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St Mary and St Peter, Wennington, Essex

(51°30′21″N, 0°13′3″E)
TQ 540 809
pre-1974 traditional (England and Wales) Essex
now Greater London
medieval London
now Chelmsford
  • Ron Baxter
20 July 2016

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Feature Sets

Wennington is a small village in the London Borough of Havering, a mile N of the Thames, from which it is separated by Wennington Marshes, and between Rainham and Aveley on the N side of the A13. The church stands in the centre of the village, on the S side of the village street. It consists of a 13thc chancel to which a modern S organ chamber has been added, an aisled nave with a N porch, and a W tower. Construction is of flint and rubble with ashlar dressings and decorative flushwork on the chancel E wall, the N nave aisle parapet and the buttresses. The oldest feature here is an 11th - 12thc doorway, but this is reset in the E wall of the organ chamber. Otherwise the chancel is basically 13thc, the S aisle was 13thc but was destroyed and rebuilt in 1885-86, along with the organ chamber, under the direction of the Rev. Ernest Geldart of Rainham, who also designed the N porch. The N aisle was added in the 14thc, and the tower appears early in origin but contains no features earlier than the 14thc.

The only Romanesque feature here is the E organ chamber doorway.


Wennington was held by St Peter’s Westminster as a manor of 2½ hides in 1066 and in 1086.It was apparently demesne land in 1086, but by the later 12thc the manor was held from Westminster by members of the Marsh family, and they remained in possession until the end of the 13thc.

The advowson remained with the abbey until 1541, despite an attempt to claim it made by Gilbert Marsh in 1222.


Exterior Features



The organ chamber, apparently added as part of Geldart’s reinstatement of the lost S aisle, has a window sill and a 15thc stone shield set into it, as well as the head and imposts of the doorway. This feature was not noted in the sketchy List Description, but was described by RCHME (1923) and VCH (1978) as 12thc work. Pevsner (1954) followed by Cherry (2005) simply called it Norman. The chip-carved ornament and the narrow proportions of the doorway, along with its plain imposts might suggest an 11thc date, but it is worth remembering that the arch was installed on new jambs, so that the Rev. Geldart was free to choose the height of the opening. It might be relevant to point out that his own church at Rainham has a very narrow Priest’s doorway, dating from the late 12thc.


B. Cherry, C. O’Brien and N. Pevsner, The Buildings of England, London 5 East, New Haven and London 2005, 216.

Historic England Listed Building 201668

N. Pevsner, The Buildings of England. Essex, Harmondsworth 1954, 381.

RCHME, An Inventory of the Historical Monuments in Essex, Volume 4, South east. (1923), 163-64.

Victoria County History: Essex VII (1978), 180-90.