About Great Wakering

(source: Wikipedia)

Great Wakering is a village in Essex, England. The nearest large town is Southend which is approximately four miles to the west of the village. Public transportation to the village is via bus service to Southend via Arriva and Stephensons, but the village is well served with several historical public houses, a primary school, a Co-Operative supermarket, post office, hairdressers and several small and characterful village shops. Great Wakering consists mainly of two roads, the High Street which runs from the junction of Star Lane, and New Road which begins outside St. Nicholas parish church and runs down to the bridges for Foulness Island.

According to a mediaeval tradition, Wakering (probably Great Wakering) was the site of a monastery during the seventh century AD. Two Christian cousins of King Ecgberht of Kent, named Aethelred and Aethelberht, were murdered at Eastry, a royal dwelling in the Kingdom of Kent, during King Ecgberht's reign (664-673). They were prevented by a miracle from being buried at Canterbury, and were taken instead to an existing monastery at Wakering in the Kingdom of Essex and enshrined there as saints. Ecgberht's brother and successor King Hlothhere of Kent is said by William of Malmesbury to have ridiculed the idea of their sanctity.

The village church dates back to Norman times and the board of rectors or vicars inside begins in the year 1200 with simply "Robert", the next incumbent equally simply named "Peter". The church is dedicated to St. Nicholas and dates back to the 12th Century. However there have been several areas of restoration. The Church exterior was used in filming an episode of Just Good Friends when the 2 main characters were married. As well as the well-maintained and popular parish church, you will also find a Methodist and an Evangelical (formerly Peculiar People) Church on Great Wakering High Street.

Great Wakering is a fascinating village steeped in history. It has many community links to the Ministry of Defence-governed Foulness Island. The village was badly hit during the 1953 floods and locals fear a re-occurrence of the devastation now that tidal levels are rising and flood defences eroding. Of interest is an old brickworks site (now demolished) at Star Lane which was once served by an industrial narrow-gauge railway, the remains of which can still be seen in the bushes if you look carefully. Brick-making was once the main industry in Wakering. The factory finally closed in 1991, but the four towers remained a focal point on the horizon until September, 2007, when the towers were finally torn down. Currently, the land remains barren.

Much of the land area around Great Wakering is closed off to the public as it forms part of a Ministry of Defence (MOD) firing range - the 'New Ranges'. When firing is not taking place however the MOD beach at Wakering Stairs can be accessed via a rough road at Landwick security check-in. You can also cross MOD land and walk across the Range from Cupid's Corner to follow a strange and very muddy track to the seawall which offers great views over the Maplin Sands. The MOD beach is very craggy and deserted, a great spot for watching Brent Geese and waders. You will find much military debris around the area such as old firing targets, train tracks, graffiti trains, a lookout tower and several ruined batteries. Plus it is here you can access the fabled tidal path 'The Broomway' and follow it at your peril to Fisherman's Head on Foulness Island.

The local football team Great Wakering Rovers play in the Isthmian League First Division North. Their home ground Burroughs Park is adjacent to the village recreation ground and sports centre.

Famous People

  • Leslie Stubbs - who played football for both Southend and Chelsea.
  • Alan Mccormack - Plays for Charlton Athletic