A Brief History of St Andrew's Church
It was the Saxons who gave the town its name: ‘Hael’ meaning healthy or well, and ‘stead’ meaning place. The name was undoubtedly due in no small part to the fast stream of refreshing water they found here.
Anglo-Saxon tradition was passed on orally rather than in writing so very little is known about the first millennium. Most of the parish was held by the Anglo-Saxon Godwin, Earl of Kent but, with the Norman invasion we see some changes. Halstead increases in size enough to be recorded in the Doomsday Book (1086) and the land comes under the control of Norman lords and knights.
There is documentary evidence of a church having been on the site of St.Andrew’s in the reign of King John (1199 -1216). In 1251 a Royal Charter was granted for a weekly market near to the church and Halstead’s growth was confirmed. In 1311 the Bouchier family became the most influential local lords and began a dynasty that was to have influence locally and nationally into the 16th Century. The Bouchier chapel in St.Andrew’s can be seen during the ‘virtual walk’ around the church.
The greater part of the church - the nave, north and south aisles and the chancel, dates from the early years of the 14th Century. In the 15th Century there were the minor additions of the north vestry, and north and south porches. The physical look of the church then remained largely unaltered until 1850 when the west end was extended and the dominant tower was added.
The early history of the life of the church community and of the town are best recorded in Holman’s Halstead, Being Historical Notes Arranged by William Holman, "Pastor of the Church of Protestant Dissenters" in Halstead, Essex, 1700-1730 A.D. For more recent details please contact Halstead Town Council.
The building is a Grade 1 listed building and the cost of maintaining it in its splendid condition is a major financial consideration. 'The Friends of St.Andrew’s' exists to help raise funds and co-ordinate work on the church building, not to support its ministry, any revenue generated by this site goes directly to the Friends. If you would like to help us in this work, for us and for future generations, please contact the Friends.