History of Kelvedon Hatch

St Nicholas Church built 1895
St Nicholas' Church shortly after consecration.

History of Kelvedon Hatch >> St Nicholas' Church >> Memorial Stone Laying

St Nicholas's Church - laying of the memorial stone

The Parish Magazine records the laying of the Memorial Stone for the new church on 30th October, 1894.


"In reporting, the Memorial Stone Laying, we feel we cannot do better than follow the lines of the Essex County Chronicle, of Friday, 2nd November. An account of the ceremony will be most interesting to the people of Kelvedon Hatch in after years if preserved in our Parish Magazine.

"The laying of the Memorial Stone of the New Church of S. Nicholas, Kelvedon Hatch, took place on Tuesdav, 30th October, 1894, at 3 p.m. The pouring rain greatly reduced the attendance the ceremony nevertheless, the company, which was a representative one, consisted of about 150 persons assembled beneath the tarpaulins which had been erected as a partial protection against the rain, and bravely defied the incessant dripping while the ceremony was performed. The choir of the parish was in attendance, the musical portion of the service under the direction of Mr C. F. White, who presided at the harmonium.

The service commenced with the hymn "We love the place, O God, wherein thine honour dwells." Suitable prayers were said by the Rector, after which the stone laying took place. The architect, Mr. J. T. Newman, handed to Mr. Edward W. Puxon, patron of the Benefice, who has been one of the most liberal contributor to the Building Fund, a silver trowel, and the stone was lowered to its resting price, and "well and truly laid" by him, with these words, "In the faith of Jesus Christ, we place this Memorial Stone in the name of God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Ghost. Amen."

The Venerable the Archdeacon of Essex then placing his hand on the stone, said " Here let true faith, the fear of God, and brotherly love ever remain; this place is consecrated to prayer and to the praise of the most Holy name of the same, our Lord Jesus Christ, who ever liveth, with the Father and the Holy Spirit, one God, world without end. Amen." The Archdeacon then gave a short address. He said it was an auspicious occasion in anything but auspicious weather. It was surprising that in this little parish so much had been done towards getting a new church. He understood that the larger part of the sum needed (£1,600) had already been secured, there being only about £200 more required. He congratulated the people of Kelvedon Hatch on their success, which he knew well could only have been achieved, in these " hard times," by their earnestness and self-denial, which God had indeed blessed. They had found, no doubt, considerable difficulty in having their parish church so far from the village especially in bad weather like the present. They were not only going to have a new church, but a new burial ground was to surround it, and those who worshipped in the new church would be able to rest in the God's acre in which it stood when their time came.

The Memorial Stone bears a cross and the inscription: " S. Nicholas. To the glory of God. This stone was laid, 30th October, 1894." It is interesting to note that our old friend, Mr. George Sargent, previous to the stone being placed in position, put a bright new" threepenny piece" underneath.

The silver trowel, which is handsomely chased, and which has a white ivory handle, is inscribed -" Presented to Edward W. Puxon, patron of the Benefice of Kelvedon Hatch, on the occasion of his laying, the Memorial Stone of the New Parish Church of S. Nicholas, October 1894."

A collection, which realized £30, was taken during the singing of the hymn "The Church's one foundation is Jesus Christ her Lord," after which the ceremony was brought to a close by the Archdeacon of' Essex pronouncing the "Blessing."

Many of those who came from a distance then adjourned to the Schoolroom, were tea was served. Plants kindly lent by the Rev. C. L. Royds graced the tables, and the appearance of the room was further enhanced by a display of flags and other drapery, which was lent and arranged by many willing helpers. In the evening a "Conversazione" took place in the room, the parishioners having been invited to celebrate, the "Stone-laying." Music, speeches, etc., were listened to, while refreshments were discussed, and a pleasant evening was brought to a close by singing "the old Hundredeth." The downpour of rain prevented the display of fireworks which had been arranged for, so they were postponed until Tuesday, 13th November, when they took place, under the superintendence of Mr. Fred. Mott of Ongar.


A brief account of how it comes to pass that a new church is being erected in such a purely rural parish as Kelvedon Hatch will doubtless be of interest to many. The old parish church is situated about a mile-and-a-half from the village, and many of the parishioners live two or three miles from it. Added to this, the church lies hidden among trees, a good way from the main road, and in wet weather the roads are thick with mud. Steps were being taken for the erection of a chapel-of-ease in a more central position when there came down from the Home Office order closing the old churchyard for interments on account, as it was affirmed, of its overcrowded condition.

The parish was consequently under the necessity of providing a new burial ground and chapel. This would have meant the formation of a Burial Board and the levying the inevitable "cemetery rate," and to this there was a great objection among the parishioners.

The Rev. C. L. Royds, of Brizes Park, then generously came forward and offered a suitable piece of ground as a free gift, the only stipulation being that a permanent Church should be erected on the site. The parishioners speedily determined to have a new Church, and a Building Committee was formed, which consisted of the Rev. C. L. Royds, the late Rev. F. A. S. Fane, the Rev. D. Wilkie Peregrine (the Rector); Messrs. Herbert Miles and Frank Coleman (Church Wardens); Messrs. W. Gould, W. Knightbridge, C. F. White, and Jesse Porter. The new church is now been erected on a site at the junction of several roads near the parish school and the principal part of the village. It is of red brick, the architecture being of the Early English style. The architect is Mr. J. T. Newman, of this parish, whose work on behalf of the church is "a labour of love;" for he gives his time and work as a free-will offering. Mr. John Gozzett, of Maldon, is the contractor man (the last contract for the building being £1,410), he being represented on the works by his able foreman, Mr. George Ramplin, who manifestly giving the best of his time and skill to the good work he has in hand. The church is to accommodate about 200 people, and it is probable that the will be carried out with chairs, which will be free and unappropriated."

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