Sometime before I left School I had my first a girlfriend who lived in Sudbury’s Farm cottage on the S bend on Blue House Farm Corner, Downham. One of the walks we used to do was down to Downham Church and along to where the Keddies lived. Mr. Padwick was their gardener, as referred to by Bob Croot in some of his memories.
My photo shows St Margaret’s Church in 1956, taken before the fire and the erection of the dovecote and the stables. Some years after the fire, my wife and I went to a fund-raising event at South Hanningfield Church which involved my sister, Margaret Radford, and, in an auction, I was able to buy a spinning chair and a chalice, both made from wood salvaged from the devastation of the fire. I have two letters from the Rev. Canon David Atkins certifying this, and that the pieces were made by a Charlie Stewart, a wood turner of London Road, Wickford, in 1978.
The farm which is next to the church is, I believe, still farmed by Michael Thomason, whose grandmother was known to me as Auntie Tom Tom and who lived at Mill Hill Farm, which was at the top of Chalk Street, near to its junction with Warren road and Hoe Lane, Rettendon Common.