St. Martin's of Tours Church in Basildon Town Centre was
officially opened on 10th November, 1962 in a consecration service conducted by the Bishop of
Chelmsford; Rt. Rev. John Gerhard Tiarks*. Its design was the work of local architect Trena M.
Cotton and the cost of construction was £40,000. The Rector at the time of opening was Reverend
William Winfield. A foundation stone had earlier been laid on 15/10/1960 by then Chairman of
Basildon Development Corporation, Sir Humfrey Gale.
To compliment the church three separate water features with
fountains were built which survived until the late 1960s. The largest was retained and survived in its original length
well into the 1970s before being greatly reduced to its present length. It is now behind an enclosure and fitted with
The Church received a royal visitor on October 9th, 1968 when Her Royal Highness The Duchess of
Kent (Katharine Windsor) dedicated the new south porch and Christ sculpture. The 10-foot
high Christ figure was designed by the artist T. B. Huxley-Jones* and completed in fibreglass
at his studio in Broomfield near Chelmsford, Essex. It was to be his last completed work as a
short time later he was admitted to St. John's Hospital in Chelmsford where he died on 10th
December 1968. The Rural Dean, Rev. Arthur Dunlop, took the dedication service which also
included an address from the Bishop of Chelmsford, John Tiarks. Also in attendance was the
Bishop of Bradwell, Neville Welch, Council Chairman, Terry Chapman, Constituency M.P., Eric
Moonman, B.D.Corp. Chairman, William Balch, Lord Lieutenant of Essex, Sir John Ruggles-Brise and
High Sherriff of Essex, Major N. N. Norman-Butler.
J. Hodgson Ltd. of Prince Avenue, Southend
were the main contractors.
A Garden of Remembrance adjacent to the church opened on November 3rd, 1973, in a
dedication service conducted by Rev. Peter Grimwood. Standing within the garden is a statue depicting St.
Martin sharing his cloak with a beggar, which was created by notable sculptor and artist Peter
To the front of the church was a large green which years later became St. Martin's Garden
and was officially dedicated by the Bishop of Chelmsford; the Rt. Rev. (Albert) John Trillo* on 21st June 1984. Basildon
Council, Basildon Development Corporation and Marks and Spencer (in celebration of their centenary year)
all contributed to the cost. A refurbishment of the garden was dedicated on 27th June 2006
by the Bishop of Bradwell, the Rt. Rev. Laurence Alexander Green. The public paved area with
seating is called St. Michael's Walk.
Another feature to the front of the church is a stone war memorial with the
inscription: We Will Remember Them. It stands approximately 3ft high on a plinth in a seated enclosure and was erected
during the 1990s.
In 1989 the plain exterior glass was replaced with stained glass designed and made by Joseph
A special service attended by The Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh was held on
12th March 1999 to mark the official opening of the Belltower and the first 50 years of Basildon
The church on opening stood between two roads in the original Pagel Mead. In the early 1970s
Pagel Mead was partly built over when the Marks and Spencer building was completed and the left
curve at the end of Great Oaks became Pagel Mead which it remained until around 1997 when St. Martin's
Square was completed. The remainder became unused before finally disappearing altogether when Church Walk
House was constructed around 1977. Through traffic to Fodderwick and Towngate ceased when the Westgate Shopping Park
was completed in 1999.
List of Rectors:-