All Saints church
|OS grid reference|
|Sovereign state||United Kingdom|
|Ambulance||East of England|
East Horndon is a village in the civil parish of West Horndon, in the south of the borough of Brentwood in Essex in the East of England. It is situated just south of the A127 road near Herongate. The village Church of All Saints is located to the north of the A127, and is redundant, but in the care of the Churches Conservation Trust.
There were two manors in East Horndon, Heron on the north of the church and Abbotts on the south. By the fourteenth century the Tyrells of Herongate had been gaining influence, and became the patrons of the church. This family demolished most of the Norman church, rebuilding it in the present style. The chancel and south transept are late fifteenth century. There is a splendid limestone figure of Alice, wife of Sir John Tyrell, flanked by her children all named. The south and north chapels were built for the interments of the family. Climb the stairs to enter the south gallery - a pleasant living room for the chantry priest in pre-Reformation times, even a Tudor fireplace. Outside this attractive building is a squat tower with distinctive corner turrets, and a stepped parapet.
Below, on the south of the church, East Horndon is reduced to the original old road to Herongate, winding up the hill, two restaurants and two houses. Crossing the road bridge to the other side and returning the way we have come, we find the old road running off towards the Thames, and in its angle is East Horndon Hall, the old manor or Abbots. There is reputed to have been a tunnel from the Hall to the church across the present Southend Road.
East Horndon once had its own petrol station with a nightclub known as "Elliots", which was renamed Twilights in the mid 1980s. The club was opened during the early 1980s and closed in 1989. At the time of closure, everything was abandoned behind, including beer, furniture and equipment. The nightclub and petrol station still remain today, but they are totally derelict. The nightclub is a popular urban exploration hotspot but it is unsafe to enter.
The southern portion of the traditional parish of East Horndon is now in the unitary authority of Thurrock.
Two legends persist about the church. One tells of Sir James Tyrell who went to slay a dragon and died. It appears that he had been asked to kill a serpent-type animal which escaped from a ship in the Thames and roamed the woods round the manor of Herongate and the church, terrifying the people. He managed to slay it, chopping of its head, but he died from his exertions.  His son, looking for him, trod on a bone of the animal and, gangrene setting in, he lost his leg. There is a glass window at Heron depicting a one-legged man. The legend has recently been reworked in comic book form in London Falling.
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