Sunday, February 21, 2010


13th century chest

Embden geese

West Hanningfield Church

West Hanningfield church has little history, the earliest going back to the 12th century when it was presumably built, it is very Norman inside. The outside displays a typical Essex church, wooden tower, and reused materials in the stone work. It has been hideously plastered over in the front of the church building, I suspect that happened when it started to fall to pieces in the 19th century and was restored. The back shows signs of cracking and subsidence, inside was an enormous 13th century wooden chest, made out of a solid piece of oak, and with all ironwork still intact. The grave yard was pleasant enough with primroses (just starting to come out) tucked neatly in a sheltered spot.

The Hanningfield reservoir was quiet, plenty of birds around, and the geese rushing along furiously for bread. The one above 'talked' very gently all the time, funny creatures geese, highly protective of territory but very ungainly as they waddle.


  1. Oh my golly gosh, what my husband wouldn't give to see that huge old chest made from a single trunk. Whenever we go around old churches r cathedrals, I have to take lots of photos of things like this for him, as he works in wood and these pieces just speak to him. It looks a lovely church,though the ancient bits are outnumbered by later additions/rebuilds, like so many old churches. Did the Victorians get to ruin the inside?

  2. Hi, I'll put the photo up for you of the chest, it just was'nt very good. Talking of chests, I have a large 19th century wooden chest with a carved top. Now my understanding of it was that these chests were marriage chests, when people were getting married in that century-do you think thats true? The inside had the usual very Norman pillars, to be quite honest it was very catholic - lots of crosses everywhere but plain...

  3. Brilliant Thelma - I'll call Keith up to have a gander (hah! in view of your next pic!!) Possibly, on they marriage chests, though they normally had initials on from 16th century onwards. As there are regularly chests of these dimensions in churches and cathedrals, I suspect they may have been used to store church goodies - think of the gigantic cope chests which still survive.

  4. This link may be of interest to you: