A brief history of St. Mary’s church One thousand years of history

Peldon Church1884 showing earthquake damage

Peldon Church 1884 showing earthquake damage (Illustrated London News)

Anglo-Saxon beginnings
In 1086 the Domesday Book recorded ‘Peltenduna’ as having “one church with thirty acres”. This makes it Anglo-Saxon in origin.

The current building
In general it dates back to the 11th century, the nave being 12th century, the tower 14th century, and the roof and clerestory 16th century.

The Leaning Tower and the Essex Earthquake
The tower has a noticeable lean to the southwest, often said to be caused by the Essex Earthquake of 1884. However, the leaning tower was noted before then, in the book:  ‘Mehalah, a Story of the Salt Marshes’ by Sabine Baring-Gould first published in 1880 (see chapter ‘In a Cobweb’, where the text includes: ….She took the road before her, and saw that it led to Peldon, the leaning tower of which stood on a hill that had formed the northern horizon from the Ray….). The actual cause was probably subsidence due to poor ground.

The church did suffer from the earthquake, with damage to the battlements and roof.

Current situation
A full inspection in the early 2000’s identified the need for urgent repairs and restorations. This was the trigger for the formation of The Friends.

Find out about the Friends and their Achievements