St Mary Magdalen Church, Magdalen Laver

Approximately seven miles northeast of Epping, it is approached from a small country lane by a long tree-lined chase. Prior to the Second World War, the only access was via footpaths!

As you enter the 14th century door into the church, you are pleasantly surprised by an impression of spaciousness and light. Parts of this ancient church were built early in the 12th century. The wooden tower, which dates back to the 16th century, houses two lovely, ancient bells - one from the early 14th century and inscribed to the honour of St John. The other bell is dated 1567 - perhaps the actual date of the building of the tower. Sadly the bells were not in use as major overhauling and strengthening of the tower was necessary. However, in December 2002, with local support and funding, work was carried out and two modern bells were installed to sound alongside the two ancient bells. The famous Whitechapel Foundry in London carried out the work. Over the period of years, great efforts have been made to restore the bells and install new heating systems and generally improve the fabric of the church. 

The large board on the north wall of the choir depicting the Creed, the Lord's Prayer and the Ten Commandments is probably 200 years old and used to hang behind the altar as a Reredos. William Webb Ellis (1807-1872), who during his schooldays at Rugby School is credited with having invented the  'modern' game of Rugby, spent some years as Rector of Magdalen Laver and, whilst there, raised the funds to establish a school in the village (which closed in 1960). In 2003, the year of the Rugby world cup, representatives of the triumphant England team brought the Webb Ellis world cup trophy to the church and have since generously funded the sound system in the church. The church records, dating back to 1567, are held by the Essex Records Office, Chelmsford.