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Our Parish Church of St. Peter and St. Paul is the most ancient and arguably the most interesting building in West Mersea. The Church has been at the centre of the community since the 7th Century when the first building was constructed for worship.

In this short section I have tried to give a brief account of its story through the centuries. I am not a historian so I have relied heavily on the work of others. In particular I have relied on a paper by T.B. Millat, “The Parish Church of St. Peter and St. Paul, West Mersea. A Brief History”, copies of which are available in the Church (20p).  For anyone who is interested in finding out more the Museum holds a wealth of information and images related to the church. Their website is available here: www.merseamuseum.org.uk.

I am also greatly indebted to Pat Kirby of Mersea Museum for her advice and also for the stories in the Objects and Curiosities section on this site most of which were originally published in the Church’s Newsletter, copies of which may be viewed on the Church’s own website at www.FreshSalt.uk.

Some of the pictures of the church are reproduced by kind permission of Simon Knott from his website essexchurches.org.uk.

Some new information about the Church’s history and archaeology came to light in November 2017 with the discovery by the rector of an article by church archaeologist Daniel Secker. The article which was based on his extensive study of West Mersea Parish Church is referred to in the following post and contains a link to the complete work:

Peter Duerden
November, 2015 (updated January, 2018)

History – 7th Century

St. Cedd founded his monastery in Bradwell circa 654 and built historic St.Peter’s chapel on the Bradwell Peninsula out of the remains of the Roman fort of Othona. It is considered likely that Cedd and his monks came across the water…

History – 10th Century

The Church is mentioned in the wills of a Saxon Ealdorman (lit. Elderman) Aelfgar and his daughters, Aethelflaed (widow of King Edmund of England)  and Aelflaed who left properties in Mersea, Peldon and Fingringhoe to “St. Peter’s Church at Mersea”.

History – 11th Century

The Church tower is the oldest part of the existing Church building and dates from the 11th century. There is considerable use of Roman tiles and brick in its construction which are likely to have come from the Roman villa…

History – 14th Century

The nave and chancel are thought to have been built in the 14th Century. Chancel and Nave Exterior Nave and Chancel viewed from the North A South Aisle was also added in the 14th Century, later extended east in the…

History – 15th Century

North Porch built (or rebuilt) and (14th C.) niche reset. The statue of 'Peter the Fisherman' was placed in the niche in 1986. North Porch - Picture by Simon Knott http://www.essexchurches.org.uk North Porch viewed from the west 14th Century Niche

History – 16th Century

In the early 16th Century, the timber roof of the chancel with its arched and moulded trusses was constructed.

History – 19th Century

North wall of nave heightened in brick, buttressed and embattled. Flat Georgian ceiling formed South arcade rebuilt in brick and plaster 1833 South porch rebuilt as porch and vestry

History – 20th Century

A plan of the church published in 1922 shows the general layout of the building as it still is today with the exception of the new church hall which extends along the south of the church linking with the south…

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