Forncett End – St. Edmund’s Church

There are two medieval churches nearby, but this chapel at ease was built in 1904 to serve the growing residential community in Forncett End.

The church had just been built when this map was produced, showing the growth of housing in this area.

The foundation stone of the church was laid on St. Peter’s Day, 29 June 1904. Media reports at the time noted that the residents had needed to walk two miles each way to get to either Forncett St Peter’s Church or Forncett St Mary’s Church, so a new building had been desired for some time. It was only though when the livings of these two churches were merged that the finances allowed for the construction of this new building.

All very Victorian/Edwardian in design, the project was expected to cost £700 in total, which was raised by subscription, fetes, concerts and numerous bazaars. The new church was designed to seat 110 people, with red brick used in the construction and Cossey brick windows. The work was undertaken by Messrs James & Chellis Humphreys, following plans drawn up by Arthur J Lacey, the Diocesan Surveyor.

All of the money to construct the church hadn’t been received by the time the building got underway, so it was decided to construct the nave and porch in the first wave, with the second wave adding the chancel. As can be seen, the chancel never got built and the church now has to repair and replace this wooden end from time to time.

This church was perhaps fortunate to have been built when it was, as the religious fervour of the nineteenth century was starting to fade away. In the decades that followed the great medieval church of Forncett St. Mary became derelict, and only recently has it been saved for the future. Instead of being a chapel at ease for the bigger churches, this is now a convenient size to hold services in, likely quite a cosy atmosphere. It never got its chancel, and I don’t suppose ever will, but at least it remains in use by the local community.