Monday, 6 August 2012


Having wended my way up a long and winding road I found St Andrew in a lonely position overlooking Abberton reservoir, I approached the church with a certainty that it would be locked but to my delight, and, to be honest, amazement found it open. Admittedly there's not a lot of interest here but its openness restores ones faith in humanity!

ST ANDREW. Overlooking the South Essex reservoir. C14 nave, early C16 brick tower with blue bricks in diaper pattern. Thin buttresses, two-light brick bell-openings. The chancel, also of brick, dates from the C19.

St Andrew (2)

Abberton Resevoir

ABBERTON. The Old Stone Age man lived here, and some of his stone implements  are in Colchester’s great museum. The cottages line two of three roads to the north of Peel Tie Common, a wild and rough expanse. The road to the west dips into a sudden valley and rises again to pass on one side a lovely wood concealing Abberton House, and on the other side, across a field, Abberton Hall with a homestead moat and ancient barns. Behind this old-world group lies the church, which has a small ironbound chest 400 years old and a 15th century font.

The church was built in the 14th century but restored in the last two centuries, so that only the lower course of the rubble walls of the chancel remains from medieval days. The nave has still two 14th century doorways, however, one used and one blocked up. There is a fine view from the top of the red brick tower, which has stood since the early years of the 16th century; at its foot once ran the Roman road from Colchester to the sea. In the churchyard is a gravestone carved with the skull and crossbones in 1701.


Simon K

I was heading into outer Colchester now, but even so the combined village of Langenhoe and Abberton still felt very rural. Langenhoe's church was flattened in the 1884 earthquake and rebuilt, but the Victorian church was in turn demolished in the 1960s. It is thus one of very few parishes of all the hundreds in Essex which does not have an entry in the revised BoE. The Abberton end of the village is smaller, and out beyond it a tiny lane leads out through woods towards its church.

Open. You have to walk the last 100 yards or so, and there it is, a stunning sight, a tiny little red brick church on a steep bluff dropping towards the Abberton Reservoir, a vast expanse of water stretching several miles in each direction. There is not a single other building in sight, just bulldozers and cranes working far below to complete the banks of the still unfinished reservoir. It was a bit like being in a James Bond movie, looking down on something the Russians were up to. The tiny church is completely unpretentious and very welcoming - it is obviously open all the time. A white interior, a few memorials, a delightful sense of fifty years ago. It was a perfect place to finish, but, as I had to get back into Colchester I did so via a revisit to an old favourite, Fingringhoe.


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