ID MMH_WMP

TitleWest Mersea Parish Church of St Peter and St Paul
AbstractIt was at a spot only three miles across the Backwater Estuary at Bradwell-on-Sea that St. Cedd founded his little monastery circa 654, built the historic St. Peter's Chapel out of the remains of the Roman fort of Othona, and from there he evangelised Essex, the kingdom of the East Saxons. It is probable that Cedd and his monks came across to establish the first church at West Mersea, also dedicated to St. Peter.
In the 10th century, the Saxon Ealdorman Aelfgar and his daughters, Aethelflaed (widow of King Edmund of England) and Aelffaed (widow of Ealdorman Brythnoth) by their wills, left properties in Mersea, Peldon and Fingringhoe to St. Peter's Church at Mersea, described as a 'Minster', i.e. a church serving the wider area.
By 1042 the Mersea estates had reverted to the Crown, and by charter of 1046 King Edward the Confessor granted them to the Abbey of St. Ouen at Rouen in Normandy. The Abbey founded a small Benedictine Priory here. The monks, no doubt using the Church and the Abbey, became Lords of the Manor.

The historic 11th century tower may well date from that time, and if so, it is Saxo-Norman. There is considerable use of Roman tiles and brick in it, from the Roman villa which stood near the site (of which pavements were found in the 18th century). Two small round-headed windows and the tower arch of that time remain. The belfry louvres and west window are later. The heavily beamed floors inside the tower have been dated as early as the tower itself with very early examples of joinery.
The nave and chancel were probably built in the 14th century and a south aisle added, later extended east in the 15th century to form a south chapel. Note the 15th century brickwork.
In 1415, King Henry V suppressed alien religious houses, including the Priory, and granted its properties of West Mersea, the Peet and Fingringhoe to Henry Chichele, Archbishop of Canterbury who endowed them on the College of Higham Ferrers, which he was founding at his birthplace. About this time the north porch was built or rebuilt, and the 14th century niche reset.
The timber roof of the chancel with arched and moulded trusses is early 16th century (Tudor).
In 1833, the south porch was rebuilt as a porch and vestry, the north wall of the nave heightened in brick, buttressed and embattled, and the flat Georgian ceiling formed. Also the south arcade was rebuilt in brick and plaster. A west gallery had been erected in 1812, but removed in 1882 with other changes.
A photo of the church circa 1898 shows two north chancel windows of three lights in pointed style, but early in the 20th century all the windows in the chancel were replaced with perpendicular style stone frames, including a new east window at a new level.
In 1925 the south aisle roof was rebuilt, the wall plaster all removed, and the niche for a piscina uncovered.
In 1971 a Church Hall was built adjoining the south vestry. In the late 1970s and early 1980s the choir stalls, pulpit and old painted pews were replaced, as thank offerings, in, attractive light wood. Colourful kneelers were worked by members of the congregation, with individual and local designs.
The pipe organ was updated in 2002 and 27 new digital stops added.
The new memorial window was installed in the south aisle in August 2005. This is to commemorate the Fishermen and Oystermen of Mersea Island.

This history is from a leaflet on West Mersea Parish Church by T.B. Millatt.

Read More
Church life around 1900 - West Mersea Church Gazette - see WMCG .
Church tower repairs in 1951 - see TXA00330
Stained glass in the church - CPK_WMP
The scandalous career of John Woolhouse, Vicar of West Mersea 1630-1642 - SH02_101
A Short History of the Parish Churches of East Mersea and West Mersea by J.B. Bennett - MBK_HMC_1974

SourceMersea Museum
IDMMH_WMP
Related Images:
 West Mersea Parish Church interior. Oil lamps and the 1905 East window. Large cross suspended from the roof, but it is a bare cross. Postcard 78468
 Postcard 78468 sent to Miss Winifred Farthing in Essex County Hospital, 15 February 1923  RFX_021
ImageID:   RFX_021
Title: West Mersea Parish Church interior. Oil lamps and the 1905 East window. Large cross suspended from the roof, but it is a bare cross. Postcard 78468
Postcard 78468 sent to Miss Winifred Farthing in Essex County Hospital, 15 February 1923
Date:Before 15 February 1923
Source:Mersea Museum / Richard Fox Collection
 West Mersea Parish Church, early winter 1958, taken from Church Road.  JLJ_WMP_011
ImageID:   JLJ_WMP_011
Title: West Mersea Parish Church, early winter 1958, taken from Church Road.
Date:cDecember 1958
Source:Mersea Museum / John Llewellyn-Jones Collection
 West Mersea Parish Church. One of a series of photographs of the tower by Mike Davies.  MLD_011
ImageID:   MLD_011
Title: West Mersea Parish Church. One of a series of photographs of the tower by Mike Davies.
Date:20 December 2006
Source:Mersea Museum / Mike L. Davies
 The Vicars of West Mersea, 1349 to the present day. Framed list in the back of the church, by T.B. Millatt with later additions.
 <b>Vicars of West Mersea</b>
 1349 Simon de Hodelyn
 1353 William Cook.
 1362 Gruther de Snapes. Thomas Boucher or Bouther.
 1363 Roger Newcroft
 1365 John Warde, William Skynner
 1384 Stephen Moundegome.
 1415 The Priory of West Mersea suppressed.
 John Girthead
 1434 William Campion
 1450 Hugo White M.A.
 1450 Richard Wilcock - buried in the chancel.
 1467 John Marshall M.A. Bishop of Llandaff 1478-90
 1467 John Nicoll
 1475 William Penne
 1480 William Stockdale M.A. 
 William Clerke
 1503 Edmund Cowope
 John Woodward
 1525 Dennis Morrison
 1555 Thomas Foster
 1558 William Henton 
 1580 Francis Warner
 1590 William Burnell
 1607 Thomas Convers
 Timonth Herne
 1620 William Mason M.A.
 1622 John Burgess M.A.
 1624 Thomas Dove M.A.
 1630 John Woolhouse ejected in 1642
 1644 Thomas Beard Puritan Intrusion
 16.. William Noble
 1652 Arthur Okeley
 1662 Thomas Vicars M.A.
 1708 Nathaniel Cooke B.A.
 1731 John Brownsmith B.A.
 1733 Stephen Aldrich B.A.
 1738 Charles Lind B.A.
 1748 Joseph Brockwell M.A.
 1797 Nathaniel Forster B.A.
 1851 George Willcock B.A.
 1859 Edward Flavell Ventriss M.A.
 1863 Thomas R. Musselwhite M.A.
 1888 Francis Owston M.A.
 1893 William Yorick Smythies B.A.
 1898 Charles Pierrepont Edwards M.C.
 1946 Timothy Griffith R. Hughes A.K.C.
 1957 Reginald Walter East B.A.
 1971 Frederick James Serjeant A.K.C. 
 <b>Rectors of East and West Mersea</b>
 1973 Frederick James Serjeant A.K.C. 
 1976 John Edwin Boxley M.A.
 1981 John Allen George Swallow B.A.
 Priest in charge West Mersea with East Mersea, Peldon and the Wigboroughs
 1994 Robin Howard Elphick A.L.C.D.
 2003 Sam Charles Norton M.A.  IA003740
ImageID:   IA003740
Title: The Vicars of West Mersea, 1349 to the present day. Framed list in the back of the church, by T.B. Millatt with later additions.
Vicars of West Mersea
1349 Simon de Hodelyn
1353 William Cook.
1362 Gruther de Snapes. Thomas Boucher or Bouther.
1363 Roger Newcroft
1365 John Warde, William Skynner
1384 Stephen Moundegome.
1415 The Priory of West Mersea suppressed.
John Girthead
1434 William Campion
1450 Hugo White M.A.
1450 Richard Wilcock - buried in the chancel.
1467 John Marshall M.A. Bishop of Llandaff 1478-90
1467 John Nicoll
1475 William Penne
1480 William Stockdale M.A.
William Clerke
1503 Edmund Cowope
John Woodward
1525 Dennis Morrison
1555 Thomas Foster
1558 William Henton
1580 Francis Warner
1590 William Burnell
1607 Thomas Convers
Timonth Herne
1620 William Mason M.A.
1622 John Burgess M.A.
1624 Thomas Dove M.A.
1630 John Woolhouse ejected in 1642
1644 Thomas Beard Puritan Intrusion
16.. William Noble
1652 Arthur Okeley
1662 Thomas Vicars M.A.
1708 Nathaniel Cooke B.A.
1731 John Brownsmith B.A.
1733 Stephen Aldrich B.A.
1738 Charles Lind B.A.
1748 Joseph Brockwell M.A.
1797 Nathaniel Forster B.A.
1851 George Willcock B.A.
1859 Edward Flavell Ventriss M.A.
1863 Thomas R. Musselwhite M.A.
1888 Francis Owston M.A.
1893 William Yorick Smythies B.A.
1898 Charles Pierrepont Edwards M.C.
1946 Timothy Griffith R. Hughes A.K.C.
1957 Reginald Walter East B.A.
1971 Frederick James Serjeant A.K.C.
Rectors of East and West Mersea
1973 Frederick James Serjeant A.K.C.
1976 John Edwin Boxley M.A.
1981 John Allen George Swallow B.A.
Priest in charge West Mersea with East Mersea, Peldon and the Wigboroughs
1994 Robin Howard Elphick A.L.C.D.
2003 Sam Charles Norton M.A.
Date:23 April 2010
Source:Mersea Museum / Mike L. Davies
 West Mersea Parish Church. Used in A Short History of Mersea by Elsie Karbacz, available in the Museum Shop  KAR_ED4_029_002
ImageID:   KAR_ED4_029_002
Title: West Mersea Parish Church. Used in A Short History of Mersea by Elsie Karbacz, available in the Museum Shop
Source:Mersea Museum