St Andrew

Welcome to St Andrews, the oldest wooden church in the world and the oldest 'stave built' timber building in Europe.

About this church

The 51 timber planks you see here today date from about 1060, although excavations undertaken in the chancel in 1960 revealed the existence of two earlier timber structures dating from the 6th, and 7th centuries, around the time that St Cedd began his work of converting the Saxons to Christianity.

The church bears witness to the work of Saxon, Norman, Tudor and Victorian builders who variously extended, repaired and restored the building over the ages. In 1848/9 the church underwent severe restoration works, and in 1990 works were undertaken to stabilise the church as it stands today, whilst in 2005 the spire was completely reshingled in oak.

The body of Saint Edmund, King of East Anglia, and England’s first patron saint martyred in 869AD (the Normans replaced him later with St. George) rested in the church in 1013 on its way to Bury St. Edmunds in Suffolk.

The oldest grave, lying adjacent to the entrance to the church is that of a 12th century Crusader, thought to be a bowman. The churchyard contains the war graves of three soldiers of World War I and an airman of World War II.

The Tolpuddle Martyrs

The Tolpuddle Martyrs, a group of early 19th century trade union activists from Dorset who were deported to Australia for daring to band together to ask for a decent living wage.

In 1837 as a result of a public outcry against their harsh sentence of transportation to Australia, the now famous Dorset farmers were returned to England where they were given tenancies in Greensted and High Laver.
Several of the Martyr's worshipped at St Andrews, and in 1839 one of them James Brine married Elizabeth Standfield, the daughter of another of the martyrs at Greensted Church. The entry in the marriage register is still available for view in the church.

Key Features

  • Captivating architecture
  • Glorious furnishings
  • Enchanting atmosphere
  • Fascinating churchyard
  • Social heritage stories

Visitors information

  • Bus stop within 100m
  • Level access to the main areas
  • Car park at church

Other nearby churches

St Laurence

The tower of St Laurence is one of the best of its kind in the country, and is remarkable both inside and out.


St Christopher

The beautiful church of St Christopher's, built in 1360, is unique in Essex as it shares a churchyard with the older St Andrew's.

St Andrew

Mainly Norman, with traces of reused Roman brick, St Andrew';s has a pretty clapboard bell turret and porch, and shares a churchyard with the later church of St Christopher.

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