This is especially for Becky who expressed an interest in English history. I promised to take some photos of this little church and here they are. Greensted church in Essex (20 minutes drive from my home) is the oldest wooden church in the world. Have visited many times, as this is a place we always take our guests to, and particularly American guests. Usually when I visit here during a weekday it is deserted but this time I just could not believe it, there was a coach parked outside and the church and surrounding area was densly populated with a party of very elderly senior citizens. I waited a while to try and get some pictures but could not get them completely deserted, nor could I take any inside as it was full.
This area was once a part of 2 great forests, Hainault and Epping. Both these forests still exist but now on a much smaller scale. The Saxon settlers worshipped their pagan gods in "groves" in the forest and at first the East Saxons resisted attempts to convert them to Christianity by Augustine and Mellitus from Rome. Finally St. Cedd, a Saxon trained at the Celtic monastery on Lindisfarne, was successful. St. Cedd began his work in about 654 A.D. and the first church was built at Greensted soon after. The original building was built from tree trunks from the forest. The nave was added in 845 A.D. .
This is the back of the church. In the 9th century Danish invasions became a serious threat. Raids produced a host of Saxon martyrs, of whom King Edmund of East Anglia is especially remembered here. In the Norman times of William the Conqueror more additions were made to the church. Next came the Crusaders. Henry VII's reign saw the beginning of many changes. In Victorian times there was a lot of restoration done to what had become a neglected church. Greensted's charming setting and close proximity to London brought increasing visitors and the last major repairs were carried out in 1969.