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 The 1884 EARTHQUAKE Great Wigborough


Tuesday April 22nd at 9.10am.



Two of the corner pinnacles were thrown down from the church tower, one falling on to the nave and
damaging the roof: the other two pinnacles were loosened and had to be taken down. The
tower is also said to have been cracked on its south and west sides, and to have received an
inclination over towards the ...
Cat1 Places-->Wigborough Cat2 Disasters and Mishaps-->on Land

The 1884 EARTHQUAKE Great Wigborough
Tuesday April 22nd at 9.10am.

Two of the corner pinnacles were thrown down from the church tower, one falling on to the nave and damaging the roof: the other two pinnacles were loosened and had to be taken down. The tower is also said to have been cracked on its south and west sides, and to have received an inclination over towards the nave.

The Rectory was severely shaken, but received no serious injury. The Rev. F Watson states that he heard a rumbling noise, and his clock was stopped at 9.17; some medicine bottles were seen to jump about, and were then thrown down and broken, a large picture was swung to and fro, and plaster was brought down from a ceiling. The sensation was "as being in a boat, and going up and down, backwards and forwards."

Chimneys were thrown down and roofs damaged at the surrounding farmhouses, Moulsham's, Seaborough, and Brick House. The latter, a substantial two-storeyed brick building occupied by Mr Charles Harvey, was much injured about the roof, the chimneys having fallen down, and the upper part of the brickwork of the front of the house just beneath the roof having been thrown down for a distance extending about half the length of the building leaving the ends of the rafters exposed.

Among the houses reported to have been much damaged were Mr Blythe's, Mrs Cause's, the Kings Head Inn (several chimneys levelled), and the Parochial Schools (chimney fell through roof). Fortunately the children had not then assembled or serious injury would probably have been occasioned. As evidence of the violence of the movement, the Rev. F Watson states that "a horse at work was taken off his legs and thrown to the ground."

Rebuilding of Church Tower

On September 4th 1885, the foundation stone of the new tower was laid by Mrs Watson, wife of the Revd. Frederick Watson - rector, using a silver-plated trowel, the gift of the builder Mr Letch, and a carved mallet and level made out of oak of the old tower. A short service was held conducted by the rector, with hymns led by the choir. The Architect for the rebuilding was Mr Jospeh Clarke St. Albans Diocesan Architect. The inscription on the foundation stone is as follows:-
"THIS FOUNDATION STONE OF THE TOWER OF THE CHURCH OF ST. STEPHEN
GREAT WIGBOROUGH, WAS LAID IN THE NAME OF THE FATHER, THE SON,
AND THE HOLY GHOST, BY EMILY ANN, WIFE OF THE REV. FREDERICK
WATSON, MA RECTOR ON THE 4TH DAY OF SEPT 1885

Panel by T.B. Millatt c1960, originally hung in Great Wigborough Church.
The Essex Society for Family History Monumental Inscriptions record for Great Wigborough records this as Reference C18 on north wall of tower. It is now in storage.
Date: 22 April 1884      


Photo: Mersea Museum - T.B. Millatt
Image ID GWG_CHC_155
Category 1 Places-->Wigborough


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This image is part of the Mersea Museum Collection.