and zoom


      St Andreas                St Peter







The Pulpit and Lectern were also installed by the Leigh family. It was said to be carved by the village carpenter Jacob Ardley.





Maura Benham wrote of this period...

Fine old carved oak was used in the choir stalls were installed by the Leigh family at this time.




The Minton floor tiles in the Sanctuary and Chancel undoubtedly came from this period...


Sanctuary floor tiles                  Chancel floor tiles





The Leigh family replaced the stained glass windows in the Lady Chapel with windows dedicated to the Priscilla Leigh (the Rector’s sister-in-law) of Marks Hall, who died in this year aged 28.




The Leigh family most probably replaced all the stained glass windows in this period...




                        North side                       Chancel                      Lady Chapel(east)                   Lady Chapel(south)                the tower

                                                                                     (select a window to enlarge and zoom)




The Leigh family undoubtedly replaced the font at the same time as all the other restoration work, as British Listed Buildings Online quotes:  C19 stone octagonal font. Moulded bases and shafts. Foliate carvings between the trefoiled heads”.

The top section containing a fixed lead bowl (a stainless-steel insert is now used) and is round, while the lower plinth is octagonal with eight Tuscan style columns. The structure appears to be in one solid piece of possibly Purbeck stone as no joins can be seen.







the Font is totally symmetrical

as these four views show....

Select to enlarge







The heavy oak lid is also completely symmetrical.

Select to enlarge




The Revd. C B Leigh was declared bankrupt and retired two year later.






The Revd. Frederick Gardner was appointed Rector in this year.

This painting of him hangs at  the back of the Church.

There is much more here about... The Revd. Gardner





The Revd. Gardner started the Parish magazine and wrote in it… some form of useful literature, which will be a welcome companion to your fireside when the day's work is over. Nothing will be found more interesting and more useful than the accompanying magazine.




The churchyard was extended and six foot iron railings were installed which were made in the Maldon Iron Works. Two section remained until 2014, the rest was probably removed during one of the two wars. There was also another pathway through the Churchyard at this time that no longer exists that is shown in this postcard...

There are many more postcard Views of St Peters here...




An extract from Kelly's Directory of this year...

The Church of St. Peter is a building of dressed flint with Caen stone facing's, partly in the Early English and partly in the Perpendicular style, consisting of chancel, nave, south chapel, south porch and an embattled western tower containing 5 bells. In the Church is an stone to Anthony Heyham, and his wife c. 1557.

The Church has been thoroughly repaired at the expense of the Leigh family and affords 270 sittings. The register dates from the year 1558. The living is a rectory, with that of Little. Totham annexed, joint net yearly value £554, with 35 acres of glebe and residence, in the gift of the trustees of G. D. Collins esq. and held since 1893 by the Rev. Frederick Thomas Gardner M.A. of St. Peter's College, Cambridge




The Church bells were upgraded to a peal of 6.  More about...  the bells of St Peters




The Revd. Gardner started a "coal club" to buy coal in bulk at lower prices for his parishioners.




From "Little Totham – The Story of a Small Village" ...

The children went to a Sunday School Christmas treat at the Rectory in a horse and cart. "The repast being over, the curtains at one end of the room were drawn aside revealing the lighted Christmas tree laden with presents of which every child received one or two. Recitations were given and songs sung. Before dispersing the children were further regaled with cake, oranges, sweets and nuts.




From "Little Totham – The Story of a Small Village" …

The Revd. Gardner wrote his monthly letter in the Parish Magazine from Spitzbergen and announced that 43 London Children would be coming to stay in Goldhanger and Little Totham as they normally did each year.

More about...  The Rector’s Spitzbergen involvement




A new organ was installed

at the front of the nave.

This photo was taken in that year.




The Ellacombe Chimes frame in the ringing chamber has a manufacturer's plate on it with this date. Very few Churches still have working Ellacombe Chimes, and even fewer have eight bells with working chimes.

The lower part of the Ellacombe Chimes frame was once a cupboard used to store the hand bells. The hand bells date from about this period and were probably a gift from the Gardner family.

More about the ...  the Ellacombe Chimes





A plaque in the bell tower commemorates the first peal on 6 bells by local ringers. The ringers were all given silver medallions by the Revd. Gardiner.




This postcard photograph was taken well before the war memorial was built in 1920 and shows that the front Churchyard was clear of grave stones even at this time.

There are more postcard views here...




The Parish Magazine reported that:

“A temporary Chancel screen has been erected as the previous one has been much missed on its removal". It will remain in its place until such times as a permanent Chancel screen may be given which the Church really needs".

This early 1900s postcard below shows the simple rood screen and the organ which was positioned at the front of the Church at that time...

select to enlarge and zoom




The Parish Magazine reported that a new organ has been installed. The builder was Mr. Dalladay of Hastings. It has two manuals, nine speaker stops,448 pipes.




Two pilots of 37 Squadron, the Royal Flying Corps, based at Goldhanger aerodrome, were killed locally in separate incidents and are buried in the Churchyard. Their gravestones are maintained annually by the Commonwealth War Graves Commission.

See...The Great-War at Goldhanger





The John Wakelin memorial window

was installed near the south door.

The face is said to be based on the actual man.



to enlarge

and zoom





The "impressive and noble" war memorial was built in the Churchyard with white Portland stone to commemorate the seventeen parishioners who lost their lives in The Great War. They included the Revd. Gardner’s son, who was at “the front” for just four days. No photographs of the dedication ceremony have been found, but many photos of similar ceremonies elsewhere have enabled this sketch to be produced...

Select to enlarge and zoom





When first erected the carved almost white Portland stone would have been an impressive sight. Postcard images in sepia from the time show the brightness of the stone...


Over the last 100 years however the stone has lost that original brilliance and it has been recommended that any form of cleaning is not attempted as that would lose the sharpness of the carving.



Today it is possible to envisage what the memorial originally looked like by used current photos and digital enhancement...

zoom in on a high-definition image of the Memorial




More about... The Great War

The Rector also wrote many... Parish magazine reports during the Great War

After 100 years the names on the memorial are now only just readable, and in 2014 a new plague was added to the front of memorial to provide readable names and to add two more names of those now known to have lost their lives in the Great War.

More about... unveiling the new plaque





The Inventory of the Historical Monuments in Essex in this year described the Parish Church of St. Peters...

Select to enlarge and zoom




An extracts from:  Church Plate of Essex, published in this year...

Select to enlarge and zoom




Before the arrival of electricity in the village in the late 1930s, the Church was illuminated with oil lamps and heated with a coal burning stove. Two polished brass Sanctuary lantern were kept permanently lit over the two alters. One of them is still stored in the tower...


Oil lamp                                                  Sanctuary lanterns




When this photograph of the font was taken, probably in the 1930s oil lamps can still be seen and the vestry had not yet been built in the south west corner.

The font appears to be made from one solid piece of stone as no joins can be seen in it.




Mains electricity installed in the Church at a cost of £36 and the oil lamps were removed. The Rev Gardner refused to allow overhead electricity cables to cross his land or be used around the village. Underground cables had to be installed at much greater expense. However, an overhead cable crosses the front of the Churchyard, presumably to avoid digging in the graveyard..




The Parish Magazine reported that a new vestry has been erected at the west end of the south aisle. Cupboards and bookshelves have been removed from the ringing chamber.




The Parish Magazine reported:

"The stencilled canvas on the walls of the Chancel and Lady Chapel is very dirty and worse for wear. It will be removed and the walls given several coats of good distemper".

This part of an early 1900s sepia postcard shows the wall decoration in the Chancel, which looks like a Pugin style ecclesiastical design of wallpaper, similar to the ones show here. Pugin’s designs were often in very bright colours with gilding included, However it is not know if the wallpaper in St Peters Chancel was brightly coloured like the sample on the right here...


                          Select to enlarge and zoom in




This picture is similar to one in an article in the East Anglian DailyTimes in 1939 entitled… "An Essex Parish - its History and Romance". It shows a boiler chimney located near the south door. The gap in the pews is still there.




These extracts from the same article in the East Anglian Daily Times of June 1939…

The ancient walls of St.Peters bear the tiles one associates with the days of the Romans. Most of the building, however, dates from early English times, but the south porch and the tower, the latter exceptionally broad and imposing, are about two centuries younger.

Partly because of the tower, the building seems singularly striking, and is rendered even more so by a stone Calvary facing the village, an affair impressive and noble of aspect, which is Goldhanger's memorial to the men of the parish "who fought and died in the Great War"

Although the exterior of St. Peters is impressive; the inside possesses more claims on the attention; the beautiful proportions the lancet windows, whose origin goes back to the very beginning of the building, the splendid woodwork of the roofs and pulpit, the carving here contrasts with the plain modern benches. All these combine to give the Church a very dignified air, so here one feels to be in the presence of something which has survived the stress and storms of centuries, and has been rendered the more remarkable in consequence.

An early survivor is a piscina in the usual position to the south of the chancel. Although restoration has occurred even so the old workmanship seems very apparent.

 A really ancient monument takes the form of a tomb. It retains a brass showing an inscription, but unfortunately, as one so often discovers, the effigies and two shields have been removed. In spite of this, the tomb is in a very fine state of preservation indeed, and from the epitaph we find that here is interred Antony Heigham whose death occurred in 1557.

The font, circular in shape and supported by nine broad shafts, is modern, but even in this case a link with the past reveals itself, for this font appears to be a copy of one constructed in Norman times.




The two large oil paintings hanging in the church and shown below were moved from the Rectory to the Church at the beginning of the war. Both are dedicated to the Revd. Gardner and were donated by the Gardner family after the Rector's death in 1936. They are both extremely well painted, probably by the same Victorian artist, but are unsigned and have darkened with age.


In recent years we have learnt far more about...  The Oil Paintings in St Peters




The Rector was appointed as an RAF chaplain.




The contents of the Church was insured for £1000 worth of war damages.




The graveyard was extended.




The 1850s built Rectory was sold and re-named "Goldhanger House"




The last Curate left the village and the Parsonage was sold.

No full list of Curates at St. Peters has been found. Here is a ... Partial list of Curates




The Parish magazine was re-launched after a gap of several years.




An electric blower was installed on the organ. Before this time the pump had been hand operated.




These two Sequoia trees were planted in the Churchyard by Crawshay Frost.





Alfred Appleton & Bernard Mann

raising  the tenor bell

Tower Captain Bernard Mann and Rector Bill Randall organised the upgrading of the bells to a peal of 8 and a new steel frame was also installed. One of the bells came from the redundant Church of St Giles in Colchester. To raise funds for the refurbishments, house to house collections were organised. Bernard also organised the installation of glass plates between the nave and the ringing chamber. The glass came from a disused shop in Colchester. A new tenor bell was cast and inscribed in the memory of the Revd. Gardner and his wife Ethel Mary.

more about...  the bells of St Peters





From Buildings on England - Essex,  by Nikolaus Pevsner

The north side of the Church shows its 11th century origin: one chancel window, the nave east angle, and one nave window. Much re-use of Roman brick, 14th century south aisle mostly of flint, but also incorporating Roman bricks.

15th century west tower with diagonal buttresses and some flint and stone decoration. The south arcade inside is of the 19th century. Stained glass: south chapel, south and east windows of 1858, typical of their date. Monument: Tomb-chest with black cover-plate, one brass to a woman and indents of other brasses. The monument was to Thomas Heigham 1531.




The Maldon & Burnham Standard reported that Church belfry and tower restoration was complete and paid for with £1,600 raised in the Parish over the previous 5 years.




Areas of the east Churchyard were levelled and headstones placed around the edges.




A wooden sculpture by Crawshay Frost was placed in the Lady Chapel

after his death, where it remains.




The Maldon & Burnham Standard reported that the choir boys "did their bit to help rid St Peters Church Goldhanger of black watch beetles at a church bazaar on Saturday". They raised £130.




Norman Scarfe in “A Shell Guide to Essex”  wrote of St Peters…

The Church's building history can be read largely in the east wall with its Roman-brick quoins, mixed chocolate pudding-stone, buff septaria and grey flints: Norman chancel and nave: south aisle late 14th century, see the south doorway , south chapel and west tower : 15th century South chapel and aisle must have become ruined, the arcade and upper walls are now Victorian.




The established oak tree in the churchyard near the south door, was planted around this time. The acorn came from the great oak tree on Sandon village green which was several hundred years old and cut down in 2001 having become diseased.







Tollesbury bellringer Bob Leavett donated the weather vane in memory of past bellringers. It was re-gilded and mounted on the tower by blacksmith George Emeny and Terry Carter.




The organ was dismantled and overhauled.




A flower arranger’s cupboard was installed at the rear of the Church in memory of Henry and May Webb.




The one hundredth peal was rung at St Peters to mark Bernard Mann's 80th birthday, 40 years since the upgrade to 8 bells and the 30 years Bernard had been tower captain.




Parts of the ceiling plaster fell down damaging the lectern. A Pipistrelle bat colony was found during the repair work and was protected.




A memorial book and display stand was donated by Mrs Forbes and is installed in the Lady Chapel.




The Sharing of the Benefice with Little Totham, which had been in place for hundreds of years, came to an end in this year and a new trinity of parishes was formed with Great Totham, Little Totham and Goldhanger.





Crumbling plaster work was removed from the internal walls of the ringing chamber in the tower and the stonework was revealed and pointed. An early stonemason's mark has been exposed.





A new Community Room was added to the north side of the Church with access through the existing north door. This provides a small meeting room, a kitchen, disabled toilet facilities, and disabled access to the Church. Later, the 100 remains found at the site were reinterred with due ceremony in the north-east corner of the graveyard close to the stile.   




When members of the diocesan architectural committee visited the churchyard to assess the plan to add a new plaque to the Great-War Memorial to make the names readable again, members of the committee expressed their surprise at the scale and quality of the Portland stonework of the structure. While approving the plan to add a plaque they all agreed that the setting and the visual impact of the memorial together with the bell tower was outstanding and quite unique in this village setting.



Special commemorative events took place in the village to commemorate the start of the Great War which included unveiling the new plague on the memorial.. There is more here about the event...

Commemorating the 100th anniversary of the Great War




zoom in on a high-definition image of the Memorial as it appears in recent years








The organ was completely refurbished - As well as a major overhaul, the organ was  moved away from the exterior wall, rotated 90 degrees and re-decorated. The organ is listed on the National Pipe Organ Register as being built by the well known London maker Nicholson & Lord, but with no build date specified.

See the register entry at...










The weather vane on the tower was re-gilded in May 2023

It was originally installed in 1981








Here is an extract from British Listed Buildings online taken from...

authors note:  the listing seems little more that an inventory of the building and its fittings with very little in the way of descriptions or relative importance. However the estimates of build dates are useful.




The Parish Church of St. Perters Goldhanger  -  a Grade-1 listed building

11th-century chancel and nave. 14th-century south aisle rebuilt and probably also west tower and west end of church rebuilt. Late 15th-century south chapel. South porch in existence in 1780. 19th-century and 20th-century restorations, including rebuilding of south arcade and chancel arch. Built of flint rubble, septaria and puddingstone. Limestone, Roman tile and brick dressings. Red plain tiled roofs. Chancel and south chapel east walls each gabled and with angle buttresses.


Roman brick and tiled north quoin. 19/20th-century 2 light window with 2 centred head to chancel. 12th-century round head window with jambs and arch of Roman brick to north wall. 19/20th-century 3 light window with segmental pointed head to east and south walls of south-chapel. Nave north wall has 19/20th-century 2 light windows with tracery under square heads. 16th-century moulded labels representing the 4 winged beasts of the Revelation, the lion, the calf the human face and the flying eagle. Between these windows is a 12th-century window similar to that in chancel wall. East quoins of Roman brick and tile. A flint and rubble buttress adjacent to west.


Two centred arch to north doorway, possibly 12th-century origin but much restored. Nailed vertically boarded door with ornate hinges. South aisle has a 19/20th-century 2 light window with 2 centred head and tracery to right and left of the C19 south porch. The porch has stepped buttresses to south angles and moulded 2 centred arch with label and foliate stops. Full length stone bench on brackets to east wall; similar but broken seat to west wall. Moulded roof rafters. South doorway restored 14th-century with stop moulded jambs and 2 centred arch with moulded label. Nailed vertically boarded door with ornate straps and hinges.


Probable 14th-century crenulated west tower, 10 feet square, of 3 stages, with 3 bands and buttresses to angles. Stair turret to north east wall with one slit light. West doorway with moulded jambs, 2 centred arch and label, nailed vertically boarded door with ornate hinges. West window of 2 cinquefoiled lights with tracery and label, this much worn. One small trefoiled light to second stage north, west and south faces. Each wall of the bell chamber has a window of 2 cinquefoil headed lights under a square head with label. Vertically boarded sounding louvres with trefoils. Diapered flint flushwork panel over west window and flint decoration above first stage band. Crenellated heads to rainwater pipes, some inscribed  “CBL 1853”.


Interior has ceiled 7 cant roof to chancel. 19th-century patterned coloured tile floor. Panelled and painted reredos. 15th-century 4 centred arch of 2 moulded orders to south wall. Piscina possibly 13th-century with chamfered jambs, 2 centred head and foliate drain. Carving, possibly 14th-century, to west of arch of a man, angel and ivy leaves. South chapel has ceiled 7 cant roof with 2 stop chamfered tie beams. Panelled altar and reredos. 19/20th-century altar rails. Piscina 15th-century with moulded jambs, ogee head, octagonal drain. Altar tomb c1531 to Thomas Heighaiu, Alys, Awdrie and Francis, his wives. Purbeck marble, sides of 4 sunk and cusped panels with carved spandrels and central shields, that to east halved. Top slab with moulded edge and brass figure of woman in pedimental head-dress. Indents of a man in armour, 2 other wives and 4 shields. Later brass insertion to Anthony Heyham 1540 and his wife Anne with 2 shields inserted in earlier indents, tomb either rebuilt or made up from another monument. Wood carving 20th-century "Hands" by H Crawshay Frost.


Nave has 19/C20th-century south arcade of 3 bays, moulded capitals and bases, octagonal columns and 2 centred arches. Roof of 1310-1350 of 3 bays with moulded wall plates, curved braces to stop chamfered tie beams resting on head corbels of 14th-century date. Traceried spandrels. Four armed crown posts. 19th-century octagonal carved pulpit with traceried circles to each panel. 19th-century stone octagonal font. Moulded bases and shafts. Foliate carvings between trefoiled heads. Two centred tower arch of 2 hollow chamfered orders, half round shafts with moulded capitals and bases. Stair turret doorway with a 2 centred head. Door in second stage possibly 15th-century of battens with strap hinge.


References:   Pevsner BOE Essex 1965 p188  &  Cecil A Hewett 'English Historic Carpentry' 1980 p149 and p310.




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