Geology Site Account
St. Nicholas Church, Little Wigborough, LITTLE WIGBOROUGH , Colchester District, TL98091453, Historical site only
Site name: St. Nicholas Church, Little Wigborough
Grid reference: TL 9809 1453
Brief description of site:
Church of historical interest due to the damage that occurred in the Essex earthquake of 1884.
This delightful 15th century church was badly damaged in the Essex earthquake of 1884. Although over 1,200 buildings in east Essex suffered badly, it is one of the few that was photographed at the time and can still be recognised today.
Inside the building a brass plaque on the wall of the tower commemorates this event and the rebuilding of the church in 1886. There are other references to the earthquake elsewhere in the church and in the church records.
Ironically, having survived the earthquake the church is currently suffering from severe subsidence that is related to shrinkage of the London Clay beneath the foundations.
The materials used in the construction of the church are of interest. The nave is of stone rubble faced with Kentish Ragstone but the upper part of the tower (rebuilt after the earthquake) is of local septarian nodules from the London Clay - no doubt gathered locally from the foreshore.
To the south along Salcott Channel (a tributary of the River Blackwater) are saltings which show geologically recent sediments being laid down, potentially to be turned into rocks in the distant future. The building is entirely surrounded by National Trust land known as Copt Hall Marshes.
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