The architecture of Elsenham

by Helen Hooker March. 25, 2020 370 views

The village war memorial

The village war memorial

My new Essex Churches project has turned out to be rather short-lived now we’re only supposed to be making journeys which are absolutely vital. I can always come back to it once the restrictions have been eased, so today I sought out other ways to get my architecture fix.

Instead of heading to the woods I took a stroll around our village, looking for interesting buildings. Elsenham has recently seen a massive increase in new home building, most of which are architecturally pretty dull – including our house, built in 2013. However, there are some interesting older buildings too, many of which feature pargeting. This is a type of decorative plastering on the exterior which is particularly prevalent in Essex and Suffolk.

The village pub, sadly closed at the moment, is covered in pargeting

The village pub, sadly closed at the moment, is covered in pargeting

The most unusual building in the village is the old pumphouse. Built in 1896 by Sir Walter Gilbey in memory of his wife who died that year, it covered the head of the village well. It served Elsenham with water until the late 1950s, when the well shaft threatened to collapse.

Originally the roof of the well was covered in gold and was covered up during World War II for fear of it being used as a landmark to aid navigation during bombing raids on London

Originally the roof of the well was covered in gold and was covered up during World War II for fear of it being used as a landmark to aid navigation during bombing raids on London

During my walk I stopped at St Mary’s Church, a building I’ve photographed many times before. I didn’t go inside this time, but instead focused my camera on external features which caught my eye.

The gate to the churchyard

The gate to the churchyard

I've visited St Marys many times but never noticed these two faces before

I've visited St Marys many times but never noticed these two faces before

Another war memorial, near the church

Another war memorial, near the church

Finally, I completed my loop round the edge of the fields and past some of the older cottages in the village. There are some other buildings of interest which weren’t on my route today, but I’ll save them for another day – after all, I wouldn’t want to use up all the possibilities too quickly!

I wonder how often this postbox, in the middle of nowhere, gets used?

I wonder how often this postbox, in the middle of nowhere, gets used?

A freshly re-thatched cottage roof, complete with a thatch duck!

A freshly re-thatched cottage roof, complete with a thatch duck!

25 March 2020

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Kay Hooker 1 week, 1 day ago

Very grand chimney stacks on #3.   #4 has very rough walls, when was this built?  Altogether Helen a great selection of Elsenham, which I look forward to seeing next time we visit.  Thank you Helen.

1 week, 1 day ago Edited
Don Baird 1 week, 2 days ago

Nice architecture. Everything around here was built since 2000 so not very interesting.

1 week, 2 days ago Edited
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