Basildon Borough History
Basildon Borough History
Basildon, Essex, England
The Anglican church of All Saints is set back in a peaceful, tree-lined church yard off London Road, opposite the site of the old Basildon Zoo. Sitting aloft the beautiful red tiled roof is a small wooden cased belfry, which unfortunately, like the church itself, is now redundant.
It is grade II listed, with the oldest part of the building dating back to the 12th century. All Saints' design may be basic but its simplistic design does not detract from its rustic beauty, with its beige coloured ragstone contrasting with its blood red tiles of the roof. A triangular bellcote sits at the western end of the church and is crafted of timber. An array of eras can be seen throughout the structure, perhaps only easily recognised by the trained scholar.
There are the remains of a Norman window in the south wall of the nave, whilst the square font is from the 12th century. Later design features appear in both the north and south walls where 15th century windows can be found along with a door in the nave from the same era. Moving further forward, monuments from the 17th century are housed in All Saints' chancel.
No major structural alterations have occurred since 1837 with the building of the western wall and addition of a gallery.
With the increase in population when the new town began to take shape in the 1950's, All Saints sadly began to lose parishioners, partly due to its size and distance from the new housing estates springing up in the borough.
When St Chads was built in Clay Hill Road (then Timberlog Lane) this gave those living nearby somewhere closer to home to worship, leaving All Saints with less and less flocking through the door.
Having suffered years of deterioration and falling foul of vandalism, All Saints held its last service in 1994 and two years later fell redundant. Thankfully now it is in the care of the Churches Conservation Trust. Since 2003 the trust has looked after the building overseeing a lot of necessary restoration and preservation. Over several years, the church was stabilised and waterproofed, with further works carried out inside to fix cracked walls and restore ceilings, wall paintings and the timber bellcote.
The churchyard is the final resting place of some of the boroughs war heroes of World War Two, namely five soldiers and two sailors of the Royal Navy. There is also a grave for a young man that was killed in the Falkland Islands during 1982.
Despite All Saints no longer holding services, visitors can have the pleasure of viewing its interior splendour daily, between 10am and 3pm.