Things to do in Bradwell on Sea, Essex
The Anglo-Saxons knew the area as Ithancester and it has also been called Bradwell-juxta-Mare and Bradwell-next-the-Sea in its long history.
In 653 AD Saint Cedd was sent by Pope Gregory to found a monastery and bring Christianity to Essex. The building has survived as the old chapel of St Peter-on-the-Wall and it is the oldest church in England.17th century it was being used by a farmer as a barn.
However in 1920 it was restored and reconsecrated although the chancel, apse and tower were long gone. Today St Peter's Chapel remains a place of pilgrimage and is always open.
In the 13th century Bradwell built a quay and from it wool was exported. Records from 1478 show a ship called the Christopher carried wool from Bradwell Quay to Calais.World War II, Bradwell Bay Airport was the home of RAF Bradwell Bay, a fighter base for 25 different squadrons. Today, visitors can see the old runways, control tower and a mosquito plane erected as a monument in memory of those who died in combat.
In more recent times, Bradwell-on-Sea hit the headlines as the site of the Bradwell nuclear power station. It was closed in 2002 and has since been decommissioned.
Present Day Bradwell-on-Sea
Bradwell-on-Sea is a pleasant village with odd houses from various centuries lining the main street. The village is not really "on sea"; it is about a mile from the Blackwater Estuary.
The Church of St Thomas was built in the 14th century to serve the village in place of St Peter's Church. The square tower was added in the 18th century. The village still has an old village jail with stocks and a pillory nearby.
Famous residents from Bradwell-on-Sea include the 16th century priest, Thomas Abel, Sir Henry Bate Dudley and journalist and MP Tom Driberg, also known as Baron Bradwell.
Things to do in Bradwell-on-Sea
The Blackwell Estuary offers excellent opportunities for watersports and the village has an excellent sailing club.
Take a walk along the track to the remote St Peter's Chapel or join in the annual Bradwell Pilgrimage in early July.
Inside, the chapel is very plain with a simple stone altar and a cross depicting Christ with St Cedd.