Colin Crosby Heritage Tours

St. Andrews Church (Greenstead-juxta-Ongar)

St. Andrews is the parish church of the tiny Essex settlement of Greenstead-juxta-Ongar. It is reached down a lane through the woods, and stands in its own little clearing.

It is a Saxon church, and the only survival in England of a church made of logs. It dates from the early 11th century, although earlier dating suggested about 850.

It was in 1013 that the body of St. Edmund rested here on its way to burial at Bury St. Edmunds. He had been killed by invading Danes after defeat in battle.

The nave is constructed of oak logs, split vertically into halves and then set vertically into a sill made of oak.

The chancel is made of brick, and was added in the early 16th century.

A beam in the roof, from the Victorian period, depicts St. Edmunds head being guarded, as in the legend, by a wolf.

The West tower is made of timber, and is weatherboarded and painted white. It has a shingled broach spire.

St. Andrews is the oldest wooden church in the world, and the oldest wooden building of any sort in Europe.

Inside the church is a small painted panel of St. Edmund, that can be dated to about 1500.

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