1883 – St. Thomas’s Church, Brentwood, Essex

Architect: Ernest C. Lee


Published in The Building News, July 25th 1879. On 14th February 1881 the local MP, Octavius Coope laid the foundation-stone in the west wall of the present church. Two years later the main part of the church had been completed, and it was consecrated on 26th April 1883 by the Bishop of St Albans. The architect Ernest Lee was also responsible for the design of St Paul’s Bentley, a nearby parish.

“The church as shown in this week’s issue is intended to replace the existing edifice erected some thirty years ago on the simplest principles of ecclesiastical design, which in its turn took the place of the chapel dedicated to St. Thomas of Canterbury, the only remaining portion of which is to be seen off the High-street in the mouldering fragments of a small 14th Century tower. The new church is intended to afford accommodation for some thousand worshippers. Its length internally will be 13Sft., width GOft , height to ceiling, which will be the same throughout, S5ft. The walls externally will be faced with flint, with Bath-stone dressings, internally the stonework will be red Dumfries. On the north side the existing chancel and choir aisles will be incorporated with the new work forming aisles to nave. It is proposed to erect only the east end in the first contract. Our view is taken from the south-west angle of the building, and a ground plan is given. Considerable skill has been shown in the way in which the existing divisions of the old chancel and aisles have been worked into the nave of the new building so as to pre- serve an equal division of parts for the clerestory windows and roof timbers on both sides of the church. On the south side the bays of the arcade are equally spaced, a clever niche-like feature between a [sort of double pier being arranged next against the pulpit, where the necessary difference between the two sides of the church, in the matter of spacing, is skilfully overcome in a natural and simple way. The architect is Mr. Ernest C. Lee, of 15, Bedford- row, W.C. “