History of St Nicholas Church
The church is used regularly, and the bells can be heard on a Sunday morning calling people to worship.
This beautiful Norman church was built around 1100 so has seen almost one thousand years of village life. According to mediaeval tradition, Wakering (probably Great Wakering) was the site of a monastery during the seventh century AD and so predates the current building. In Saxon times, probably c400 -500 A.D. the area was settled by the people of Waeccer; hence the name of Wakering. In the doomsday book, written by the order of William the conqueror in 1066 it is referred to as Wachelinga.
The church is well maintained by the local community. The surrounding area is part of Rochford district's conservation area and is surrounded by farmland and wetland.
The church is located at the east end of the village of Great Wakering a village situated 5 miles from Southend-on-Sea and Rochford; lying between Shoeburyness and Foulness Island with one and a half miles of coastline.
Great Wakering was a small town or large fort in Roman times and numerous Roman remains have been discovered, some of which are now housed in the Southend museum.
The nave and chancel were built around 1100, with the tower added later in the century. The upper part of the 16th century south porch, originally the priest's chamber is reached by a narrow staircase. A Lady chapel was built in 1843.
The large stained-glass window behind the Altar; representing Christ's ascension into Heaven, was installed in 1958 as a memorial to Amy Benewith.
The lower stage of the tower was added to the Norman church and the
buttress between the West Porch and the tower built between 1130 and
upper part of the tower was constructed towards the end of the 12th
In 1961, the clock was repaired by RJ Yeo of Rochford. This firm also made repairs in 1977, when the dials were restored and repainted to commemorate the Silver Jubilee of Queen Elizabeth II.
The clock has
no springs. The mechanism is controlled by two weights consisting of
a series of smaller weights, attached to wires that run out from the
clock and down inside the tower in a special wooden casing. As the
pendulum swings, the weights gradually descend over seven days,
turning the clock's gears. On the seventh day, an appointed winder
winds the weights back to the clock and the process begins again.
The church is surrounded by the churchyard, which is managed and maintained by the Great Wakering Parish Council. The parish burial ground is adjacent to the churchyard.