History Blog

Advent Day 11 - Ford End Church

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Ford End is a village in Essex with a collection of pretty 15th century cottages, among other more recent houses. With such old buildings at their core, you'd be surprised to come round the corner and find an odd-sized red brick church, far from the traditional old churches you normally find in the area.Ford End Church, Essex

That's because the church of Ford End was only erected in 1870, and it's short life has already had a very patchy history. Designed by Frederic Chancellor, a local architect credited with over 700 buildings over the course of his career, the church was built on an osier bed, where willows were planted and then harvested for making baskets and fish traps. Unfortunately for the church, the old osier bed was unstable, leading to structural problems with the building. The church was originally bigger than it's current form, but the 1980s saw the the destruction of the chancel, reportedly after it became so weak that masonry was falling on the congregation.

The large tower was also, at one point, considered to be unsafe. Happily this was proved to be incorrect, and it's now used to train new bell ringers as the peal in the tower is quite light. The enormous "cat slide" roof over the main body of the church makes the walls look particularly tiny, but with the tall thin tower, it gives the church a unique appearance.

Due to the fairly recent construction of the church there isn't any particular set of memorials, except for the one dedicated to Reverend Arthur Cripps, and there's no medieval graffiti. But the building itself makes this church worth a visit, if only so you can gawp at the odd proportions of the roof!

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