Good Easter is a small, rural agricultural village right in the heart of Essex. The title of the local history book, ‘Seven miles from everywhere on the way to nowhere’, hints at its peaceful location in the Essex countryside. A place which has been settled since at least the Roman times, rich in echoes of the past with historic trade routes, Norman barns and 18th century cottages all adding interest to the area.
In 1068 the parish of Good Easter was owned by the collegiate church of St Martin-le-Grand in London and it had four prebendary farms supporting four clergymen. The large C13 sedilia and bench in the chancel is an unusual feature for such a small church but is explained by the need to seat these four clergymen. These lifetime appointments, where the land remained in the ownership of the church were stopped by Henry VIII. In 1492 the property of Good Easter was transferred to Westminster Abbey and by 1620 it was privately owned.
Set on the south side of the village and within the village conservation area is the grade II* parish church of St Andrew’s, serving a population of c.389 across an area of 3.1 square miles.
The church is thought to have originally been built in 1200, although there is some evidence of an even earlier church existing on the site. The side aisle was added in 1220 with the chancel being rebuilt between 1230 and 1240.
In 1877 the spire was struck by lightning and severely damaged, resulting in the restoration of the west end of the church. At the same time, the chancel was restored by the Essex church architect and priest Ernest Geldart. The stone chancel reredos, oak screen and surviving tiled decoration were all designed by Geldart.
In spring 1885 there was a further devastating fire caused by an overheating stove flue pipe. This led to a major restoration by Frederick Chancellor (Antiquarian and first Mayor of Chelmsford) which included a new tower and timber clad spire. The belfry at the west end of the nave, carried on four posts with arched braces is part of Chancellor’s 1885 restoration. The bells were replaced following the fire and were cast by John Warner & Sons of London, three are dated 1886 and two from 1892.
As in many rural communities, the church has played a more important role than just offering a meeting place for the local congregation. For over 800 years the presence of the church building has offered a place of stability and support. For the community of Good Easter today, whatever their religion, the presence of the church continues to provide part of the community identity, and for the many who walk the popular Essex Way which passes through the churchyard, the church provides a restful place of peace and tranquillity
Where to find us
St Andrew’s Church
Souther Cross Road,
St Andrew’s Church is situated on the southern edge of Good Easter village, which is seven miles north west of Chelmsford and just off the A1060.