In the heart of the jam making village of Tiptree is this grand and rather large parish church built in the middle of the Victorian era.
It’s a mix of a building, with the 1856 original church sitting next to a 1975 extension that looks like it tried to blend in, but failed – and ideally should have either been a slavish copy, or a sharply modern structure.
The church was built on land donated by James Grimston, 2nd Earl of Verulam, and by Mr Wells of Bermondsey to a design by Mr Ewan Christian at a cost of £1,850. It was designed to sit 500, the whole of the seats were open, four-
It was also the parish church of a new parish, having been created from the slicing up of the parishes of nearby Inworth, Messing and most unwillingly, Tolleshunt Knights.
Inside the church though is pure, if modest Victorian decoration.
The arches are left exposed with decorative polychromy brick bandings, and it’s likely that under the whitewash there could be a much richer brick decoration as well, although the white wash does lighten the sometimes oppressively over the top Anglo-Catholic revival designs. The vaulted roof is simple and draws the eyes downwards to the altar and strips of stained glass windows. On the other side, the windows here were destroyed in 1942 bomb blast and replaced in 1951 by design of A.K. Nicholson.
On my visit last May, there was also a stern warning in the graveyard about inappropriate memorials and a total ban on plastic flowers and artificial grass being left on graves.
The church is also famous for an unfortunate incident – the Tiptree Sneeze
On 22nd February 2014 at a concert by the London Central Fellowship Band in the church, a trombonist sneezed into his trombone while playing. A video of the event was posted to YouTube and went viral in 2014.