blank.gifUnion Jack Flagblank.gifSt. George Cross flag blank.gifThe emblem for the county of Essex History Forum | Site Map   
Basildon History Online Share/Bookmark
    You are here: Churches

St. Nicholas: Church Hill, Laindon

St. Nicholas Church - Laindon St. Nicholas Church - Laindon St. Nicholas Church - Laindon
Location: St. Nicholas Church
Photographer: Bix
Year of photo: 17/10/2002
Copyright: Basildon History Online
Comments: Front view from Church Hill.
Location: St. Nicholas Church
Photographer: Bix
Year of photo: 17/10/2002
Copyright: Basildon History Online
Comments: View showing the timber annexe that once housed Puckle's school where James Hornsby was the last Headmaster.
Location: St. Nicholas Church
Photographer: Bix
Year of photo: 17/10/2002
Copyright: Basildon History Online
Comments: View from the east.
St. Nicholas Church - Laindon
Location: St. Nicholas Church
Photographer: Unknown
Year of photo: c.1920s
Copyright: N/A
Comments: Interior view.

St. Nicholas Church was built in the 13th century.

It takes its name from Nicholas - b. c. 1245 in Sant'Angelo, Pontano, Italy - d. 10/09/1305. He was canonized a saint on 5th June 1466. The remains of St. Nicholas are preserved at the Shrine of Saint Nicholas in the Basilica di San Nicola da Tolentino in the city of Tolentino, province of Macerata in Marche, Italy.

The chancel and south aisle were added in the 14th century. The timber roof is more than 500 years old, while the oldest part is the nave, dating back over 800 years.

At the west end a timber annexe was added, possibly in the 17th century or earlier. This became a Priest's House and also home to the first school in the area. Puckle's School, as it was known, opened around 1837. The last schoolmaster, James Hornsby, taught there for 48 years. Married three times, the Hornsby's also lived in the Priest's House. Born in 1805 he died in May 1887 in his 83rd year. His grave and those of his three wives are in the churchyard nearby.

In the early 1970s the church held various fund raising events to counter the cost of retiling the church roof. Following completion, a special thanksgiving service was held on Sunday, September 30th 1973, where the then Rev. Michael Lewis invited married couples, young and old who had been wed there, to attend.

Church records relating to weddings go back over 400 years to the late 1500s.

The importance of the church and its continuing presence was recognised when it was awarded Grade 1 listed building status.

The Church serves the Parish of Laindon with Dunton.

View looking down Church Hill This early view looks down the incline of the course of Church Hill in the direction of Markhams Chase at its original junction with St. Nicholas Lane. The road can be seen curving towards the right before straightening beyond the junction where it becomes Markhams Chase. Years later around the late 1950s early 1960s during development of Lee Chapel North the junction was closed off and Markhams Chase was realigned to a new junction off the newly completed Ballards Walk. It's original alignment, which by then had a line of 1930s semi-detached council houses, became a cul-de-sac and renamed Weymarks. The fields in the distance to the right of Markhams Chase would later form part of the playing fields for Chowdhary Primary School and Nicholas Comprehensive School, and now used by the James Hornsby School.

In 1950 the church became a listed building on the Ministry of Works list of buildings of historic interest. The church has since been designated a Grade I listed building.

The following is taken from the 1894 edition of Kelly's Directory of Essex.

The church of St. Nicholas, standing on rising ground, at some distance from the village, is a building of stone originally Early English, but now in the Perpendicular style, consisting of chancel, nave, south aisle, divided from the nave by an arcade of two bays, and a western tower with oak shingled spire containing 5 bells, two of which are dated 1588 and 1619: there is a piscina and in the aisle a recess supposed to be the founder's tomb, which has been carefully preserved.

Perhaps the most interesting feature about the church is the priest's house at the west end, the lower story of which was used, till recently, as a schoolroom; of its curious external oak framing, so much as was actually decayed was removed at the restoration and replaced by new, the remainder being refixed and kept together by iron bands: the lower room is now used as a vestry: the restorations, carried out in 1881-3, at a cost of £1,700, from designs by Mr. F. Chancellor, of Chelmsford, are in the Perpendicular style. The register dates from the year 1653.

The directory of 1914 includes parts of the 1894 description along with some additional information:

The church of St. Nicholas, standing on rising ground, is a building of stone, originally Early English, but now in the Perpendicular style, consisting of chancel, nave, south aisle or chapel, divided from the nave by an arcade of two bays, south porch, and a western tower of wood, rising above the roof of the nave, with oak shingled broach spire and containing 5 bells, two of which are dated 1636 and 1756: the tower or belfry is carried on an elaborate arrangement of timber framing at the west end of the nave, which starts from the floor and is carried up through the roof, but is kept free from this as well as from the walls.

The font is of stone, and consists of a square plainly arcaded basin, resting on a large cylindrical support, with four smaller ones at the angles, the whole being on a square base: there are two piscina and two brasses, one of a priest, c.1468, and a signed, with great probability, to John Kekil-penny, an ancient rector, holding a chalice, and a smaller effigy of a priest, with chalice and host, but not wearing a stole, c.1510, and perhaps representing Dr. Richard Bladwell, ob. 1513; both these brasses have lost their inscriptions: there is a large slab with the matrix of another brass on the south side of the nave. There are 150 sittings.

In 1951 the Rev. E.C. Telford, then Assistant Curate of Laindon-cum-Basildon, wrote a short book entitled Notes on the parish of Laindon-cum-Basildon. Within the book he lists all known Rectors from the period c.1254 to 1940. The names and corresponding year can be seen below along with all subsequent Rectors dating to the present.

List of Rectors from 1254:-

Richard de Listc.1254John Tunstall1526
William de Braye1315Thomas Barrett1534
Thomas de Isham1316John Hodgekynne (Bp.)1544
Richard de Hotoft1325Nicholas Harpesfylde1554
William de Synkale (or Fincali)1326John Harpesfylde1558
Richard Martyn1329John Hodgekynne (Bp.) (restored)1558
John, or Robert Pipeman1334Nicholas Kervyle1560
William, called Mogg, de Scoryton1337John Pyers1567
John de HaddenhamYear unknownJohn Walker1573
William de Say1345Arthur Denham1608
Andrew Aleyn1360William Heywood1631
William Wade1362James Moore1647
Walter HenyYear unknownWilliam Heywood (restored)1660
William Bondon1364John Pell1663
William CookeYear unknownZacchaeus Isham1686
Thomas Joseph1373Richard Smithson1688
Edmund CaldecottYear unknownSamuel Sturgis1700
John Benynfield1384Stephen Newcomen (Snr)1719
Robert Hunt1395Stephen Newcomen (Jnr)1749
William Halle1407H. Greene1770
Thomas Beteryng1414Robert HodgsonYear unknown
John Wright1414Edward Hodgson1804
William Wytham1445John Flowerden Colls D.D. (Doctor of Divinity)1852
Robert Sawcer1446John Mathias Proctor1878
William CleytonYear unknownBeaumaurice Stracey Clarke1883
John Kekilpeny1461Herbert Carpenter1897
John Artfarten (Bp.)1466Michael Neville Lake1929
James Daren (Bp.)1483Frederick William John Reynolds1940
Richard Hagys1488William Arthur Winfield (Rural Dean)1954
Richard BladwellYear unknownArthur John Dunlop (Rural Dean)1965
Thomas Hade1513Peter Stuart Grimwood (Rural Dean)1972
William Lee1517Lionel Frank Webber (Rural Dean)1976
Parish of St. Martin of Tours with Holy Cross, St. Nicholas, with Nevendon and Dunton
Lionel Frank Webber (Rural Dean)1978David F. Fosbuary1979
Michael J. Lewis1978Naunihal Chand Paul1983
Parish of St. Nicholas, Laindon with Dunton
Naunihal Chand Paul1990Andrei Petrine2015
Diane Ricketts2006  


1) The church received listed status on 24th March 1950 (Ministry of Works list of buildings of historic interest).

Page added: 2002

Text researched and written by William Cox, 2006-2007.
Copyright © 2006-2007, B. Cox - Basildon History Online. All rights reserved.

Related external Weblink:
Official St. Nicholas Church Website

Unless otherwise specified, all photographs appearing on the Basildon History website, are the sole property of Basildon History Online and are protected by copyrights and laws. You may not modify, copy, reproduce, upload, transmit, republish, post, publicly display, prepare derivative works based on, or distribute in any way Basildon History's own material without first receiving written permission. You may download photographs, images and text provided it is for your own personal non-commercial home use.

Contact: E-Mail
Back a Page Churches Top of Page Homepage Next Page
© Basildon History Online Website - WWW.BASILDON.COM