I recently discovered a little gem in the heart of the Essex countryside. The tiny village of Greensted is home to St. Andrew’s Church, which holds the distinction of being the oldest wooden church in the world. The 51 enormous timbers that form the outside of the oldest part of the building date back to around 1060, although evidence was discovered during excavations in the 1960s of an even earlier structure (6th or 7th century) beneath the chancel.
Beside one of the pews I found a tiny triangular window, known as a ‘leper’s squint’. Apparently such openings allowed those with leprosy to receive a blessing from the priest, while not mixing with the rest of the population in the church.
5 September 2019