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St Laurence and All Saints, Eastwood, Essex

(51°34′5″N, 0°41′6″E)
TQ 862 889
pre-1974 traditional (England and Wales) Essex
now Southend-on-Sea
medieval London
now Chelmsford
  • Ron Baxter
08 February 2018

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Feature Sets

Eastwood is a suburbe of Southend on the N side, dominated by Southend Airport. St Laurence's is in an unpromising position at the SW corner of the airfield, at the end of the longer runway, alongside an industrial estate, but it is a large and active parish and the church has a very large graveyard on the N side. It consists of a chancel and a nave with a wide S aisle roofed with a double gable and a S porch. The aisle occupies only the E end of the nave, and at its W end is a tower with a weatherboarded upper stage topped by a needle spire. On the N side of the nave is a narrow aisle with a N vestry at its W end. The nave is Norman (see the remains of round-headed windows above the arcade). This arcade consists of two widely separated bays with much blank wall remaining, and dates from the 14thc. Lancets in the chancel and the lower part of the tower indicate a 13thc date for these features, and the A nave arcade must date from c.1300. The 2 gables of the S aisle suggest a widening in the 16th - 17thc, and the brick S porch must be contemporary. The church was restored by William Wite in 1873, and the N vestry was added in 1966. The only Romanesque feature recorded here is the font, although as Bettley (2007) points out, the ironwork nave doors of 1170-80 are what the church will be chiefly visited for.


Eastwood was held by Swein in demesne in 1086, and by his father in 1066> It was assessed as a manor of 3½ hides, of which half a hide was held from Swein by Geoffrey, and 30 acres by Robert. The estate later passed to a family who took their name from the manor. Hence the owner in 1210 and 1211 was Robert de Estwood. The Barony of Swein to which it belonged had its head at Rayleigh, and passed to Henry of Essex who forfeited in 1163, thence to Hubert de Burgh. In 1340 the manor of Estwood was granted to William de Bohun, and when his succession failed it reverted to the king.





RCHME gives a late-12thc date for the font, which would make it contemporary with the ironwork of the doors. No other tub fonts decorated with intersecting arcading have so far been found in Essex


J. Cooper, The Church Dedications and Saints’ Cults of Medieval Essex, Lancaster 2011, 130.

J. Bettley and N. Pevsner, The Buildings of England. Essex, New Haven and London 2007, 700.

Historic England Listed Building, English Heritage Legacy ID: 122902

RCHME, An Inventory of the Historical Monuments in Essex, Volume 4, South east. (1923), 41-44.

T. Wright, The History and Topography of the County of Essex, II, 1831, 600-01.