The church of St Edward the Confessor is a Victorian Gothic religious building located in Romford, Essex. The building is dedicated to the Catholic faith and forms part of the Diocese of Chelmsford. The current church was built between 1849–50 to a design by the English architect Daniel Cubitt Nicholls. There has been a church on the current site since 1177. The church is recorded in the National Heritage List for England as a designated Grade II listed building.
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 church to be built in the parish of Romford. It was built near to the River Rom and was dedicated to Saint Andrew. It remained until the end of the 14th century when it was ruined and later demolished.
Church of 1410
Towards the end of the 14th century, the building of a new church was initiated and became complete in 1410. It was consecrated by the the Bishop of St David on 23 March of that year and was dedicated to the Virgin Mary and St Edward the Confessor. This second building contained a chancel, nave and north aisle. It was bigger than the previous building by 28ft in length and 14ft 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. The school moved out in 1728 to a separate building within Romford's Market Place. Thirty years later a replacement, weight driven clock was installed; by 1800 the tower contained 8 bells. In 1844 work on a new church to the east of the Market Place, (now Main Road war memorial) was abandoned in favour of the current Market Place site. By 1849 the last services were being held in the Chapel prior to its demolition that year.
The new church was built to a design by the Essex architect Daniel Cubitt Nicholls and was built using money and land donated by the twelfth Lord Petre, who was also responsible for other churches in nearby villages including Barking, Ongar, Brentwood and Chelmsford. It was named after Edward the Confessor whose summer residence was in nearby Havering-atte-Bower. The church was dedicated in May 1856 by Cardinal Wiseman, the first Archbishop of Westminster and was among the first churches to be built in Essex under the Diocese of Westminster, which was established in 1850. Sixteen years later the first organ was installed in North East vestry, later refurbished in 1905. The North West vestry was extended in 1885.
Between 1890 and 1891, a day school was built in the grounds to the south of the church to a design by the architect George Sherrin. The chancel, which is linked to the church via the sacristy, was more than likely designed by Sherrin at around the same time. A gallery was added to the chancel in 1917 a gallery. In 1934 the north chapel and church hall were refurbished and the west gallery was added. 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.
Post war to present day
In 1961 the church day school was closed and eventually converted to a social club.Cite error: The
<ref> tag has too many names (see the help page). By 1965, the school had moved to a new location within London Road and became a secondary school. 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".
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.
- "St Edward The Confessor's Church, Romford", Essex Churches website, accessed 8 May 2015.
- "Romford - St. Edward the Confessor" Taking Stock: Catholic Curches of England and Wales, accessed 9 May 2015.
- "The Parish Church of St. Edward the Confessor, Romford", Stewards Romford: CofE approved website, accessed 9 May 2015.