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St Mary and St Peter's Churchyard Havering


The still rural hamlet of Wennington has existed from at least 969AD and there was a church here by the C11th. St Mary and St Peter's Church, a C12th stone and flint building, was rebuilt in the C13th and has a C15th tower. Although the church has been much restored in the C19th and C20th, the doorway dates from the C12th church. Among the monuments in the churchyard is that of amateur mathematician Henry Perigal (d.1898), who discovered the proof of Pythagoras' Theorum in 1830, the diagram engraved on his monument. An inscription records his Huguenot descent and states that he 'investigated and illustrated the laws of compound circular motion'.

Basic Details

Previous / Other name:
Wennington Parish Church

Site location:
Wennington Road/Church Lane, Wennington

RM13 ( Google Map)

Type of site:



Listed structures:
LBII*: St Mary and St Peter's Church


Site ownership:

Site management:

Open to public?

Opening times:

Special conditions:



Public transport:
Rail: Rainham then bus. Bus: 372

The information shown above was correct at the time of the last update 01/09/2009
Please check with the site owner or manager for latest news.

Further Information

Grid ref:

Size in hectares:

Green Flag:

On EH National Register :

EH grade:

Site on EH Heritage at Risk list:

Registered common or village green on Commons Registration Act 1965:

Protected under London Squares Preservation Act 1931:

Local Authority Data

The information below is taken from the relevant Local Authority's planning legislation, which was correct at the time of research but may have been amended in the interim. Please check with the Local Authority for latest planning information.

On Local List:

In Conservation Area:

Tree Preservation Order:

Nature Conservation Area:
Yes - Local Importance

Green Belt:

Metropolitan Open Land:

Special Policy Area:

Other LA designation:

Fuller information

There are records of the hamlet of Wennington in 969ADand there was a church here by 1042-4, when Edward the Confessor, who then owned the manor of 'Winintuna' confirmed the parish as belonging to Westminster Abbey. The manor was later subdivided into separate manors of Wennington Hall, Leventhorpe and Noke. Wennington Hall, a C19th building remodelled in the C20th, remains on the site of the earlier manor houses, once held in the C14th by Sir John Gildesburgh, Speaker in the parliament of Richard II. The small C12th stone and flint parish church of St Mary and St Peter was rebuilt in the C13th and has a C15th tower, but the doorway dates from the original church. It has been much restored in the C19th and C20th. The Friends of Wennington Church was set up in the 1980s when the church was in a bad state of repair and threatened with redundancy, but restored following successful fund-raising.

In the churchyard is the monument of Henry Perigal (1801-98), 'an amazing mathematical tomb' (Weinreb and Hibbert). Perigal, who worked for a London stockbroker, was an amateur mathematician and discovered the proof of Pythagoras' Theorem in 1830, a diagram of which he had printed on his business card. It was later carved on his memorial in Wennington churchyard, where his ashes were buried following his cremation at Woking. The inscription on the tomb records that he was descended from a Huguenot family that fled France after the Revocation of the Edict of Nantes of 1688 and also states 'he was a learned and ingenious geometrician. He investigated and illustrated the laws of compound circular motion.' Known as 'Cyclops' he was Treasurer of the R Met S & Co for 40 years.

The parish is now joined with that of St Helen and St Giles Rainham (q.v.).

Sources consulted:

Ben Weinreb & Christopher Hibbert, 'The London Encyclopaedia' (Macmillan, revised ed. 1993); LB Havering Listed Buildings data; John Drury, 'Treasures of Havering', Ian Henry Publications, 1998; Surendra Verma, 'The Little Book of Maths Theorums, Theories & Things', Orient Publishing, c.2005 (E-book)

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