The oldest wooden church in the world, Greensted Church, is only a few miles down the road from me. The first permanent church at Greensted was built around year 654, but the current church is a bit older. Carbon dating suggests the wood is from either mid 9th or mid 11th century – so between 1,000 and 1,200 years ago. I guess that puts another meaning to “built to last”.
Unbeknown to me, the Right Honourable and Right Reverend Bishop of London, Richard Chartres was visiting the church today. So the picture above is of the holy man with the Church Warden of Greensted Church.
An interesting detail is a small aperture cut in the wood on the Western wall (towards the bottom of the seventh stave). It is known as a Lepers’ Squint, and is believed to have been made so that lepers (who were not allowed into the church) could listen in on ceremonies and receive a blessing from the priest.