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by Reg Greenwold. 1998.      Edited by Joan Beard.

The Rev. Benjamin Ruck-Keene was at Copford as Rector of Easthorpe, Eight Ash Green, and Copford. He was a man of vigour, resource, and some influence. At about this time, a Mrs. Searle of Copford bought some old cottages on Copford Green known locally as Workhouse Row, and replaced them with six cottages named after her making the Rector and Churchwardens Trustees of the property.

In 1893 Rev. Ruck-Keene resigned and his eldest son Edmund was appointed to the living. Rev. Ruck-Keene Senior remained at the Rectory still helping in the Parish until his death in 1898. Both he and his son were keenly interested in the mission (as it was then called) at Eight Ash Green. Funds were collected to build a Church on  land belonging to Mrs. Searle, about 5 acres. The Church was completed with help from the locals. It was completed in 1899 and dedicated as a memorial to his life and work. Outside the Church is the foundation stone built into the wall on the East side "A pious memory of Phillip Wright Esq., and Rev. Benjamin Ruck-Keene 1898 Rest in Peace".church_front.jpg (59709 bytes)

Mrs. Searle later left monies for a Parsonage but after some years owing to a fault in the ground it was pulled down.

Rev. Tidmarsh, curate of Copford came to Eight Ash Green Church to celebrate the "Festival of Dedication of all Saints Church". 

The following dates and Reverends shown here gave Religious Instruction to the children of the village school:

8th March 1910, Rev. G. H. May. 18th October 1910 Rev. Johnson. 6th August 1911 saw Rev. Dunn with Rev. E. R. Ruck-Keene on 10th October.

A church hall was built during 1912. Before the extension was built to the Church, the main front doors faced west towards the school playground. The earth subsidence was still there and in time the area had to be shored up with timbers. Just inside the Church was a coal hole where the fuel was stored below in the cellar. A Mr. N. Tovell of Abbotts Hall Farm sold the coal and coke to the Church which was used for the heating.

Mr. Ben Cooper had charge of the boiler and later on Harry Scott. They kept the boiler going, the heat came up through the iron grilles (which are covered now with a carpet down the centre between the pews). About 1958 before he left school, Roy Honeyball would light and stoke the boiler.

There was a time when the Bell was in a small area outside in the Rector’s Vestry, Joe Firmin rang it in all weathers, as well as being the church organ blower.

Many Gifts have been made to the Church over the years in memory of past Parishioners as follows:

A Tablet is to be seen on the left over the choir stalls near the Altar, to Emily Margaret Searle 1827-1907 "Who gave this Church and land for the service of God"

The Panels in the Altar, the Dorsel Beam and Curtain were given in October 1956 by members of Eight Ash Green School children, parents and friends in remembrance of Elsie Adaline Martin for faithful service as devoted Headmistress and constant worshipper at this Church for 21 years from 1932-1953. church.jpg (70643 bytes)

The Pulpit is in memory of Mr. Gustavus Gurney Wright, lay reader at Eight Ash Green Church from 1932-1953. His sister Margery Wright 1897-1967 the organist, donated to the Church a Flower Stand "Lord I have loved the habitation of thy House and Place" which stands opposite the Pulpit.

The two flower vases on the Altar, dated 5th February 1892 in memoriam of M.M.A. from L.P. and A. M. Allen from Copford.

Bishop's and Rector's Wands "A grateful Memorial of Walter Care lay reader 1952-1964."

A Flower stand near the Choir Vestry is in memory of Mrs. Vera Cant 1897-1990.

A seat installed in the graveyard in Loving memory of Joseph and Richard Charnock.

A plaque just inside the Church entrance, to the right, explains that Sidney and Evelyn Honsha donated the new interior of the Font.

A Book of Remembrance Inaugurated and Dedicated on Jan 15th 1984 in Loving Memory of John Angus Jones 1914-1983 lay reader and Rev. Canon Hugh Barber MA, Rural Dean 1915-1982.

During the incumbence of Rev. T. S. Smith a complete set of Burses and Veils were donated for use in Holy Communion and were Dedicated on Sunday 20th February at 9.45am, 1983.  The set comprising Purple Advent and Lent, White for Christmas and Easter, Red for Pentecostal and Festivals of the Saints and Martyrs and Green for Trinity and part of Epiphany.  They were made by Thomas Pratt of London. Three sets were given one by the Ladies Fellowship and two by anonymous donors and an anonymous donation of 10 which has helped to defray the cost of the fourth.

One of the Choir stalls along the North Wall was dedicated on 30th September 1979 to the Glory of God and in grateful memory of Mary May Care.

The organ was restored in June 1964 "In praise of God and in grateful memory of Constance Tannahill" who, with her two sisters gave a lot of help and time to the Village and Church.

In front of the Church is a seat given in Loving Memory of Edith Lillian Wildman.

Choir stall book rest in loving memory of Joseph Firmin.  

Two book stands just inside the Church are in memory of Emily Ada Leggett 1891-1972.

The windows in the Church along the South side are plain glass, as the coloured glass was blown out during the last war, the result of a blast from a "doodle-bug" flying bomb 1945.

Copford was still the main Church and administered there until Ecclesiastical Boundaries were changed. Where before the River Colne was the boundary the Railway is now and we are included into Fordham Parish so that the incumbents up to that time from Copford were Rev. B. Ruck-Keene 1893-1924 Rev. Honiyel Rosedale DD 1924-1928, Rev. William J. House DD Canon 1928-1945, Rev. Hanson Haigh 1945-1957.

1949 Church Wardens: Mrs. V. Cant & Mr. E. B. Cooper after 11 years.

1957 The modifications of the Altar was completed 15th June. A new Bell had been  purchased and installed to replace the original which was rung from inside the vestry instead of outside in the cold and wet. The cost of the new bell was 79.13.6d.

1960 Mr. Care and Mr. Hedges. Rev. Buttle first incumbent Fordham and Eight Ash Green he took over the Rectory at Fordham and used to ride round the two parishes on his bike visiting the sick and infirm.

1962 Electricity was connected to the Church, and the gratings were covered with carpet between the  pews.

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All Saints Eight Ash Green was registered for Births, Christenings, but not until 1957 was the Church registered for  Marriages, and Funerals.  The Churchyard was opened for burials and a site for Cremations was opened within the Churchyard at a later date.

The Sanctuary floor (in front of the pews) was reformed.  One platform was removed and a new floor was installed together with a new Altar Service Book and Stand. These works were carried out by voluntary labour and materials that were contributed so generously. 139.00 had been collected in memory of Rev. Haigh and from this money Choir benches had been purchased, these were installed after the completion of works to the Sanctuary floor.

Mr. Bailey and Mr. Ben Cooper were re-elected as rural Decalogue (10 commandments) others who were involved at that time were V. Cant, V. Cant, (yes two of them) D. Cousins , M. Wright (organist), Mr. Bailey, W. Care, E. Cooper, W. Hedges, S. Henshall, L. King and G. Partridge.

An extension to this Church was built and dedicated by the Bishop of Colchester on February 5th 1972. Villagers were invited to buy a brick for 5 shillings (25p), the extension is where the new Choir Vestry and the font is. At the time of the building of this extension the Church Wardens were George Partridge and Ray Crane.

Just inside the Church is a large countryside picture of Eight Ash Green, made up and all put together by the then W.I, of Eight Ash Green.  It was shown at Olympia in March 1972. This picture had been awarded an Essex Gold Star under a competition called "This Green and Pleasant Land" during Conservation Year 1971.

We have always had a lovely Choir in this Parish, quite a lot of younger ones were included from the school which had moved from the top of Spring Lane to the Church Hall (or Jubilee Room and Searle room in 1926) adjacent to the Church.

November 1971 saw the British Legion Remembrance Service and the Dedication of the War Memorial Tablet presented by members of the British Legion in commemoration of 50th anniversary of the Legion's Copford and District branch.  There was a congregation of 120 and the Service was taken by Rev. F. H. Barber and Lesson and Exhortation read by General J. B. Churcher. Wreaths laid by Gen. J. B. Churcher and Mrs. Elcombe, County Standard Bearer Women's Branch, Mrs. Reeve (Col 10.31).

When Rev. Barber first came to the village he resided in Brick for a while as he wanted a Rectory in Eight Ash Green, after a time a Rectory was built in Wood Lane. Later Rev. Barber was elevated to Canon Barber in the Diocese of Dedham of which we are a part and Honorary Dean to the Bishop of Chelmsford. He retired in August 1981 moving to Gt. Tey. Unfortunately he died 10 months after. Rev. Tony Smith took over the living.

We had a Jub Club (named from the Jubilee rooms) in place of a Sunday School after the children left for their newly built school at Fiddlers Folly in 1976.

This is a list of the Rectors after we broke away from Copford and joined Fordham:

1957 Rev Buttle (5 years) 1962 Rev Canon H. Barber (18 years) Rev. T. Smith 1980 (11 years) 1991 Interregnum – I had been Vice Chairman for some time so that I took the meetings of the P.C.C. until 1994 when Rev. M. Melville came. I represented the Church as foundation Governor on the School Committee. Rev. Smith and his wife started the Jub Club Sunday School with all the helpers in the Jubilee room. That finished quite a few years ago. The Ladies Fellowship, which Hugh Barber started at the Rectory for the two Churches, moved to our home for the next five years and have now moved on to the Chapel. Sadly we have no Choir now. The last Church Warden of Eight Ash Green was Jane Brown.

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Last updated:  28 October 2001 17:56:04