It is difficult to say how long St.Mary’s and All Saints church has stood on this site. The original stone building is believed to have been built around 1020-40 and so was standing when William of Normandy landed in 1066. But there may have been a wooden church before that. The River Roach can be seen from the churchyard, but as the church stands on rising ground it is safe from floods or high tides.
The original stone building was shaped like two boxes, the larger being the nave and the smaller the chancel.
Sometime about 1250 the south wall was taken down, a row of arches built in its place (you can see the remains of a south door, probably for the priest, now filled in) and the church extended by the south aisle being added on.
About 1350 the east wall of the chancel was taken down and the chancel enlarged by extending it eastwards A hundred years later the tower and the north porch were built. You can still see the ancient main timber frame.
The early 1500’s saw the Reformation in England and monuments, glass and rood screens were removed from many churches so there are no ancient monuments or glass in our church.
By around 1800 it became clear that we were likely to go to war with Napoleon. There were fears of a French invasion and the Essex Coast was put into a state of defence. The old network of beacons was re-instated and improved and, as part of that, a brick parapet was added to the church tower so that a beacon could put higher up.
The clergy vestry on the north side was added around 1900.
The only parts of the original church still standing are the north wall, from the tower to the clergy vestry, and a small piece on the south side of the tower.