Historical Local Landmarks
Views of our local church St Mary the Virgin Hawkwell, in Rectory Road Hawkwell. .The early history of St. Mary-the-Virgin Parish Church is obscure. Philip Benton estimates that the date of the building is about 1400 but others think it much older, probably about 1300. The first name on the List of Rectors is William de Bayeuse but it is undated, the first date on the list is 1323 against the name of Alexander de Bayeuse. If William was the first Rector, the Church has had fifty two Rectors to date. The little wooden belfry (as it is called in ancient records) had three bells, as recorded in 1757, but in 1768 there were two and in 1849 can be read ‘ther remanythe at thys p’sent tyme in the churche of Hawkwell ... one bell in the stepyll’. In an inventory of church goods taken in the reign of Edward VI it is recorded that Sir William Stafford forcibly carried off the bells of Rochford, Ashingdon, South Shoebury, Hawkwell and Foulness, and sold them for his own benefit. In 1884 the Rev. James Montagu recorded that swarms of bees had taken up residence on either side of the Church Porch for many years and had frequently stung several of the congregation. Several of the weather boards were taken out and the bees destroyed and it was decided to rebuild the porch. A concert was given at Rochford and the proceeds amounted to Nine Guineas, contributions were Twenty six pounds and the balance of Thirty six pounds was paid by the Rector. This same Rector left the Church a carved Pulpit, Prayer Desk and Font Cover, all his own work. An event still remembered by many Hawkwell people was a bombing incident in the early hours of Sunday, 15th September, 1940, when considerable damage was done to the roof, windows and ceiling and also the tower. It was at the time of the Harvest Thanksgiving Festival and the services had to be carried on in the churchyard. In the 1990’s the church was extended to twice its original size, the work has been carried out very professionally and looks most attractive inside and out and has been much admired. It was re-opened in July, 1996.