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Epping St John the Baptist contributor Lynda Poulter

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Parish History

Epping St John the Baptist is an ecclesiastical parish in the county of Essex.

For several hundred years a chapel of ease to Epping, Essex Ancient Parish. The church of St. John the Baptist, Epping, originated in the 14th century or earlier as a free chapel belonging to Waltham Abbey. Like the church of All Saints the chapel was under the peculiar jurisdiction of the Abbey. It was served by wardens, sometimes styled rectors, some of whose names have survived from 1367 onwards. The dedication to St. John was mentioned in 1403.

The chapel (now church) of ST. JOHN THE BAPTIST was enlarged in 1622, restored in 1784, and rebuilt in 1832 and 1889. The original building appears to have been on a N.E.-S.W. axis. Before 1622 it consisted of 'but one aisle that next the road': presumably nave and chancel only. In that year it was enlarged by the addition of a north-west aisle, built on the site of the Chapel House (probably the Chapel Hall previously mentioned) which was demolished for the purpose. (fn. 88) According to Morant another aisle was added in 1662 (fn. 89) but this may be an error. In 1731 the wall of the chapel next to the road (presumably the south-west wall) was rebuilt.
In 1780 the trustees contemplated rebuilding the chapel and commissioned plans from John Hagger. This scheme, estimated to cost £1,498 was abandoned for lack of funds; instead a limited reconstruction, costing about £500, was carried out in 1784–6. A print of 1822 shows a plain building very different from Hagger's original plans. The small clock-turret may have been erected in 1784, since the belfry was stated in 1780 to be ruinous, but the portico on the south-west front probably dated from 1731. Further repairs were carried out in 1822–3, when a singers' gallery was erected.
In 1832 the chapel was rebuilt to the designs of S. M. Hubert. The south-west front was crenellated and had a central tower surmounted by a small belfry. In 1846 the trustees received £900 under the will of Susannah Archer Houblon for the purpose of 'enlarging and improving' the chapel. This money was eventually spent on a two-story porch, designed by Thomas Hopper, which was built on to the south-west front and provided additional seating in the gallery.
In 1889, the year in which the chapel became the parish church, it was demolished and replaced by a building, designed by Bodley and Garner, consisting of nave, chancel and south aisle, in 14th-century style. A north aisle was added in 1908 and in 1909 a south-east tower, also by Bodley, was erected, at the expense of E. J. Wythes. The building is on a N.W.-S.E. axis.
Before the erection of the present tower there was only one bell. This was given to the chapel in 1650 by William, Lord Grey, and was retained at successive rebuildings. In 1911–13 the old bell was re-cast and 7 new ones added. (fn. 103)

From: 'Epping: Churches, schools and charities', A History of the County of Essex: Volume 5 (1966), pp. 132-140. URL: http://www.british-history.ac.uk/report.aspx?compid=42716&strquery=epping Date accessed: 27 January 2011.

Resources

Civil Registration

Birth, marriages and deaths were kept by the government, from July 1837 to the present day. The civil registration article tells more about these records. There are several Internet sites with name lists or indexes. A popular site is FreeBMD.

Church records

Online images are available Seax - Essex Archives Online From the Essex Record Office

Census records



Poor Law Unions

Epping Poor Law Union, Essex from 1889

Probate records

Records of wills, administrations, inventories, indexes, etc. were filed by the court with jurisdiction over this parish. Go to Essex Probate Records to find the name of the court having primary jurisdiction. Scroll down in the article to the section Court Jurisdictions by Parish.

Maps and Gazetteers

Maps are a visual look at the locations in England. Gazetteers contain brief summaries about a place.

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  • This page was last modified on 3 February 2015, at 20:48.
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