November 8 – Geocaching up through Essex

To Stanstead Airport

Hello from 1066 – A Medieval Mosaic

We had offered to go to Stanstead airport to pick up Lynn when she returned from Greece. Her flight was due in at 5.45 pm so the plan was to geocache all the way from Rayleigh to Stanstead. I had a great list of church micros but after doing all the cleaning and several more loads of washing we didn’t actually get away until 2 pm. Not a problem.

Our first stop was at the very next village of Rawreth. We have passed through here a few times but we have never stopped before. The church was open and it had a lovely reredos. There was a monumental brass on the wall and some great stained glass windows. St Nicholas’s church is medieval in design but only the tower is from that era as most of the church was built in Victorian times. The original church was built in 1450 but was replaced in 1823.

Next, we went to All Saints church in Rettendon which was not open but it had a nice geocache where you have to find and sit with Jim Mayhew. It was a geocache behind a seat with Jim’s name on it. St Peter’s in South Hanningfield was also closed but we quickly found the geocache. Then we went on to St Mary and St Edward church at West Hanningfield. The timber tower was built in the 13th century and the nave is Norman. The church had a lovely knitted poppy display for Remembrance Day some in red and some in white. We looked for quite a while for the geocache but had to give up in the end. When I was logging the find later I realised that it hadn’t be found since September 2017 and the CO really needs to check the cache as it now has five DNFs.

It looks like the United Reformed church in Howe Green will not be a church for much longer as it is up for sale as a residential place. The cache was easily found in a car park over the road.

Next, we headed to St Andrew’s church in Sandon. Sandon church dates back to about 1080 with the nave and, later, the chancel. The north aisle was added in about1350. Then, in 1520, the tower and porch were added by Cardinal Wolsey, Lord of the Manor of Sandon Hall. These were built at the same time as Hampton Court and by the same architect, Giralamo de Trevise.  St Andrews has a lovely reredos with two statues, a great East window and a large funerary hatchment. There are some wonderful stations of the cross that look like they could be Peter Eugene Ball’s work but I could not find any record of any truth in this. It was just my impression. An easy find and a quick multi.

It was getting pretty late in the day by now and we took a few wrong turns going around Chelmsford until we ended up on the west side of it at Writtle.  All Saint’s church stands on the site of a Saxon church and part of the church is Norman. The village itself goes back to Roman times. The church was closed and despite this cache being a traditional we were completely unable to find the cache.

Our next church micro was at Mashbury and to get there our GPS took us across a farm which doesn’t look at all right but there was plenty of other traffic using the road so we kept going. Just as we got to the church we came across an automatic gate that didn’t seem keen to open. Luckily two cars came up behind us and the arm went up and so one of them must have activated the arm. We made a quick find in the near dark because by now it was 5 pm. The little church was closed and we discovered that there was a different way of finding the village which was not across the farm.

But there was time for one more cache, surely, so we went to Pleshey church. It was after dark when we arrived at Holy Trinity but the lights were on in the church so we went in to have a look. A gentleman was there ready to close the church for the night but he was happy to show us around. A lovely man who was generous with his time. There was a lovely embroidery depicting the 800 years from 1215 the Magna Carta to 2015 with Geoffrey de Mandeville in the centre. His ancestors came over with William the Conqueror. In the sanctuary was a large wall monument for Samuel Tufnell and a stone reredos. We were now officially night caching as it was very dark and we had to use the torch but the hint was excellent and we found the cache easily.

We then drove on to the Stanstead Airport to pick up Lynn. Her flight was due in at 5.45 and we arrived there spot on time and she texted me to say they had landed. We drove around looking for the short stay car park which was over £4 for 30 mins so we drove back to the drop-off and pick-up area where you are only supposed to wait for 10 mins. Lyn took much longer to come out but finally, she did and it still cost up £3.50 to get out of there. Talk about making money all hands up. Just as we headed out of the car park my cell phone closed down as it had run out of power and my power pack is not working so I used Lynn’s to guide us home which was a bit of a challenge as all the instructions were in miles and in a man’s voice. Ours is set for kilometres and in a ladies voice.

None of us had had dinner but Lynn suggested Wetherspoon’s in Rayleigh as Thursday night is curry night. She is vegan but they serve vegan curries. We had a nice meal, served quickly and efficiently except for the guy wiping the table down who did not have anywhere to put the rice so wiped it onto the floor right in front of Michael. LOL. Billie, the cat, was a bit unsure about Lynn’s return and spend the night on our bed as usual. I am sure he will come right again. We are going to miss him a lot. He is a lovely boy.