About Us

A very warm welcome to the church whose congregation has, since it was established in 1884, worshipped in two schools and three churches.

Our Aim as a Church


Belief in God as Father, Son and Holy Spirit is at the heart of our faith. Christians believe that Jesus is God’s Son. Jesus reveals to us that God is our Father, and that God is available to us through the Holy Spirit.
You won’t ever be asked if you completely understand all this. But you are asked whether you believe and trust. This is called faith. It is a different sort of knowledge. It is the knowledge of being known and loved, and of loving in return.

The Christian faith is not a human invention. There are signs of God’s existence and handiwork in creation for anyone to read (Acts 14.15–17). But we believe in the way we do because God has come to seek us out and has made himself known to us.


When someone becomes a follower of Jesus they are baptized. (Or, if they have already been baptized, they will confirm for themselves the promises made at their baptism.) During this service a series of questions will be asked – in most respects the questions asked today are the same as those new Christians were asked in the earliest days of the Church.

Brothers and sisters, I ask you to profess together the faith of the Church.

  • Do you believe and trust in God the Father?
  • Do you believe and trust in his Son Jesus Christ?
  • Do you believe and trust in the Holy Spirit?

Everyone answers with either a simple ‘I believe and trust in him’, or by reciting the three parts of the Apostles’ Creed, one of the most ancient summaries of the Christian faith.

Being a Christian means responding to Jesus' invitation to enjoy a relationship with God here on earth and for eternity.


The colours of the web site reflect the traditional historic colours of All Saints.
Blue signifying Divine Contemplation, Red, emblematic of the Passion of Our Lord and also the emblem of Martyrdom.
Gold was added, the emblem of Brightness and Glory.


Living out our faith

Christians believe that love is at the heart of God’s will for our lives – love for God and love for others.

Loving God and loving neighbour belong together, and the best, most fruitful life is lived in loving communion with God our Creator, as well as with our fellow human beings.

See how other Christians are serving and living out their faith in these videos.
See videos here.

Our Team and their reponsiblities

Our vicar, Rev. Chris Wragg, has recently retired. Our Area Dean, the Rev. Ken Wylie is our temporary Priest in Charge.

Laurie Cowie
Laurie Cowie - Church Warden, Deanery Synod Representative and PCC Member


Bob Wickington
Bob Wickington - PCC Member and the Church Treasurer.

Richard Benson
Richard Benson - Authorised Lay Preacher.

Helen Pugh
Helen Pugh - PCC Secretary, Deanery Synod Representative and Safeguarding Officer.


Andrew Maxey
Andrew Maxey - PCC Member and the Electoral Roll Officer.

Kate Higgs
Kate Higgs - Children’s Leader and Deputy Safeguarding Officer

Ann Cowie
Ann Cowie - Assistant Children’s Leader.

"They say we are a congregation that has worshipped in two schools and three churches"

Let us travel back in time to the 5th August 1884 and visit the little hamlet of Squirrels Heath. A picturesque Essex village with a population of 300.
It is situated in the midst of richly wooed parkland and verdant meadows just over a mile to the east of Romford Market.
The village was certainly starting to look up, for today their own church (well really a daughter church of St Edward's) called All Saints Chapel, was being dedicated by the Bishop of Colchester. The chapel consists of chancel, nave and a bell cot containing one bell, and was dedicated Aug. 5th, 1884, by the Lord Bishop of Colchester: a vestry and parish room were to be added in 1892.
5th August 1884
All Saints Chapel 1884
For some time, to save the villagers the long walk to St Edward's church in the market place, three or four laymen from St Edward's had been leading services on Sunday evenings in the Schoolroom, in Factory Road (now Elvet Avenue). This was not really like a church and looked as if it had been made by knocking two cottages together (which it had).
These services had so increased in popularity that the school room was no longer adequate and the vicar of St Edward's, the Rev Canon Hitchcock, decided that Squirrels Heath should have its own building.
The entire cost of the structure, including the conveyance of the land, drainage, etc, was £370. Many gifts were given towards the furnishings of the chapel which was completely fitted out, at a cost of £125, The building, of wood on a foundation of brickwork, was designed by Mr R N Speir of Perthshire. It consisted of a nave and chancel, and accommodated 150 people, the dimensions of the nave being 50 feet by 23 feet and the chancel 16 feet square.
5th August 1884
a service of an unusually bright and hearty nature
11th May 1892 report
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The new building had just been erected on a site generously given by Mr Alfred Savill (on the corner of Squirrels Heath Lane and Upper Brentwood Road, where Squirrels Court now stands.)
It was entered at the west end through a porch on either side of which, curtained off from the nave, was a small vestry. The high pitched roof was covered with tiles and internally the walls were plastered down to the dado. The building was lit by gas and warmed by Partway's tortoise slow—combustion stove. There were oak benches in the chancel and chairs in the nave, an oak lectern which also served as a pulpit and a stone font.
The new chapel was a daughter church of St Edward's and the Sunday evening services were held now in the new chapel with a monthly morning Holy Communion Service. The old school room being retained and used as a church hall.
On 11th May 1892, a vestry room on the north side of the chapel was dedicated, and "a service of an unusually bright and hearty nature" was held. This marked the first of several additions to All Saints.
11th May 1892
With the growth of the Railway and easy travel to London from Squirrels Heath and Gidea Park Station (opened in 1910) the population of the area grew rapidly, and it was soon realised that All Saints Chapel, built to accommodate 150 people was totally inadequate to meet the needs of an area with a population of over 3,000.

In the Autumn: of 1912, under the direction of the vicar and church wardens of St Edwards, a building committee was formed to carry out the enlargement of the present fabric upon permanent lines. The committee determined not to proceed with the enlargement until at least £500 was subscribed or fully guaranteed. (a considerable sum in those days). This amount was realised on Easter Day 1914.
This scheme, the addition of two aisles to the present nave, increased the accommodation to 300, thus doubling the size of the building. The Rev GAT Bell was then vicar of St Edward's and he appointed the Rev HE Curtis to be the first priest in charge of Squirrels Heath.
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1912 - 1914
In 1923, the Rev Richard Knight, MA, was appointed priest in charge, and by his devotion to duty, charm of manner and readiness to help, soon endeared himself to everyone. To him, more than anyone else, we owe the formation of All Saints' district into a separate parish.
In July 1926, the Rev M Peters MA, a Cornishman — the first candidate ordained by the first Bishop of Chelmsford, Dr Watts-Ditchfield — after serving curacies in Leytonstone, Walthamstow and Southend, was appointed the first vicar of All Saints' Squirrels Heath.
One of his first duties was to commence the building of a new parochial hall, and operations in connection with this were commenced in January 1927.

The exterior dimensions were:— length 75 feet, width 30 feet, height 10 feet to the eaves and 25 feet to the apex of the roof. The structure was of steel framing encased in brickwork, and comprised a hall to seat roughly 250 people, exclusive of the platform. There was a small kitchen and artists' room as well as two sets of cloakrooms and toilets at the entrance. The whole was lit by electricity. The entire cost of the building, land and furniture was £1.680.
1923 - 1928
… it was the generosity of those good friends who were prepared to build the hall without profit, which made it possible…
Archdeacon Bayne
The hall was opened on 19th_May 1927, and the first function was a sale of work held the same afternoon.
During the proceedings, the vicar called upon Archdeacon Bayne to open the sale and at the same time dedicate the parochial, hall.
In an opening statement, the vicar outlined the history of the hall, saying that_ he had: been told as soon as he came to the parish that a hall was needed. Then, he showed how step by step progress was made, beginning with the idea and plans for a wooden building and then proceeding, through the kindness of Messrs Bailey and Goates - who sent in low estimates - to the present spacious and substantial brick hall.
It was no exaggeration to say that it was the generosity of those good friends who were prepared to build the hall without profit, which made it possible to consider the erection of a brick building.
Another surprise awaited, for Mr JJ Crowe, who had been asked to design the hall and had supervised the building, told the vicar that he wished to make a present of his fee to the parish. There was therefore a saving of hundreds of pounds on the building and nearly £100 on architects' fees.
The old schoolroom in Factory Road, where All Saints had started and had been a church school connected with St Edward's Romford, to serve the little hamlet until the building of Squirrels Heath School in Salisbury Road, had been kept on by the church until November 1928.

1927 - 1928
In September 1927, the Rev M Peters received a generous gift from a lady and gentleman who wished to remain anonymous, with which to start a building fund for yet another hail on a site in Gidea Park.
This was to become the Mission Hall of St Michael, Gidea Park, a daughter church of All Saints'. It was dedicated on 6th October 1928. St Michael's was built at a cost of £1,455, while another £1,000 was paid for the land and £965 on furnishing and equipment.
In 1929 the Rev BE Payne came to All Saints as Vicar. During his time the MU (Mother's Union) branch was started, and many who previously had had to go to St Edward's for their meetings were able to transfer to All 'Saints.
The Rev J Elvin came from All Saints Forest Gate as a curate and was appointed the first vicar of St Michael's when the new parish of St Michael and All Angels was constituted on 8th August 1933, while the new hall of St Michael's was being built for £2,900, and was dedicated on 7th October — on the same day as the stone laying by the Bishop of Barking of the new Chancel of All Saints.
The dedication of All Saints' extension took place on 16th December by the Lord Bishop of Chelmsford. The Bishop expressed the greatest surprise and delight at what had been accomplished and was amazed that so much had been done for the money. Mr JJ Crowe the architect and the builders, Messrs Pitchers Ltd were heartily congratulated.

(This is now St Michael & All Angels Church on Main Road, Gidea Park.)
1927 - 1933
He provided us with a parable. Nothing is really hopeless in life, it can be transformed into something dignified, beautiful and worthy of the Master's use
Lord Bishop of Chelmsford
A description of this building reads - "What to do with the old All Saints had always been a problem and many suggested that it was no use trying to alter the present building, the only thing was to pull it down.
"But they were not counting on the vision of Mr Crowe who accomplished the impossible. He provided us with a parable. Nothing is really hopeless in life, it can be transformed into something dignified, beautiful and worthy of the Master's use. "The estimated cost of the work was £2,271, of which the Bishop's appeal fund granted £1,000. The external aspect on the north side o± building did not look much like a church. It is certain that the council when passing the plans must have been unable to visualise the temporary new organ chamber or they would not have decided on the original plans for the permanent chamber.
"As it was the chamber and. the chimney of the heating apparatus suggested a factory. If the new nave had been built, the chimney could have been, concealed in the wall. However evergreen trees were planted in, front of the heating chamber so that the land between the church and the hall was turned into a shrubbery. The northerly aspect was not so great a strain on the eye."

So that is the All Saints' church of the 1930s, there were no less than three Badminton Clubs, a very good Dramatic Society, a flourishing Young People's Fellowship. Dances were held in the Church Hell every month to which Churchwardens and councilors and their wives all came and made a real social meeting place for the whole of the Family of All Saints.

The church building was much loved by its worshippers, as they had worked hard to get a church at all. It was full to overflowing especially for festivals. The structure itself was rather a mixture, the central aisle was the original 1884 structure, with the 1892 vestry and the wooden 1914 side aisles. In addition there was the new brick build chancel of 1933 for which the parish had borrowed a large sum of money.
The plan was to replace the wooden structure in brick like the chancel.

But in May 1941, the parish's difficulties increased, and the following is the Vicar, the Rev FM Gravatt's description -

"At 12.45 an on May 11th 1941, a large parachute mine was dropped between All Saints' Parish Church and the church hall, with disastrous effects, both being completely destroyed. "The east end of the church was set ablaze and the force of the explosion finished the building entirely. Property adjoining, together with the Squirrel's Head & the Post Office, were also damaged. The New Inn also received its full share. The vicarage was damaged too.

"When I arrived early on the scene, I was appalled at the destruction. My first thought was to arrange for the usual services, except for the 8an Holy Communion as all the vessels were underneath the wreckage. "So I sent at once to our good friend Mr Hartley of the Royal Liberty School and without any hesitation he put the assembly hall at our disposal, end all was ready for the 11am - without, of course, the usual church appearance, but that did not matter. The services were heartily rendered and attended, especially at 6.30pm by excellent numbers of worshippers.
A wedding had to be transferred to St Michael's and a baptism in to the home of the infant.

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"The Rev DC Evans got the salvage men on the job working after church and was able to get all the silver from underneath the vestry rubble, while during the morning the Boys' Brigade helped to rescue a fair amount of stuff, and our good friend Mr Wright, of Ardleigh Green Road, kindly brought it to the vicarage.
"As early as 9am messages of sympathy and offers of help came from all the incumbents and ministers of the town, one especially from Mr T England who gave us, if needed, the use of a large hall at Gallows Corner, and Mr R Course, of the Methodist Church, also put rooms at the disposal of our social life, which we were pleased to accept.
"The Bishop of Chelmsford sent a letter, too, deeply regretting the news he had received, while the Bishop of Barking expressed his sadness to me on the phone.
May 1941
Letters in similar strains came from organisations, both social and religious, from Romford and Hornchurch, and I am happy to say that I've been able to reply to every one of them. "It was indeed a blessing the bomb fell where it did for otherwise the loss of life may have been heavy. It is wonderful that so few injuries and those not too bad, was, all the human hurt that accrued."
So All Saints settled down to a very difficult time. For the next ten years, services were held in the Royal Liberty School Hall, meetings at the Methodist Church, Vicarage or members' homes, and Socials in Salisbury Road School. Although occasionally services were held on the old site. Money was still owed on the 1933 chancel, and more money would be required for a new church.
Many fund raising events were undertaken, and one such was an Old English Fair in June 1951 which included a Stage Coach procession from the site to Salisbury Road School with the Lord Lieutenant of Essex in attendance.
In 1951 a temporary church was built on the site of the old one. It was made of brick and corrugated asbestos and there are photographs of it soon after its dedication on 26th February 1951. As you can see, it was somewhat unique in appearance outside, but the inside was very pleasant. So the congregation of All Saints at last had its own church to be a centre for its worship, and a base to work from after the difficult years of services and meetings being held in many different places.
February 1951
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February 1951
But shortly after Brian Mahood had been inducted in 1953 he was told that plans were well under way by the Diocesan authorities to change completely not only the parish boundaries, but also the site of the church itself, as there was the new County Park housing estate to be covered, and All Saints' and St Michael's were far too close together. Many local objections were raised in particular to the siting of the new church in Ardleigh Green Road — completely outside the old parish — and in what was the parish of St Andrew's Hornchurch. But it was made very plain by the authorities that if All Saints wanted financial help for the new permanent building then none would be forthcoming unless they agreed to the move.
So the parish boundaries were completely redrawn with nearly half the parish going to St Michael's and St Alban's and a large area being taken from St Andrew's.
Again fund raising started in earnest, with some members becoming interior decorators, and others using more traditional means for raising the necessary funds.
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One of our older members wrote to me after seeing my early notes for this book. "Even Hitler could not damp the ardour of All Saints people, for the Royal Liberty School Hall was always full, and when the prefab was built, it was always full and the Rev H G Tindall when he came did much to keep the parish together. His wife doing much towards Women's work in the parish. All Saints' church was very much loved and the transepts would be filled with young People at every Sunday evensong, right up to the time when we had to say Good-bye to that little church which had been 'home' to so many of us over so many years. "The greatest injury inflicted on the people of All Saints has been moving us to Ardleigh Green. We had struggled and won through many hard times but for many it was the last straw, and although the Revd Brian Mahood worked so-hard and we supported him as much as we could, we had lost the mainstay and it has been very much an uphill job."

But nevertheless, the work of All Saints continues. The new brick built church was dedicated on 7th December 1957, seats 268 people, has good sight lines and an acoustic that is kind to speech and music. The Organ has its own chamber on the north of the choir and a detached two manual console on the south. At the west of the church is a stone font. Behind the Altar are two vestries, and a hall was added in 1961. The silver jubilee of the present building is being celebrated in 1982, and we look forward to the centenary in 1984.

This History of All Saints Squirrels Heath is taken from that compiled by John Winn. The original is sub-titled " The Story of a congregation who have worshipped in two schools and three churches"

circa 1980
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circa 1980s


Church Warden - Laurie Cowie
lauriecowie00@gmail.com 07835981728

Squirrels Heath, All Saints (Ardleigh Green)
Ardleigh Green Rd, Hornchurch Essex. UK RM11 2LU

Sunday Services:

Sunday Family Communion service isl held at 10.30am. We hold separate Children's Groups during most Services.

Squirrels Heath All Saints Church © 2020