Old St. Peter's Church, Thundersley

Image from Jon Stamp’s article "Old St. Peter's Church, Thundersley"

In 1885, Rector William Wordsworth Talfourd, rebuilt and extended the 12th Century chancel. This was the first time that St. Peter’s structure was changed since it was burnt down in 1215. He used pine for the roof timber and replaced the three rectangular east windows, of non descriptive glass, with the beautiful East Window in memory of his father.

In 1966, St. Peter’s Church 1885 chancel was replaced with the 1966 extension and left very little of the old chancel. However, these three images allow us to see how small and intimate St. Peter’s Church, Thundersley was over 50 years ago.

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  • I have just found out that my 4th cousin, Edward Albert Smith, is buried in St Peter’s Church Yard. He was a Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve and died on 5th August 1942. Maybe one day I’ll get to Thundersley and lay flowers.

    By Susan McMahon (28/01/2021)
  • I too loved being a member of the club. I adored the basket weaving. And the nativity play at Christmas was a highlight of the year. Behind the scenes in a little room where we all got ready was really exciting. Such wonderful happy times to be treasured. Rev Woodcock and Mr Ormerod visited our home in Cedar Park Close when my dad was terribly ill.

    By Jill Ellis (12/12/2020)
  • I wanted to get married in this church as it was lovely looking, but I was one road out and ended up getting married at St George’s newish looking church. We went up and took photos at St Peter’s afterwards. Now 42 years later I’m burying my husband at another St Peter’s church in Suffolk with the same looking gates as St Peter’s in Thundersley. How strange and sad at the same time.

    By Jackie leggett (12/10/2020)
  • I remember many happy years at St. Peter’s Church. I went to the Monday Club run by Mrs Woodcock and loved it there, I especially remember the wood strips being soaked in buckets ready for basket weaving. In 1965 I joined the church choir until I went away to college. I was a member of the Youth club run by the Reverend Terry Card. We had wonderful youth services and evening meetings. We had a very memorable youth holiday at Scargill House in Yorkshire. In 1974 I was married at St. Peter’s by the Rev Boxall as Rev Woodcock was ill at the time.

    By Ruth Lanwarne (31/08/2020)
  • I too belonged to the children’s club then and really enjoyed your lovely rendition of the church. It brought back so many memories. Thank you x

    By Sandra Stapleton (13/12/2019)
  • Remember it all like it was yesterday. I also went to Monday Club and we had a lot to do with the church; I was also married at St. Peter’s in 1973. Very happy times.

    By Susan Neave formally Watts (24/11/2018)
  • I remember Rev and Mrs Woodcock very well.  Mrs Woodcock’s elderly parents (their surname was South) used to live in the cottage in the church grounds, just inside the gate leading to the “Old Rectory.”  They were all lovely, dear people.  Mr South had hearing problems and was at the evening service during a time when the crypt was opened up for some work to be done.  Mr South was sitting near that area and said a long low ”Amen,” to a prayer, a little after all the other people uttered their’s and at a moment when all was quiet. Scaring a member of the choir, who, from his place in the choir stalls, heard the sound come from the direction of the crypt!  

    I remember the old and the extended St Peter’s with fondness and am proud to have been part of the “family” there for a good part of my “growing” years. My parents were married there.  I was christened and confirmed there.  I also remember some of the ”clubs” that were part of the church activities.  My dad belonged to the Men’s Club, with Mr John Pond. Mr Ron Green (his wife ran the Guides) and others.  Mum and others helped Mrs Woodcock with the Children’s Club held at the “old” church hall, next to Pond’s shop.  The Annual Concert was good fun with each of the groups (clubs) doing a “turn”.  The Nativity Plays were lovely.  There was an annual Cricket match (ladies v men) Mrs Woodcock was a very good bowler!  The Summer Fete was a very happy time too.  Lots of work to get ready for it and tidy away afterwards but well worth it.  We used to lend my very sturdy swing for that, it got lots of use, with a longer pole than usual in place to hold more swings.  The Christmas Fair was good too, lots of lovely things made the Ladies Club, cakes and Santa in his grotto too.  The Harvest Supper’s where we had a good time with nice people.  But most of all…I am so glad of the “grounding” the church gave me and for all the very happy memories attached to it.  I no longer live in Essex but Thundersley and St Peter’s Church and its “family” will always have a place in my heart.

    By Ve Hutley (03/04/2014)

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