|St Laurence's Churchyard||Havering|
Upminster was one of the parishes in the Chafford Hundred, a series of small parishes of isolated farms and hamlets. St Laurence’s Church was built in the C11th/C12th on a site where a church had probably existed since the C7th. The C12th base of the tower survives from the original church, which was altered in the 1770s, largely rebuilt in 1863 and later extended in 1928-35. The churchyard is enclosed by C19th railings and C20th brick wall and is densely planted with mature trees, including two avenues of yew and more recent flowering species, long grass and shrubs. The oldest remaining memorials in the churchyard are 4 headstones against the outer walls to the north one of 1695, the others early C18th. There are also several good examples of C18th and C19th table tombs and a War Memorial.
The information shown above was correct at the time of the last update 01/10/2010
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St Laurence’s Church was built in the C11th/C12th on a site where a church had probably existed since C7th, originally a timber building. Upminster was one of the parishes in the Chafford Hundred, a series of small parishes of isolated farms and hamlets, and the fact that the parish church is located midway between the old manor houses of Upminster Hall and Gaynes may have been because the first church here served a larger area than Upminster. The C12th base of the tower is the earliest surviving part of the original church, and pillars and arches in the nave as well as the wooden framework of the tower date from the C13th. The church font was originally in the chapel at Upminster Hall when it was occupied by the monks of Waltham Abbey. The body of the church was altered by Sir James Esdaile in the 1770s and in 1863 it was largely rebuilt by W G Bartlett. By the C20th the village of Upminster was fast becoming a suburb, requiring a larger church and St Laurence's was extended in 1928-35 to designs by Sir Charles Nicholson. The church was extensively refurbished and restored in 1992 and in 2003 further work was carried out, with a new central sanctuary consecrated by the Bishop of Barking on 8 June. The scheme also saw modification of the clergy stalls and removal of the old organ; it was highly commended in the Diocesan Advisory Committee design awards in 2005. It contains some interesting brasses including those that date from Tudor and Stuart times. A window in the north aisle, while largely of c.1630, contains fragments of earlier glass depicting birds, butterflies and a family in a garden. The Revd. William Derham was Rector of St Laurence's 1689 -1735 and chaplain to the Prince of Wales, but was a scientist as well as a theologian. He published a book on the theory of clockwork and is said to have acted as his parishioners' doctor. He was a member of the Royal Society and carried out experiments into the speed of sound and light, making his calculations based on observations of gun flashes from Woolwich Arsenal as viewed from St Laurence’s belfry.
The churchyard is enclosed by C19th railings and C20th brick wall and contains a War Memorial and C18th monuments. It is densely planted with mature trees, including two avenues of yew and more recent flowering species, long grass and shrubs. The oldest remaining memorials in the churchyard are four headstones placed against the outer walls of the North aisle. Two are dated 1717 and the others 1710 and 1695. There are also several good examples of C18th and C19th table tombs. .
Ben Weinreb & Christopher Hibbert, 'The London Encyclopaedia' (Macmillan, revised ed. 1993) p929; Arthur Mee 'The King's England: London North of the Thames except the City and Westminster' (Hodder & Stoughton 1972); John Drury, 'Treasures of Havering', (Ian Henry Publications, 1998); leaflet in church: 'Short Guide to Saint Laurence The Parish Church of Upminster'