ST ANDREW’S CHURCH WORMINGFORD
TO FIND THE CHURCH
From Colchester, take either
- 1124 to Halstead and after about a mile turn right to Fordham just before the Esso garage. Go through Fordham to T junction (about 5 miles from 1124). Turn right into Wormingford village. Just past The Crown turn left into Church Road opposite red telephone box (signposted to Church and Post Office). Church is about ½ mile on left.
- 1508 to Bures which runs through Wormingford. Turn right into Church Road opposite red telephone box where signposted Church and Post Office.
take the 1124 to Colchester and turn left to Fordham just after the Esso garage. Go through Fordham to T junction (about 3 miles from 1124). Turn right into Wormingford village. Turn left into Church Road opposite red telephone box (signposted to Church and Post Office).
take the A120 towards Colchester. Turn left onto the A12. Take the next left (A1124) to Halstead and after about a mile turn right to Fordham just before the Esso garage. Go through Fordham to T junction (about 3 miles from 1124). Turn right into Wormingford village. Just past The Crown turn left into Church Road opposite red telephone box (signposted to Church and Post Office).
St Andrews’ church, Wormingford is one of 200 ancient churches in the south of England dedicated to Saint Andrew.
The early church building consisted of a tower with a bell, which formed a look out post to watch the river Stour for approaching raiders and sound the alarm. The present church is Norman and dates from the 12th century.
Henry VIII forced all parishes to keep a register of all their parishioners. Wormingford started with the first Baptism being recorded on the 20th December 1557, the first marriage was on St. Peter’s day 1558 and the first burial was on the 23rd December 1557
THE CHURCH FROM THE SOUTH
On a height above the middle reaches of the River Stour, and very beautiful. Just below is Smallbridge Hall, Where Sir William Waldegrave entertained Elizabeth I. On the distant horizon opposite is Arger Fen nature reserve, and the hill upon which Edmund was crowned King of East Anglia on Christmas Day, 856, and, marked by the BBC television mast, the old farmhouse where Martin Shaw composed his hymn ‘Hills of the north, rejoice!’.
The church is one of twelve in the neighbourhood which are dedicated to the apostle Andrew. Churches built near water were given St Andrew dedications.
The main Sunday service is held at 11:00 am. On the 1st Sunday in the month it is a Family Service to which everyone is welcome – even rowdy children. It has been said that children are the church of tomorrow but we believe that children are the church of today.
On the 2nd and 4th Sundays of the month Morning Service follows the order for Morning Prayer in the Book of Common Prayer. On the 3rd and 5th Sundays of the month there is a Family Communion Service from the modern prayer book on the 3rd Sunday and from the Book of Common Prayer on the 5th Sunday. When there is no communion at 11:00 am, a said Communion Service is held at 8:00 am following the order for Holy Communion in the Book of Common Prayer
Additional services are held at the main Festivals and during Flower Festival weekend: please see the notice board for details.
Children as well as adults are welcome at all these services.
BAPTISMS WEDDINGS & FUNERALS
Baptisms are held during the Family Service at 11:00 am on the 1st Sunday of the month, weddings and funerals by arrangement with the Vicar. To arrange a baptism, wedding or funeral, please contact the Vicar at The Vicarage, Church Road or by telephone on 01-787-227398 or by email: firstname.lastname@example.org
North of the gate are the tombs of John Constable’s Uncle Abram and Aunt Mary, and their children, ‘The Wormingford Folk’, as the artist described them in his letters home. By the far hedge, the grave of John Nash, R.A., who painted this landscape over many years, and his wife the artist Christine Kuhlenthal.
Early 12* century, limestone, with Roman brick quoins. The Roman bricks may have come from a local villa or from Colchester. There are vast numbers of them in the district. They make fine corners. The tower is of three stages and is topped with a 17th century brick parapet and pinnacles. The windows, also made of Roman brick, are 12th century.
The tower contains six bells which are rung before all services. Bell practice is at 7:30 pm on Tuesdays. Come along or contact the Bell Captain, Barry Gibbons 01787 227744
Chiefly Victorian (1870) but containing the re-set 15th century archway of the earlier porch. The doorway is late 14th century. Above it may be seen the arch of the original 12th century entrance, and by the side a mediaeval stoup.
14th century with a north arcade of four bays. The octagonal columns have moulded capitals and bases. The south wall contains three 14th century windows, much restored, and a blocked 12th century window. The north Aisle is 14* century with a 16th century camber beam roof. The Nave roof is among the most remarkable feats ofVictorian carpentry. Made of resinous soft wood, it is said to be a replica of the mediaeval roof it replaced in 1870. It is decorated with a great many thin panels of pierced tracery which lend it an airy elegance.
Fragments of 14th century glass remain in the north west and south west windows, and the piscina and sedilia in the sanctuary are of the same period. The great mid 14* century chancel arch is moulded, with sunk chamfering. The organ is by J.W. Walker (1867). The elaborate reredos of stone and alabaster commemorates the ministry of Thomas Tufnell, who was vicar of Wormingford for forty seven years. The figures are of St Andrew and St Alban, the first British martyr. The church possesses an Elizabethan chalice, and registers dating back to 1557.
The tower arch is 19th century but it contains the restored 15th century Rood screen which once divided the nave from the chancel. Peal-boards on the walls of the combined choir vestry and ringing-chamber witness to Wormingford s fame as a centre of the campanologist’s art. There are six bells. They include one cast in 1460 by a woman bell-founder, Joanna Sturdy of Colchester, and two cast by Richard Bowler in 1591. Brasses include that of a young man who died c. 1450, and who Miss Beaumont, our historian, suggests may be either Thomas Bowden or Radus Rydale, and one of a Tudor gentleman with his two wives. Like the belfry floor, which is paved with old headstones from the churchyard, these brasses no longer cover the graves of those they memorialise. Thomas Hardy would not have approved.
Carved out of ancient barn beams by Samuel Joliffe Tufnell in 1949. The shields show the three sees in which the church has been held, Rochester, St Alban’s and Chelmsford.
UNOFFICIAL ART & LEGENDS
The mediaeval columns and door jambs contain much graffiti, mostly initials and dates. But there is a fascinating scratching in the north aisle of the antler of a fallow deer, from the Smallbridge deer park? It is surrounded by a long inscription scratched in a fine hand but which, alas, is no longer decipherable. And in the east window of the north aisle can be seen the ‘cokadrill’-dragon-worm which has given Wormingford its own version of St George and the Dragon story. Note the poor girl’s legs. There is a full account of this brave tale on the wall to the right of the window.
Essentially St Andrew’s parish church is a Norman Mediaeval building which, as so many churches did, received a drastic overhaul in 1869-70. It has the appearance of timeless strength, and of Victorian confidence, all intermixed. If one takes ito consideration the materials from which it was made, the Roman bricks, the flints from the local fields and the wood from the local oaks, its history could be as old as Christianity in Essex.
web page complied by Dr Ronald Blythe & The Rev’d Henry Heath