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Church of the week

St Andrew, Greensted

Featured on 24th April 2020

St Andrew Church Greensted : Photo: Acabashi (CC-BY-SA4.0).JPG

St Andrew, Greensted

The oldest wooden church in the world.

At first glance it appears to be three separate buildings that have been fused together over the centuries, but it is one building with the central portion being the oldest part.

In the 9th century there was a push to convert the area’s Saxon population to Christianity. This ‘stave’ church was constructed, the walls built in the palisade style – split timber logs rammed into the ground, close together, forming a lode bearing wall. The church is thought to be the oldest 'stave built' timber building in Europe and contains 51 original timber planks.

Miraculously this original building has survived although additions have been made to the original Saxon structure - Norman, Tudor and Victorian, a Gothic style tower and a recent renovation in 2005 when the spire was completely reshingled in oak.

The church has an interesting link with The Tolpuddle Martyrs - a group of early 19th century trade union activists from Dorset who were deported to Australia for daring to band together to ask for a decent living wage.

In 1837 as a result of a public outcry against their harsh sentence of transportation to Australia, the now famous Dorset farmers were returned to England where they were given tenancies in Greensted and High Laver.

Several of the Martyr's worshipped at St Andrews, and in 1839 one of them James Brine married Elizabeth Standfield, the daughter of another of the martyrs at Greensted Church. The entry in the marriage register is still available for view in the church. 


Main Photo: Acabashi (CC-BY-SA2.0)


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