St Edward the Confessor Church, Romford

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St Edward the Confessor
St Edward the Confessor Church, Market Place, Romford
Denomination Church of England
Churchmanship Anglo-Catholic
Architect(s) John Johnson
Deanery Havering
Archdeaconry Barking
Diocese Chelmsford
Province Canterbury
Vicar(s) Fr David Anderson SCP
Curate(s) Reverend Mike Power
Organist(s) Jonathan Venner
Churchwarden(s) John Bloomfield & Philip Hensher
Verger Chris Patmore

The church of St Edward the Confessor is a Victorian Gothic religious building located in Market Place in Romford, Essex. The church is Anglican and lies within the Diocese of Chelmsford. There has been a religious building on the site since 1177 with the current structure dating from 1849–50. It was completed to a design by the English architect John Johnson.[1] The church was recorded in the National Heritage List for England as a designated Grade II listed building in 1952.[2]


Chapel of 1177

There has been a religious building on the site since 1177. The first construction was a small chapel and was the first such religious building to be built in Romford, then known as Romfort. The chapel was built near to the River Rom and was dedicated to Saint Andrew. The chapel remained until the end of the 14th century when it was ruined and later demolished.[3]

Church of 1410

The building of a new church was initiated towards the end of the 14th century, and was completed in 1410.[3] It was consecrated by the Bishop of St David on 23 March of that year and was dedicated to the Virgin Mary and St Edward the Confessor, the latter of whom it was named after. This new church contained a chancel, nave and north aisle. It was bigger than the previous building by 28 ft in length and 14 ft in width. It had a brick tower with five bells, and later, a gallery at the west end, which housed a charity for orphaned children. By 1710 the orphanage became the St Edward's School which was founded within the vestry.[3] The school moved out in 1728 to a separate building within Romford's Market Place. Almost 30 years later a replacement weight driven clock was installed and a further three bells were added. The building remained in use until 1844 when work on a new church to the east of the Market Place (now Main Road war memorial) was started. However, the construction at that location was abandoned in favour of the current Market Place site. By 1849 the last services were being held at the Market Place church prior to its demolition later that year.[3]

Current building

On Thursday 19 September 1850, the present church was consecrated by the Bishop of Rochester. The architect John Johnson designed the church in the decorated style of Gothic architecture used in this country in the Middle Ages. It is built mainly of Kentish Ragstone with Bath stone dressings. The Kentish Ragstone has since deteriorated with time.[4]

Some of the materials used in the building of the church came from Nash's Quadrant in Regent Street, London, which was being demolished. This may account for the many carved corbels depicting the heads of kings, queens, bishops, the Green Man, a veiled woman and sundry other heads with unusual head dresses.[4]

The church received minor damage during the Second World War in 1943. During renovations a year later an electric clock and chime bells were installed.[3]

Post war to present day

The church was recorded in the National Heritage List for England as a designated Grade II[5] listed building on 4 July 1952.[2] By 1965, the school had moved to a new location within London Road and became a secondary school.[3] A new organ was installed in the west gallery in 1979, and five years later, the Church House was restored. A major renovation took place in 1988 which included under floor heating, whilst the pews were converted to a free standing area. The church received a grant from the Pilling Trust in 2001 and a lavatory and kitchen facilities were added. The same year, an oak carving of St Edward the Confessor, was commissioned and introduced into the main porch. The following year chairs replaced the free standing pews. The area of "Oldchurch" which is located within Romford's ring road takes its name from the "Old Church of 1410".[3] The current wall which separates the churchyard to the Market Place is the original structure and dates to around the time of the second church.[6] The church's spire, 162 feet high, underwent major repair work in 1992. Its dimensions are 81 feet in length, 54 feet in width, and 55 feet in height.[4]


The well-proportioned church consists of a nave of five bays with clerestory, north and south aisles, chancel, Lady Chapel and west gallery. Two vestries were added in 1885.[4]

The Chancel, by the south wall features a monument to Sir George Hervey. On the North wall is a memorial to Sir Anthony Cooke, which is now a scheduled monument of national importance.[3]


  1. "St Edward The Confessor's Church, Romford", Essex Churches website, accessed 8 May 2015.
  2. 2.0 2.1 St Edward the Confessor's Church (Market Place), Historic England website, accessed 3 December 2015.
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 3.5 3.6 3.7 "The Parish Church of St. Edward the Confessor, Romford", Stewards Romford: CofE approved website, accessed 9 May 2015.
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 "St Edward's Romford - History - Present Church". St Edward's Romford. Retrieved 3 December 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  5. "Church of St Edward the Confessor (Roman Catholic), Havering", British Listed Buildings, accessed 8 March 2016.
  6. "Romford", Chelmsford Chronicle 20 September 1850, p. 2.


  • Cherry, Bridget; O'Brien, Charles; Pevsner, Nikolaus (2006). Pevsner Architectural Guides: Buildings of England. London: East. ISBN 978-0-3001-0701-2.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  • Cooper, Janet (1994). Victoria County History, A History of the County of Essex. London: East. ISBN 978-0-1972-2784-8.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>

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