Things to do in Bradwell on Sea, Essex
With a population of 877 at the last count, it is a delightfully unspoilt place to visit.Roman times the community was recorded as Othona and it had a defensive sea fort that had 12-foot thick walls and a moat, but little has survived.
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.16th-century inn, The Green Man, which was once a smugglers inn.
Overlooking the Blackwater Estuary it has a pretty beer garden and an inglenook fireplace in the bar which offers a cosy welcome.
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.
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