Nazeing is said to be one of the largest parishes in Essex and a church has stood on this headland for over a thousand years. The Parish has two churches: All Saints and St Giles.
Our history dates back to earliest Christian times, when a religious house was established in Nazeing led by the Abbess Fymme. She was probably an Anglo-Saxon, high-born woman, who may have been among those in the Anglo Saxon royal household who were converted by the missionary bishop Cedd. Our churches are a product of that history.
The first church in the parish is believed to have been erected on the site of All Saints Church at the end of the sixth century, and would probably have been a plain oblong building, earth floored and with a thatched roof. The church on the site now standing dates from the 11th century. Over the ensuing centuries the building has been added to, repaired and rebuilt as time and the weathers’ relentless onslaught has weakened it.
The building we see today is probably structure number three on this site. Six years prior to the Norman invasion in 1066 part of the nave of the present building was erected and in the 14th century as the congregation grew, the North Aisle and Chancel were added to the old Norman nave. Many additions followed and there were major rebuilds in the 12th and again in the 15th centuries. The unending task continues and two further major restorations were carried out in 1874 and 1890. The most recent work being the Pilgrim room, added in 1999.
St Giles Church was built in 1964 as a daughter church to serve the growing population of Nazeing village, and particularly to provide facilities for Sunday School and a community hall. Building work started in 1963. It was completed at a cost of £13,000, half of which was raised locally. Since its opening in 1964, the Roman Catholic community has also used the building for worship.
CARING FOR A GRAVE
We recognise how important it is for people to have a place in which they can mourn someone they have loved. It is natural for people to want to make the grave of their loved one special and personal.
However the churchyard is a public space which is used by many other people, including other mourners. We need to make sure that the graves are tended in ways that are acceptable to everyone and that they fit in with their surroundings. It is also important that the churchyard is safe for the people who use it and that as a valuable habitat for wildlife, we do all we can to look after the animals and plants that live in it too.
The Churchyard Regulations published by the Diocese of Chelmsford give clear guidance about how graves are to be cared for. These rules apply whether or not you have put up a gravestone, so everyone needs to be aware of them.
Prior to 1779 there were five bells in the tower. Unfortunately we cannot locate any records from the foundry or elsewhere to confirm when these original bells were installed. These 5 bells (now numbered 2-6) were recast in 1779 by Pack & Chapman of Whitechapel.