St Margaret's Church, Downham.

A carving on an outer building.

The fascia board is just above door and the carving is on the left
Jo Cullen
The carving of Mr Clark
Jo Cullen

I was reading through a local history interview with a Pitsea man, collected in the 1970s. This is an interesting snippet of Downham history and I am hoping that someone will be able to give me more information.

Mr Green of Pitsea
“My great grandmother came from Ramsden Heath, and her father, whose name was Clark, was the Church Warden at Downham Church. Just outside the gate of the church is a little shed and carved in the fascia board is an old man’s head. He has a beard and a bald head. This is my great grandfather. It was carved by the then parson’s daughter who was a dab hand at carving”. 

Having read this I had to go out and see for myself. The photo is attached.
Does anyone know the full name of the warden and the parson’s daughter’s name?

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  • The carving in the above picture appears to have been done by one of the daughters of the Reverend Edward Charles Evans who was at Downham from 1867 to 1881.

    The following was written shortly after the church reopened on Saturday 21 October 1871 after the completion of restoration work and is an extract from the Church of England Magazine of 1872:

    “The whole of the old and seemingly fittings of the church were destroyed about that time, save one old oak facing to the sittings which was found in a pig’s stye and which has been a model after which the daughters of the Reverend E. C. Evans carved the ends of the whole of the sittings in the nave”.

    The “about that time” refers to the period of Oliver Cromwell.

    The daughters in date of birth order were: Fanny, Marion, Annie, Emma and Edith. Fanny was around 25 at the time of the restoration and Edith 14.

    By David C Rayment (23/06/2022)
  • In the early 1960’s Downham was a small, restful, tightly-knit, sleepy little community. We loved it there. Our address was 4 Castledon Rd.
    I worked at Boreham House (owned by Ford Motor’s Tractor Operations) as a lecturer.
    The drive through the rural countryside was idyllic.
    I still miss it.
    Peter Gough, Naples, Florida.

    By Peter Gough (18/06/2022)
  • In 1962 we had a nice two-storey red brick house built on a lot in Downham, opposite a tractor dealership (now a horse farm, I believe?).
    Our address was 4 Castledon Road, Downham, and our home, which had an extensive rear garden, was second from the other end of the row of red brick homes, near a chicken farm.
    I understand that a Mrs. Keddie lived nearby, she of the Southend retail store, on the bend in the road near the church.
    In October 1964 I was transferred by Ford Motor to Michigan, USA, so we rented the home to Ford, for use by visiting executives.
    While empty between tenants, the house was burgled and valuable carpets, etc, stolen, so we sold it. (Subsequent owners sold half of the land at the rear to built a house off of the side lane.)
    I would be interested in any news of that row of red brick houses on the corner? Thank you.
    I am trying to recall the name of the nearest Catholic church there?
    Peter Gough. Naples, Florida. USA.

    By Peter Gough (04/04/2022)
  • I have heard there is a soft bark tree somewhere on the grounds of this church. I remember in school everyone used to go on about a Sponge Tree; now, after years of not remembering, I was told today that the Sponge Tree is located here at St Margaret’s Church.
    Does anyone have any more info on this?

    By jordan (02/08/2019)

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