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St. Michael's: Church Path, Pitsea


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St. Michael's Church - Pitsea St. Michael's Church - Pitsea St. Michael's Church - Pitsea
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Location: St. Michael's Church
Photographer: Thomas Barnes
Year of photo: 1982
Copyright: Thomas Barnes
Source: Thomas Barnes
Comments: View from the early 1980s.
Location: St. Michael's Church
Photographer: Andy Barham
Year of photo: c.1995
Copyright: Andy Barham
Comments: The church is now redundant and falling into a state of disrepair. Photo appears courtesy of the Lost Churches of Essex website.
Location: St. Michael's Church
Photographer: Stephen Parker
Year of photo: 1999
Copyright: Stephen Parker
Comments: St. Michael's following partial demolition during the 1990s. Photo appears courtesy of the Essex Churches website.
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St. Michael's Church - Pitsea St. Michael's Church - Pitsea
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Location: A13 - Pitsea
Photographer: Louise Ford
Year of photo: November 1996
Copyright: Louise Ford
Source: Louise Ford
Comments: The derelict church seen from the A13.
Location: Pitsea Hall Lane
Photographer: Louise Ford
Year of photo: May 1997
Copyright: Louise Ford
Source: Louise Ford
Comments: Another view of the derelict church seen from Pitsea Hall Lane adjacent to the railway station.
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St. Michael's Church - Pitsea St. Michael's Church - Pitsea St. Michael's Church - Pitsea
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Location: St. Michael's Church
Photographer: Unknown
Year of photo: c.1930
Copyright: Scan ©Andy Barham
Source: Andy Barham
Comments: A postcard view of St. Michael's.
Location: St. Michael's Church
Photographer: Unknown
Year of photo: c.1930
Copyright: Scan ©Bix
Comments: A postcard view of the interior of St. Michael's.
Location: St. Michael's Church
Photographer: Andy Barham
Year of photo: c.1993
Copyright: Andy Barham
Source: Andy Barham
Comments: The interior of the now redundant church. Photo appears courtesy of the Andy Barham's Lost Churches of Essex website.
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St. Michael's Church - Pitsea St. Michael's Church - Pitsea St. Michael's Church - Pitsea
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Location: St. Michael's Church
Photographer: Bix
Year of photo: 27/10/2002
Copyright: Basildon History Online
Comments:
Location: St. Michael's Church
Photographer: Bix
Year of photo: 27/10/2002
Copyright: Basildon History Online
Comments:
Location: St. Michael's Church
Photographer: Bix
Year of photo: 27/10/2002
Copyright: Basildon History Online
Comments:
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For many centuries a church had stood at the summit of Pitsea Mount. The church of St. Michael's was last rebuilt in 1871, with the exception of the tower which is believed to date from the 16th century, and which is now all that remains.

A new modern church called St. Gabriel's was constructed in Rectory Road and opened in 1964.

Around the mid 1900s the general condition of the church had shown signs of structural defects and although the church became a Ministry of Works listed building in 1950 fears over its future were very apparent as early as 1970, by which time the building had already become semi redundant, and it was hoped that the planned Pitsea Mount development might secure the future of the church.

It was during these times that the final wedding is believed to have taken place on 24th May 1975 and involved the consent of the Bishop of Chelmsford, John Trillo. Rev. Aubrey Ridge, the then vicar, conducted the service and hymns were sung accompanied by the sound of the churches' harmonium.

Although the housing development went ahead it didn't prevent the church from permanent closure with the final service taking place in 1982. The church was then officially confirmed as redundant on 16th March 1983. It then stood empty and fenced off for many years, with the main structure and tower suffering due to maintenance costs and vandalism.

In July 1983 a planned scheme by the Basildon leisure and recreation committee to convert the redundant building to a local history museum and viewing tower for the Wat Tyler Country Park failed to materialise. The local council would have taken control had the venture succeeded.

During the 1990s the communications company Orange identified the tower as a potential site for a mobile phone mast; which has since been realised, thereby ensuring the future of the tower. The main structure though, consisting of the nave and chancel, was causing concern, and considered a danger, so following a period of consultation a decision was taken to dismantle it, which then went ahead in 1998. Restoration, though highly unlikely, is not impossible as much was saved and put into storage.

The churchyard, which is maintained by Basildon Council, is now closed to new burials. It is open to the public at all times.

A concrete outline of the former church remains, and there is seating where fine views can still be enjoyed.

The following is a list of Rectors from 1300:-

  NicholasYear unknown  Henry Gouldc.1586
  Adam at Holme1327  Robert Hewetson1588
  John Carre1329  William Armitage1629-1630
  Will BoyleYear unknown  Abraham Montague1630
  Thomas Bradmere1396  John Berridgec.1648
  Joh. Hogham1397  Robert Whichcot1654
  Joh. Thursteyne1397  John Davis1655-1656
  Thomas Taylour1399  Anthony Edmundsc.1659
  Henry Frost1400-1401  Joshua Long1664 or 1669
  William Weston1402  Nathaniel Ward1670
  Richard Byrd1426-1427  William Hill1688-1689
  Joh. Subrost1427-1428  Roger Woodcock1709
  Michael VyntYear unknown  John Bunce1738
  Alexander Walton1438-1439  Benjamin Bulkley1742
  Nicholas Garston1442  Thomas Fairchild1757
  Simon KnightYear unknown  Charles Hewitt1798
  Richard Moore1450  Lawrence Tucker Edwards1849
  Reginald Poynes1453  Henry Hasted1861
  Thomas Rooke1466-1467  Arthur Bertram Hutton1899
  Richard Hagys1473  David Thomas1914
  Thomas Moyse1484  Llewelyn Cradock Roberts1923
  William Conyngston1485  Ernest William Grevatt1924
  Edward Mariner1488  Henry Bursell1936
  William Browne1498  John Osborne Nicholls1939
  William Marbery1518-1519  Alfred Stretton1943
  Joh. Hardeman1524  Edward Herbert Morgan Gibbon, B.A.1948
  Robert Davys1533-1534  David Owen Raymond Parry, B.A.1950
  Richard Grayc.1542  Norman Wilson Woodrow1954
  William Bulmerc.1545  Arthur Ernest Harvey1963
  Thomas Washington1562-1563  Aubrey Ridge1978
  Mark Simpson1564  Laurence Blaney1982-
  Roger Austen1582 

Notes:
(1) The church became a listed building on 24th March 1950. It has since been designated Grade II listed status.
Note. This may now only apply to the tower.

Page added: 2002
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Text researched and written 2005 with revisions 2006-2009.
Copyright © 2005-2009, B. Cox - Basildon History Online. All rights reserved.

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