The church stands just above the village of Woodham Walter and is of Elizabethan red brick. It is believed to be the first purpose-built Church of England church.
The most remarkable thing about this mellow red-brick church with its characteristic crow-stepped gables and straight-headed windows is its date of 1563, five years after the accession of Elizabeth I.
The church is open during day-light hours, and is regularly visited. Our provision of refreshments is much appreciated, and people from as far afield as the United States, Australia and New Zealand, have recorded their visits in recent years. Local rambling societies and individual walkers appreciate a peaceful stop-over on their walks round this typical Essex village.
The churchyard is maintained to allow a small wild area for insects and butterflies. There is also a memorial wall and garden for ashes. The view at the top of the page is of the village looking north from the church yard.
The Church of St Michael’s plays an active part in village life, either directly - the annual Flower Festival in July, taking an active part in the Bell Meadow Day celebrations - or via church member contact or membership of the Parish Council, the School Governing body, Silver Threads Club, Bell Meadow Village Association and in many other areas.
Woodham Walter has a real sense of “community” and church links with the village are strong, particularly through the Parish News and the village notice boards.
We have now completed the re-grading of the church path which allows easy access for wheelchairs and buggies, and a superb "Kitchen in a cupboard" has been fitted under the Belfry steps. This gives hot and cold water for preparing refreshments, which we have each Sunday after the morning service.
The old south door, which had been sealed up since 1795, has been replaced by a new south porch to containing toilets.
Church members take regular assemblies in our Primary school and the children and the staff are frequently in church. By building on this contact then hopefully not only will the children be attracted to the church, but the young parents will also come along.
It is important that the Church of St Michael's fulfils its commitment to all age groups who live in our parish. At present our focus is towards the village school children who are the seed corn of the future church. We are welcomed into the school but it is the face to face contact with staff, parents and children which is so important. The expectation of the parents is that this should be by our ordained priest. If we get this right, then hopefully not only will the children be attracted to the church but the young parents will also come along. When this happens we must provide a welcome and meaningful service for them.
We are proud of our faith and hope the proposed new additions will help strengthen the bonds between the Church and the community.
Do come and visit us and see our unique church and lovely village.