I want to visit all of England’s counties, and in between, we’ve taken to making more of the weekends, by visiting places of interest in our home county of Essex as well as neighbouring counties.
It’s quite nice to go out for a drive and just discover things along the way. On a recent drive around Essex, we stopped at a few different churches. We saw a sign for a 15th century church, and decided to follow it, that church was St. Margaret of Antioch in Margaretting, Essex. You can read more about the history of the church on it’s website.
To get to the church you have to park on the other side of a railway crossing and walk over. Just as we approached, the alarm went off to indicate that a train was approaching. It’s been a long time since I’ve seen a level crossing, so we waited patiently for the train to go by, before the barriers were raised and we were able to safely walk across.
On this particular day, there was some sort of event going on with the churches in Essex, so they were all open for visitors.
Before going in, however, we walked around the church and looked at all the gravestones. I’ve got a bit of a fascination with old graveyards; there is something amazing, yet sad about them. The thought that these graves marked loved ones, that were probably visited and tended with care, are now but relics. With decades, and even hundreds of years now passing, it’s likely no one visits them anymore…I don’t know, it touches me.
As we walked around the church, we spotted a very creepy gravestone with a skull engraved on it. We could just about make out the date, and think it says 1695 – probably the oldest gravestone we’ve ever seen.
We spent a lot of time in this graveyard, just looking at and reading the stones (or at least trying to, a lot were well eroded). I thought this tomb looked hauntingly beautiful with all the old ivy branches entwined around it.
I wonder if any of these gravestones have visitors any more? I thought this stone vase was quite eerie.
You could really feel a sense of history emanating from the stone walls of the church, and after our walk around the building, we went inside to see the stained glass windows. I asked if it was okay to take photographs inside, which it was.
The stained glass windows, were, I’m sure you’ll agree, stunning. I think of all the workmanship that would have gone into making those and am fascinated by them.
The most odd thing that we did see in this church (not just the strange skull engraved gravestone) was a kneeling cushion with a Star of David on it – it was odd because it made us wonder why a Jewish symbol would be inside a Christian church?
St. Margaret of Antioch