Progress Reports

APRIL 2022

This will be the last update on this page.
From the first concrete pouring in February 2021 to the installation of the Dodds window, we have told the story of the coming into being of the Annexe and the realisation of a transformed nave.

With this magnificent picture, the story is now complete.

March 2022

As many people will know, the Annexe has been in use since its official opening by the bishop of Colchester on 26 September.
There is one piece of the whole still missing and that is the Dodds window.

Andy and Pascale finished the glass work and the panels are now in Wivenhoe awaiting installation, which we hope will be soon.


Two more pictures of work in progress on the Dodds window for the Annexe.

August 2021 (2)

The glass box that will provide light inside the Annexe while also allowing light to fall into the nave of the church has now been installed. It was an imaginative solution to a tricky problem: how to avoid losing light through the church’s south windows.
Perhaps not easy to get a full appreciation from the photos but it will be clear that the view from inside the Annexe is extraordinary!

August 2021

The works in the nave are now complete, with only some snagging to finish off bits and pieces.
The Annexe is nearing completion too. There was a Brexit/Covid-19 induced delay in the delivery of some of the glass and hardwood building materials but it looks fabulous already and we’re looking forward to completion this month.
Once the heavy materials have all been delivered, work on the Carolin Garden can begin and the picture of the South entrance gives an idea of the sight that will eventually greet people entering from East Street.

The picture of the Dodds window is available as a A5 size tent card with blank inside, with envelope. (Note: the above is a cropped photo. The card shows the full image)
It has been produced as part of the fundraising for the manufacturing and installation of the window, which will take place in a few months.
These unique greeting cards are available in the church on a Sunday morning, or from Sue Jones who can be contacted on 01206 824592 or email
They cost £3 each or five for £12.

June/July 2021

The nave flooring and seating were all in place for the first wedding at the end of June.
Work is proceeding apace on the Annexe, with windows going in, roofing being completed, and kitchen, toilets, flooring, tiling, wiring, plumbing and decorating being finished this month.
The creation of the new Carolin garden will begin in July and will result in a quiet and contemplative space with new paving, seating, plants and trees.

On Sundays 11, 18 and 25 July at 3 pm or 4 pm, there will be 20-minute guided tours for anyone interested. While Covid restrictions remain in place: 6 people per group maximum, with face covering and physical distancing.

May 2021 (3)

The sight that will greet visitors is taking shape.
The door arch is made of the same stone that formed the ‘old’ porch door

May 2021 (2)

And a few more pictures in the same month.
The pew-end panels shown in position on the South side of the chancel.

And a couple of pictures showing the underfloor heating in the Annexe.
The pipe work is throughout the Annexe, it is covered with screed and hot water run through the pipe network heats the Annexe, avoiding the need for radiators.

It will be a very different experience for the Sunday Clubchildren – from sitting on the cold floor of the vestry!

May 2021

Annex space, viewed from the entrance towards the double doors into the churchyard
The nave, cleared of all the pews. Amazing space!
Pew ends, made up into panelling

April 2021

March 2021

In the last week the Annexe has really started taking shape with the installation of the steelwork!

Quickly followed by the appearance of brickwork, with the walls becoming visible



February 2021

Just before Christmas the wall at East Street was taken down and the gate and railings laid aside for re-use, to give Bakers of Danbury, our builders, access to the site.
The broken gravestones have been collected, palleted and placed in the yard to be cleaned, recorded and later re-incorporated in the final paving scheme for the Carolin Garden, in memory of those they represent.

Work started formally on 4 January and we expect it to be completed this summer. Security fencing has been erected. The south porch has been demolished and the dressed stonework laid aside for incorporation in the new entrance. The tree sadly had to go but we are exploring planting a replacement in the appropriate planting season.

Excavation for the new annexe structural floor slab has commenced, attended by archaeologists to ensure that anything or anyone discovered in the excavation is recorded. Given it is the graveyard, any human remains will be properly re-interred in Wivenhoe cemetery.

The floor slab was laid on 19 February and new brickwork walls, windows, the slate and zinc roof and specialist glazing will now quickly appear.

Press Release January 2021

After nine years of careful consideration and planning, St Mary the Virgin church in Wivenhoe has signed the building contract with Bakers of Danbury for work to begin on its Transformation Project. The project comprises the re-ordering of the existing Nave, and the construction of an annexe extension on the South side of the church . Work has already begun on the site and is expected to finish around Summer 2021.

St Mary’s does not have a church hall and community space in Wivenhoe is limited. With this construction the church aims to fulfil a need and serve all who worship and live in the town. The new annexe will provide a 40-seat room with French doors opening onto the grassed churchyard; modern toilet facilities and a small kitchen. Very importantly it will also provide level access to these facilities and to the main part of the church itself.

The design by Colchester based Architects, Inkpen Downie, allows the annexe to be used independently from the Church, with its own entrance through the Carolin Garden off East Street. It will be available for use by community groups and by individuals for events such as christening receptions, birthdays and wedding parties and will become an exciting and much needed venue for support groups of all kinds.

The remodelling of the main seating area of the church will create a bright, open space, with new flooring and light-weight chairs. This will allow for so much more flexibility for various forms of worship and for weddings, funerals and christenings. It will also significantly extend its use for large community events such as concerts, plays and exhibitions and for smaller, social activities such as quiz nights. An important decision was taken to leave the Chancel – the area around the Altar – untouched. All of the pews with their beautiful carvings will therefore remain in this area.

Revd Erwin Lammens, Rector of St Mary’s comments: “Bringing the project to completion will make St Mary’s more sustainable, efficient and environmentally friendly. It will be a new start not only for church people but for the entire community of all backgrounds. This is no longer just a dream – it is the reality of taking up our responsibility as a church to serve society, care for the weak, protect and endorse our heritage, strengthen cohesion and promote tolerance. The future for St Mary’s is indeed very exciting!”
And finally St Mary’s very much appreciates the support it has received from so many people and really looks forward to welcoming everyone into a revitalised building later in the year!

The Annexe Archive Fundraising page, detailing the events that in one way or another helped to get this project started, can be found here