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.

About this church

From the outside it looks tremendous: a lower half timbered stage with three lean to roofs, then a smaller middle stage with vertical weather boarding, then another yet smaller stage, but this time with horizontal weather boarding, and finally a shingled broach spire.

Inside, there is a formidable array of timbers to support the tower, with a complex arrangement of posts, braces and struts. These have recently been ring dated to about 1400.

The tower masks the west end of the original Norman priory church that stood here. This has a doorway, an upper round window and two round headed windows.

Parts of the rest of the church are Norman, while the north arcade is early 14th century, and the south arcade is Tudor, with piers of red brick.

Nothing of the other priory buildings remains, the only visible clue to their existence being two blocked doorways in the church that may have led to the cloisters. The priory closed in 1527, with the church continuing as the parish church, minus its choir.

Key Features

  • Captivating architecture
  • Glorious furnishings
  • Social heritage stories

Visitors information

  • Level access to the main areas
  • On street parking at church
  • Parking within 250m
  • Accessible toilets nearby
  • Dog friendly
  • Walkers & cyclists welcome
  • Space to secure your bike

Other nearby churches

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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.

St Andrew

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

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