The Church has been on this site since 1563 and it needs constant care and attention to ensure that the fabric and the churchyard remain in a sound condition, to be enjoyed by future generations.
Members of the Friends of St Michael’s, founded in 2005, come from diverse religious backgrounds (including practicing atheists) but are united by the desire to ensure that this historical treasure survives for at least the next 450 years! The Friends raise funds and provide skills, expertise and ‘people-power’ to maintain the fabric of the Church and its grounds. The building and grounds are of significant historical interest and value, and their presence adds much to the character of our beautiful village.
We invite you to join our growing band and help this worthy cause by clicking and downloading the membership application form. You will need Adobe Actobat reader on your computer, which is free from www.adobe.com
Woodham Walter C of E Primary School has about 90 pupils on the roll; some being brought in by parents from outside the village keen to provide a small school environment, but with outstanding teaching, for their child’s education. Other village children attend schools in Danbury or Maldon. The pre-school children are served by Tadpoles Nursery using the Woodham Walter Women’s Club Room in Top Road. Secondary age children attend schools in Maldon, Sandon, Ingatestone or Chelmsford.
The village has just acquired ownership of Bell Meadow, which lies opposite the church, as a public space for use by the community. The village is served by three public houses, The Bell and The Queen Victoria in the village centre and The Cats a little way out of the centre. There is a village hall with good facilities. There are a number of organisations in the village – a Parish Council, a PTA, a Village Hall Committee, a unique Women’s Club and a newly-formed Friends of St Michael’s; because they all work so well together, a strong sense of community has been forged.
Housing in the village varies from Alms Houses, Housing Association properties and private dwellings. There are four closes of houses, but no large estates. There are a few larger houses standing in their own grounds, mostly outside the village centre.
‘Friends’ activities that have been completed to date
- Replacement of the entrance gate to the Church grounds. This was a fitting symbolic start as an improvement that was badly needed. The replacement of the gate is a great example of the way in which the Friends work. A member of the Friends drew up the plans. Membership fees and generous donations were used to fund a local carpenter who manufactured the gate and posts. Members of the Friends worked together to remove the old gate and posts and install the new ones. Thus avoiding the substantial costs of a building contractor to carry out this work.
- The clearance of ivy, brambles and other weeds from the base of the church walls on the south and east facing aspects to allow decaying brickwork to be replaced. Back filling the area with a plant proof membrane and a gravel soak-away to alleviate some of the damp problems that have been affecting the base of the church walls and the interior.
- We have designed, built and installed a ladder that provides access to the belfry from the clock chamber.
- We have cleaned the wooden fence that runs alongside the road and treated it with a preservative as well as refurbishing the hooped fencing to the north boundary and refurbishing and fixing the Victorian grave markers.
- The notice boards at the front of the Church grounds and by the Church door have been replaced.
- Significant financial contribution has been made towards the construction costs associated with the South elevation extension.
- Significant financial contribution has been made towards the redecoration of the building interior.
Activities for future actions:
- The Friends have agreed to underwrite the refurbishment of and the extension to the Memorial Wall in the south west corner of the churchyard.
- The joint between the roof and the southern wall of the Church requires re-pointing.
- The clock tower and belfry need cleaning.
- The metal fittings, associated with the mounting of the bells, need anti-corrosion treatment. Some of these fittings are believed to have come from the original church, before it was moved to its current position, and thus are probably about 600 years old!