The oldest in the world
This is the story of a return trip to Essex, the county in eastern England where I was born and grew up.
It was just Mum and I, her trusty little car and a sudden moment of inspiration from me. I remembered a slim guide book tucked away in a drawer about a small church somewhere in the middle of the county. This building laid claim to being the oldest wooden church in the world.
So we drove to Greensted, little more than a clutch of houses and the church, a small building with a boarded spire. We had the place to ourselves, a dark and hushed interior warmed by the light from exquisite stained glass windows. Its neat pews come with wooden entrance doors, and I spotted an intriguing peephole.
The solid timbers of the nave date back to the 11th century. They were shortened during a Victorian restoration, but seem impervious to the elements. Greensted Church may have had additions, restorations and upgrades down the years, but without its claim to fame, this is a real gem of a place.