Much of the material here has been taken from Goldhanger - an Estuary Village written by Maura Benham, and published in 1977. The book is now out of print, but the Trustees of Maura Benham's estate have kindly given the local History Group permission to reproduce all or parts of Maura's book for non-profit making uses. The complete book has now been digitised and is available on separate pages on this site at...
      Maura's Book    
      All who knew Maura would agree that she would have been delighted to know that her work and interest in the Church and village is still being shared by others.    
      Information about past Rectors and extracts from Parish magazines are taken from Little Totham, The Story of a Small Village, published in 2005 and author Lorna Key has kindly given permission for these to be included. Acknowledgements relating to other short extracts from published material are given within the text.  
There was Roman occupation in the vicinity and Roman material has been identified in the Church building. Particularly the quoins, or corner stones, of the north wall. Maura Benham wrote...These may have come from a Romano British building said to have stood in Fish Street.
    654 St.Cedd founded a Celtic style community at Othona (Bradwell-on-sea) and built his "Cathedral" of St Peters-on-the-wall on the foundations of the Roman fort. There are similarities in building material and style with St Peter's, particularly the Norman windows.    
      Perhaps the two buildings originally had some similarity.  
    900s Viking attacks left burial mounds on the marshes nearby.  
    1000s Saxon religious settlements and burial grounds have been found in the village. St Peters has a sunken floor, which is a characteristic of Saxon buildings. Perhaps the original appearance of St Peters was similar to the Saxon buildings found at the Elms Farm archaeological site in Heybridge.  
The Maldon Archaeological Group has written: The Churches in Maldon were not mentioned in the Domesday Book because they were too poor to be taxed. These Churches were probably
      ministered to by Saxon priests in buildings constructed only of timber and thatch.

So the original Church at Goldhanger could well have been thatched.
    1085 The Domesday Book refers to Manor of Goldhangre and a priest called "Eldred". Domesday book entry for Goldhanger  
Goldhanger & Little Totham manors & Churches merged with one Rector.
    1100s Norman round topped windows were placed in the north wall and remain there.  
    1285 The first locally recorded Rector of Goldhanger was called "Nicholas" who spent time in Newgate prison for killing a man. The 48 other Rectors who have held the post are listed on the vestry wall.  
Maura Benham wrote. . . Considerable rebuilding work must have been carried out at St. Peter's Church in the latter part of the 14th century. The walls of the nave were heightened (as can be seen on the outside of the north wall) and the fine crown post roof with three tie-beams was built over the nave. A remarkable feature of this roof is the chamfering of every constituent timber, including the smallest and least important. C.A.Hewett, in "Church Carpentry" dated 1974, found this roof of particular Interest. He dated it between 1375 and 1400.
        The four carved stone wall plates in the nave, supporting the roof are of particular interest. We do not know who the stone heads may have represented.  
    1300s Caen stone facings from Normandy were used in this period. This type of stone can still be found at the edges of the creek and estuary where it was deposited over board from sailing barges, having been used as ballast.  
    1300s Maura Benham wrote…
On either side of the  south porch doorway one sees a fine intricate stone carving of  leaves  and  berries,  each  of  the  carvings containing a small animal. Whether these date from the early l4th century, when such carvings were carried out at Southwell, York and Lincoln, is uncertain.
The small animals are most likely to be representations of Great Crested Newts,
 a species of Salamander which still survives in the vicinity today.
    1348 The Black Death halved the number of Essex clergy and the benefice was probably vacant for some time.  
Lt Totham funded its own Chaplain - and it remained this way for 200 years.
    1400s Walls and roof of the Church raised for the
second time.
    1400s The tower was added at the west end of the Church,
probably as a watch tower with one bell.
    1500s The Hiegham family added the south chapel.  
    1522 Plays were performed in the Church to raise
money to construct a new roof.
    1531 Date of a the brass plaque in the Lady Chapel
to Awdrie Hiegham.
    1547 The Interior of the Church was dramatically
changed by the Reformation.
      Of the Reformation Maura Benham wrote…The people of England found themselves ordered to change the interior of their Churches beyond recognition.  
      The Royal Injunction of 1547 had ordered "that they shall take away, utterly extinct and destroy, all shrines, covering of shrines, all tables, candlesticks, trindles or rolls of wax, pictures, paintings, and all other monuments of feigned miracles, pilgrimages, idolatry and superstition, so that there remain no memory of the same in walls, glass windows or elsewhere within their Churches or houses". We cannot envisage the interior of Goldhanger Church either before or after these changes, but the main structure as we know it was there at the time of the Reformation.  
    1549 An inventory of "Church Goods" was made in this year and is held by the Essex Records Office. The following is an extract. . .

One chalice all gylt weying viij. oz.
One other parcell gylt weying vij. oz.
A crosse of copper and gylte.
X sawsyrs of puter the Church vessel
iiij greate bells hanginge in the stepyll with lettell sauncfcus bell
      Sold by the hands of John Tele and Edward Poste the Churche Wardens, onto Edward Leg of Maldon  6 skore pounds of latten kanstyks with it letell hand bells. The same churche wardens sold onto the sayd Edward one byndyll of wax whyche was the bachelors and the maydyns Sepnikar lyght xs. The same men solde sartan olde paynted clothey iis, vd.

The same John Tele and Edward Poste hath in their hands of the churche monye for sarton thyngs whyche they sold as ys above to the sum of xxxvs. ivd. John Hyvyngham dothe owe to the churche iijs. iiijd.
    1550s Maura Benham wrote…There was either a doorway or an alcove in the north wall of the chancel. Parts of a stone surround resembling a door were revealed during replastering of the interior in 1976, and the space was filled with narrow bricks of the Tudor period. One may wonder why it was closed up. Its position in the north wall of the chancel suggests that it could have been an alcove used as an Easter sepulchre, possibly incorporating a tomb.  
The inventory of Church goods made at Goldhanger at this time (and shown above) included sepulchre lights. These were tapers given by bachelors and maidens at Easter.
      Maura also wrote... The four stone carvings set by the windows in the north all said to be 16th century, represent the winged beasts of the Revelation:

The lion
The calf
The human face
The flying eagle
    1554 Revd Thomas Downing was removed from office during the reformation.  
    1585 In 1585, Mr. Allyson, minister, caused an upset by refusing to "babptyse a child beyng base born weythin the paryshe beyng a vargrant person."  
    1589 Revd. John Knight excommunicated "for not wearing his supplisse".  
    1589 There was a prosecution for "camping" (playing football) on the Sabbath Day in Goldhanger.  
    1591 At a Court held in Coggeshall in 1591 James Nicholson of Goldhanger, was brought before the Archdeacon for declining to pay their proportion of a rate to meet the cost of erecting a seat for the minister, and there seems some uncertainty as to whether the churchwarden himself had contributed.

      Probably it was left for each parish to act according to its own requirements, until by the Canon of 1603 it was finally decided that "a convenient seat should be made for the minister to read the service in", and installed the clergy desk or pew as a permanent fixture and part of the recognised furniture of the parish Church.  
    1599 A Goldhanger witch was excommunicated.    
    1619 The obligation to provide arms and pay for the militia, either by serving with them, or by paying for a man and horse, to serve in their stead, was one of the burdens imposed since feudal times on the owners property.The lands of the beneficed clergy were subject to the same charge. However, the assessment on them was imposed by their diocesan, the Bishop of London.

      In 1619, "for refusing to serve in person with his owne armes," John Througood of Goldhanger was "convented at the Privy Council Table and soe committed to the Fleete, until he submitted and promised future obedience."  
    1650 The Revd. Howes conversed by letter with the governor of Massachusetts about "a magneficall engine" which would enable him and the governor to sympathize at a distance. An attempt to invent telegraphy.Mr. Howes also published a book on a "new and brief arithmetic" which, he promised, would enable even a "mean capacity person" to attain skill and facility.  
      more about. . . The Revd Edward Howes  
The Church tower contained 4 bells. Two of the bells have this date and are inscribed:

      The Miles Graye foundry was in Colchester. more about. . .   the bells of St Peters  
    1696 From the Essex Countryside magazine of 1962...  
The Rector was involved in an incident in 1696. Thomas Sparrow, labourer from Tollesbury and a friend of Rector John Lasby's daughter, was taken to the quarter sessions court. He was "caught on a dark October night of 1696 with a ladder planted against the wall of the Rectory beneath the young lady's window, with every preparation made for conveying her away and she still a minor". The Rector was very wroth.
    1700s   The Iron bound almsbox
in the Lady Chapel dates
from this period.
    1707 The Creed, and Ten Commandments were painted or re-painted on the inside walls.  
    1721 A Curate was installed
to work in both Goldhanger
and Little Totham parishes.
    1780 A sketch in the Church of this date shows three gables.    
    1781 Two of the bells in the tower have this date.    
    1805 St Peters donated 2 shillings towards Nelson's victory.  
    1813 The Parish Poorhouse had 11 residents. The Churchwarden Accounts from 1750-1930 indicate only one direct payment to the Poorhouse in 1754: "A load of bushes for the poorhouse". However, the accounts show many payments of..."Relieve for Messrs . . . with apabs" (Apabs being Latin for food).  
    1836 The Revd Thomas Leigh Rector of Wickham Bishops, purchased the Goldhanger Benifice which included The Glebe and The Parsonage. The Leigh family also owned  Pumphouse Farm and Follyfaults. He installed his son Edward as Rector, who remained until his death in 1946.  
        more about...the Leigh family  
    1839 42 children attending school in the vestry.
Maura Benham wrote...
One may wonder where the large vestry was. The present vestry is a small enclosed area at the west end of the south aisle, and previously the base of the tower, now the ringing chamber, served as a vestry.
        See... Village School  
      The three gables shown in the 18th-century drawing may have formed some sort of gallery over the south isle, and this might have been the room in which the school was held, though no windows are shown in the gables.  
The Rural Deans report of this date gives a congregation size of 260-300.
    1846   The Revd. Charles Brian Leigh was appointed Rector and remained until 1893.  
        The Leigh family provided free milk to all the village from their own cows.  
    1848 The Revd. Thomas Leigh, father of the Rector paid for the building of the new "Church of England" school.  
    1848 A letter sent to Sarah Leigh by the Church Wardens...  
      We the undersigned Parishioners of Goldhanger beg most respectfully to offer our grateful thanks for your kind and Liberal gift of a Silver Communion Service for the use of the Parish Church.

      In making this acknowledgement we cannot refrain from declaring our affectionate remembrance of the eminent piety and virtue of your late Brother, the Revd Edward Morris Leigh, our lamented Pastor.  
      Permit us, Madam, to conclude this, the humble tribute of our gratitude and attachment to you, and your Family, by expressing our heartfelt hope that under the blessings of the great Dispenser of all things, you may live through many years of health, prosperity, and happiness, to join us in that Holy Communion, which as Christians, bind us together in "Unity of Spirit" and in the bond of Peace.  
      Signed by the Churchwardens and ten others  
    1851 The Revd. Leigh built the "New Rectory", now called Goldhanger House.  
        more about...the Victorian Rectory  
    1850s The Leigh family carried out extensive refurbishment of the Church. 1853 and dedicated to CBL is cast into the down pipes.  
    1850s The Revd. Leigh instructed that red brick walls be build around the Church and encouraged parishioners to build them along the streets. The stile through the wall at the back of the churchyard is still much admired by local artists.  
        more about the... red brick walls  
St Peter in the chancel north window
St Andreas in the nave north window
The two Norman windows in the north wall were probably fitted with these stained glass windows at around this time.
The Leigh family replaced the stained glass windows in the Lady Chapel dedicating the windows to Priscilla Leigh of Marks Hall, who died in this year aged 28.
Maura Benham wrote of this period. . .
The fine old carved wood used in the pulpit and choir stalls was put in by the Leigh family in the mid 19th century.
      view of the Pulpit  
      view of the Lectern    
    1850s The Minton floor tiles in the Sanctuary and Chancel undoubtedly came from this period.  
Sanctuary floor tiles
Chancel floor tiles
    1854 The Chelmsford Chronicle reported that the Church had been "thoroughly restored"…"the whole of which has been defrayed by the rector, the Rev C B Leigh", and the parishioners have raised a subsciption to errect a hansome organ manufactured by Walker of London.  
Lewis Carroll stayed as a guest of the Revd. C B Leigh at the Rectory, now called Goldhanger House.  This was at the time the story of Alice in Wonderland was being written. It has been suggested that the idea for the treacle mines in the story was founded on the legend of the Tudwick Road treacle pits learnt by Lewis Carroll while staying at the Rectory.
    1891 Revd. C B Leigh was declared a bankrupt.  
This photo of the Revd.
Leigh was found in a
cupboard in the church
in 2008
The Revd. C B Leigh retired
A painting hanging at
 the back of the Church
Frederick Gardner was appointed Rector
and remained until his death in 1936.
more about...
      Revd Gardner  
    1895   The Revd. Gardner started the Parish magazine. He wrote…
 some form of useful literature, which will be a welcome companion to your fireside when the day's work is over. Nothing will be found more interesting and more useful than the accompanying magazine.  
    1895 Later in the same year The Revd. Gardner wrote in the magazine…  
      Where are the men on Sunday mornings?  I need not ask. They shuffle in at the fag end of an idle day and think this is fitting to the Lord.  
      The Revd. Gardner wrote again in the magazine on the same subject...
      Morbus Sabbaticus, or Sunday sickness, is a disease peculiar to non-Churchgoers. The disease comes on suddenly every Sunday; no symptoms are felt on Saturday night, the patient sleeps well, eats a hearty breakfast, but about church-time the attack comes on, and continues till the services are over for the morning, then the patient feels easy and eats a hearty dinner.  
      In the afternoon he feels much better and is able to take a walk on the wall and talk politics, but about church-time he gets another attack and stays home. He retires early, sleeps well and wakes up on Monday morning refreshed and able to go to work, and does not have further symptoms of the disease until the next Sunday.  
The churchyard was extended and six foot iron railings were installed which were made in the Maldon Iron Works, only two section remains, the rest was probably removed during the Great War. There was also a pathway through the Churchyard at this time, shown in this early postcard, that no longer exists.
    1899 An extract from Kelly's Directory of this year…  
The Church of St. Peter is a building of dressed flint with Caen stone facing's, partly in the Early English and partly in the Perpendicular style,  consisting  of  chancel,  nave,  south chapel, south porch and an embattled western tower containing 5 bells. In the Church is an inscribed stone to Anthony Heyham, gent. and his wife c. 1557.
      The Church has been thoroughly repaired at the expense of the Leigh family and affords 270 sittings. The register dates from the year 1558. The living is a rectory, with that of Little. Totham annexed, joint net yearly value £554, with 35 acres of glebe and residence, in the gift of the trustees of G. D. Collins esq. and held since 1893 by the Rev. Frederick Thomas Gardner M.A. of St. Peter's College, Cambridge.    
    1899 Church bells upgraded to a peal of 6. more about...  the bells of St Peters  
    1900 The Revd. Gardner started a "coal club" to buy coal in bulk at lower prices for his parishioners.  
    1904 From "Little Totham – The Story of a Small Village" ...
The children went to a Sunday School Christmas treat at the Rectory in a horse and cart. "The repast being over, the curtains at one end of the room were drawn aside revealing the lighted Christmas tree laden with presents of which every child received one or two. Recitations were given and songs sung. Before dispersing the children were further regaled with cake, oranges, sweets and nuts.
    1906 Despite being confined to a wheelchair with motor neurone disease, with the encouragement of Dr Salter, the Revd. Gardner organised several "prospecting" expeditions to Spitzbergen accompanied by, Charles Mann, Ernest Mansfield and George Alexander.  
    1906 From "Little Totham – The Story of a Small Village" …
The Revd. Gardner wrote his monthly letter in the Parish Magazine from Spitzbergen and announced that 43 London Children would be coming to stay in Goldhanger and Little Totham as they normally did each year.
    1906 The organ was installed in this year.  
    1908 The parish magazine reported:
The brake conveyed a party of Little Totham and Goldhanger choirs to D'Arcy station where they caught the 9.35am train to Tollesbury pier. The steamer, the Woolwich Belle was in readiness to take them aboard. After calling at Clacton and Walton, it reached Felixstowe on a calm blue sea with perfect weather overhead at 12 o'clock. Dinner was immediately served, after which a brake conveyed them to the grounds of the Suffolk show. At 5 o'clock a return to the steamer was made, tea being taken on board. An equally enjoyable journey home was in store for all. Tollesbury pier being reached at 9.30pm and D'Arcy station half an hour later, and from thence the drive home.
      The lower part of the Ellacombe Chimes frame was a cupboard used to store the hand bells. The hand bells date from about this period and were probably a gift from the Gardner family.  
    1910 A plaque in the tower commemorates the first peal on 6 bells by local ringers. The ringers were given a silver medallion by the Revd. Gardiner.  
      The Essex Association
On Monday November 7th 1910, in 2hours and 34 minutes
was rung in this Tower

A PEAL OF MINOR  (5040 changes)
Being 720 each of Double Oxford, Plain Bob, Double Court
College Single, Woodbine, Kent, and Oxford, Treble Bob.
John D Buckingham - Treble Frederick White - 4th
Charles J. Mann - 2nd George H Neville - 5th
John Owers - 3rdArthur Appleton- Tenor
Conductor J. D. Buckingham
This was the first Peal on the bells by a local Company
Rev. F.T.Gardner, Rector,- G.H.Payne, Churchwarden
Rev. B.H.D.Field, Curate, H.Buckell, - Churchwarden
        more about. . .  the bells of St Peters  
    1910s The photograph below was taken before the war memorial was built and shows that the Churchyard at the front of the Church was clear of grave stones even at this time.  
    1911 The Parish Magazine reported that a temporary Chancel screen has been erected "as the previous one has been much missed on its removal". It will remain in its place "until such times as a permanent Chancel screen may be given which the Church really needs".  
    1913 The Parish Magazine reported that a new organ was installed. The builder was Mr. Dalladay of Hastings. It has two manuals, nine speaker stops, other accessories and 448 pipes.  
Two pilots of 37 Squadron, the Royal Flying Corps, based at Goldhanger aerodrome, were killed locally in separate incidents and are buried in the Churchyard. Their gravestones are maintained annually by the Commonwealth War Graves Commission.
The John Wakelin memorial window
was installed
by the south door.
The "impressive and noble" war memorial was built in the Churchyard with white Portland stone to commemorate the seventeen parishioners who lost their lives in The Great War. They included the Revd. Gardners son, who was at the front for just four days. The names on the memorial are now only just readable.
      more about... the War Memorial and The Great War  
    1924 The organ blower's wages were increased from  5 to 6 shillings.  
    1925 Extracts from:  Church Plate of Essex, dated 1925
St Peters, Goldhanger
Cup...........12 oz...............4..............1846
Paten........14 oz...............8.............1846
Flagon.......37 oz...............6...........1846
Alms dishes..10 oz............8........1846( a pair)

Presented to the Parish of Goldhanger by
Sarah Anne Leigh in memory of her Brother
the Revd. Edward Morris Leigh
Rector of Goldhanger and Little Totham
who died 15th August 1846.
All have the inscription:
      and have the sacred monogram:  
en soleil

The authors of "Church Plate of Essex" wrote in 1925...
This is all typical early Victorian Plate, and there is nothing that calls for special remark. Plate by the same makers is to be seen at many other parishes in the Diocese. All the old Plate belonging to this Church, as well as that of Little Totham, was sold in comparatively recent times, and replaced by these present vessels, which, though good of their kind, possess neither the value nor the interest of the Plate which was parted with.  An entry in one of the Act Books for the Essex Archdeaconry of 1602 shows that: "Nicholas Decks, is presented for deteyning the Communion Cupp" and "It is affirmed that he hath delivered the Cupp"
This 1930s postcard shows a rood screen dividing the chancel from the nave. The organ and pulpit are at different locations and oil lamps still in use.
      more postcard scenes of the Church  
    1930s The Rev Gardner and the Methodist preacher Stanley Wilkin exchanged information on Church and chapel attendances, and agreed which should approach the non-attenders.  
    1936 Mains electricity installed in the Church at a cost of £36 and the oil lamps were removed. The Rev Gardner refused to allow overhead electricity cables to cross his land or be used around the village. Underground cables had to be installed at much greater expense. However, an overhead cable crosses the front of the Churchyard, presumably to avoid digging in the graveyard.  
    1937 The Parish Magazine reported that a new vestry has been erected at the west end of the south aisle. Cupboards and bookshelves have been removed from the ringing chamber.  
    1937 The Parish Magazine reported that the "stencilled canvas on the walls of the Chancel and Lady Chapel is very dirty and worse for wear". It will be removed and "the walls given several coats of good distemper".  
This picture that was part of an article in the East Anglian DailyTimes in 1939 entitled… "An Essex Parish - its History and Romance" and shows a chimney for a boiler located just inside the Church near the south door. The gap in the pews is still there.

    1939 Extracts from the same article in the East Anglian Daily Times of June 1939…  
      The ancient walls of St.Peters bear the tiles one associates with the days of the Romans. Most of the building, however, dates from early English times, but the south porch and the tower, the latter exceptionally broad and imposing, are about two centuries younger.
      Partly because of the tower, the building seems singularly striking, and is rendered even more so by a stone Calvary facing the village, an affair impressive and noble of aspect, which is Goldhanger's memorial to the men of the parish "who fought and died in the Great War".  
Although the exterior of St. Peters is impressive; the inside possesses more claims on the attention; the beautiful proportions the lancet windows, whose origin goes back to the very beginning of the building, the splendid woodwork of the roofs and pulpit, the carving here contrasts with the plain modern benches. All these combine to give the Church a very dignified air, so here one feels to be in the presence of something which has survived the stress and storms of centuries, and has been rendered the more remarkable in consequence.
      An early survivor is a piscina in the usual position to the south of the chancel. Although restoration has occurred even so the old workmanship seems very apparent.    
      A really ancient monument takes the form of a tomb. It retains a brass showing an inscription, but unfortunately, as one so often discovers, the effigies and two shields have been removed. In spite of this, the tomb is in a very fine state of preservation indeed, and from the epitaph we find that here is interred Antony Heigham whose death occurred in 1557.  
      The font, circular in shape and supported by nine broad shafts, is modern, but even in this case a link with the past reveals itself, for this font appears to be a copy of one constructed in Norman times.  
The two large oil paintings hanging in the church and shown below were moved from the Rectory to the Church at the beginning of the war. Both are dedicated to the Revd. Gardner and were donated by the Gardner family after the Rector's death in 1936. They are both extremely well painted, probably by the same Victorian artist, but are unsigned and have darkened with age. more about...  The Oil Paintings in St Peters
    1942 The Rector was appointed as an RAF chaplain.  
The contents of the Church was insured for £1000 worth of war damages.
    1947 The graveyard was extended.  
    1947 The 1850s built Rectory was sold and
re-named "Goldhanger House"
    1947 The last Curate left the village
and the Parsonage was sold.
    1950 The Parish magazine was re-launched after a gap
of several years.
    1950s An electric blower was installed on the organ.
Up until this date the pump would have been hand operated.
Alfred Appleton & Bernard Mann
These two Sequoia trees were planted
 in the Churchyard by Crawshay Frost.
    1951 Tower Captain Bernard Mann organised the upgrading of the bells  to a peal of 8 and a new steel frame was installed. One of the bells came from the redundant Church of St Giles in Colchester. To raise funds for the refurbishments, house to house collections were organised using a payment card. When money was collected, the amount was entered onto the card so that a record of total contribution was maintained.  
      The Tenor bell was cast in in this year and is inscribed in the memory of the Revd. Gardner and his wife Ethel Mary.  
      Bernard Mann also organised the installation of glass plates between the nave and the ringing chamber. The glass came from a disused shop in Colchester.  
        more about...  the bells of St Peters  
    1954 From Buildings on England - Essex,  by Nikolaus Pevsner
The north side of the Church shows its 11th century origin: one chancel window, the nave east angle, and one nave window. Much re-use of Roman brick, 14th century south aisle mostly of flint, but also incorporating Roman bricks.

15th century west tower with diagonal buttresses and some flint and stone decoration. The south arcade inside is of the 19th century. Stained glass: south chapel, south and east windows of 1858, typical of their date. Monument: Tomb-chest with black cover-plate, one brass to a woman and indents of other brasses. The monument was to Thomas Heigham 1531.

    1955 The Maldon & Burnham Standard reported that Church belfry and tower restoration was complete and paid for with £1,600 raised in the Parish over the previous 5 years.  
Areas of the Churchyard were levelled and headstones placed around the edges.
Tollesbury bellringer Bob Leavett donated a
weather vane, which was installed by
George Emeny and Terry Carter.
A sculpture by Crawshay Frost was placed
in the Lady Chapel where it remains.
From Essex Countryside magazine of 1962...
St Peters is a big Church with a three-stage tower, buttressed and battlemented, carrying six bells. The chancel was built in the twelfth century, but like the nave it has been restored by white plastered walls.
      When this photograph was taken, probably in the 1930s, the vestry had not yet been built in the south west corner and the oil lamps can still be seen.  
    1966 Arthur Mee wrote in "The Kings England - Essex" of St Peters…
There is no doubt that the Romans were here, for their bricks are in the Church walls, set here by Norman hands. The deeply splayed windows of the Normans have now brilliantly coloured portraits of the saints. The bold tower, the chapel, and the three-bayed roof of the nave are mediaeval. 
In the chapel is the altar tomb of Thomas Heigham and his three wives; one of their portraits is still in brass on the tomb, showing her in Tudor costume. The big Churchyard, with its many chestnut trees, is a pleasant place to linger in on an autumn day, when creeper clothes the porch in a glowing mass of red and gold.
    1967 The Maldon & Burnham Standard reported that the choir boys "did their bit to help rid St Peters Church Goldhanger of black watch beetles at a church bazaar on Saturday". They raised £130.  
    1968 Norman Scarfe in “A Shell Guide to Essex”  wrote of St Peters…  
The established oak tree near the south door, was planted around this time. The acorn came from the great oak tree on Sandon village green which was several hundred years old and cut down in 2001 having become diseased.
    1974 In  "Church Carpentry"  Cecil A Hewett  wrote...
The nave at St. Peter's, has a crown-post roof with collar-purlin (lengthwise beam) and seven cants (a partial polygon shape). Three composite tie-beams that are mounted on wall-pieces with traceried spandrels, and mouldings of unusual interest.
Perhaps the most remarkable feature is the chamfering of every constituent timber of the roof, including the smallest and least important. The date for this should be sometime during the final quarter of the 14th century.
    1985 Extract from: List of Buildings of Special Architectural or Historic Interest, dated 1985  
St. Peters Church, Goldhanger - The walls are of coursed flint-rubble with dressings of Roman brick and limestone, and the roof is tiled. The chancel and nave were built in the 12th century, possibly also the south aisle, which was rebuilt in the late 14th century. The west tower was added in the 2nd half of the 15th century, and the west end of the church was rebuilt. The south chapel was added shortly afterwards. The church was restored in the 19th and 20th centuries.
        Features and fittings: 12th century round-headed window in north wall of chancel and one in north wall of nave; possible 12th century doorway in north wall of nave, much altered now with a 15th century arch; late 15th century arch in south wall of nave; partially restored 14th south doorway in south aisle.  
A 15th century roof in the nave; possible 13th century piscina in chancel; possible 14th century carving of a man, angel  (possibly "Tobias & the Angel") with ivy leaves and a small animal ; altar tomb of circa.1531 in south chapel, with brass of 1540 inserted into earlier indents.
A door in the second stage of the tower is possibly 15th century.  In 1982 a hole was made in the north wall of Lady Chapel, for the insertion of an Aumbry (wall cupboard for communion vessels). The wall consisted of a facing plaster over grey stone and septaria (a type of stone).
    1990 The organ was dismantled and overhauled.  
    1992 A flower arrangers cupboard was installed at the rear of the Church in memory of Henry and May Webb.    
    1992 The one hundredth peal was rung at St Peters to mark Bernard Mann's 80th birthday, 40 years since the upgrade to 8 bells and the 30 years Bernard had been tower captain.  
    1999 Parts of the ceiling plaster fell down damaging the lectern. A Pipistrelle bat colony was found during the repair work and was protected.  
A memorial book and display stand was donated by Mrs Forbes and is installed in the Lady Chapel.
    2006   Crumbling plaster work was removed from the internal walls of the ringing chamber in the tower and the stonework was revealed and pointed. An early stonemason's mark has been exposed.  
    2010 A new Community Room was added to the north side of the Church with access through the existing north door. This provides a small meeting room, a kitchen, disabled toilet facilities, and disabled access to the Church.    
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