A grey day, late October and an impulse to see my Father and visit two Essex Churches, part of several that are part of an ecclesiastical ribbon development in an area north of the A120, that Essex top road from Stanstead Airport to Colchester.
Churches here about, again nominated for wonderfulness by Simon Jenkins, have come about from the wool trade and closeness to the river. These churches build close to the monasteries’ were adorned further from the wealth of local families, exemplified by the Countess of Warwick’s connection with Tilty Church and her Coat of Arms on the cottages that lead up to the church.
Outside both churches the flint and stone echoes the autumn cloudiness. Inside there is a cool light. In Little Easton Church there is a memorial window to a USAAF bomber squadron stationed close by during WW2, a reminder that most of East Anglian was a patch work of airfields now almost gone and once more under the plough and furrow.
On entering each church the opening part of Phillip Larkin’s poem, Church Going chime a chord
Once I am sure there's nothing going on
I step inside, letting the door thud shut.
Another church: matting, seats, and stone,
And little books; sprawlings of flowers, cut
For Sunday, brownish now; some brass and stuff
Up at the holy end; the small neat organ;
And a tense, musty, unignorable silence,
Brewed God knows how long. Hatless, I take off
My cycle-clips in awkward reverence.