News & Events

















If you have photographs of any church events, please email them to


Bartlow Estate Farm Tour 15 July 2017

Farm Tour 1.jpg








Visiting Charterhouse Sept 2015


The Visiting Party


Masters' Court


Robin Isherwood


A Peaceful Garden in The City






Team Walk Sept 2015

A glorious afternoon walking from All Saints', Castle Camps, to St Mary’s, Bartlow via St Mary’s, Shudy Camps.



We praise and thank you, God of the journey, for all your gifts to us in the past. We look to you as fellow-traveller and faithful companion on the way ahead. Shelter and protect us from all harm and anxiety; give us grace to let go of all that holds us back; and grant us courage to meet the new life you have promised us in Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.







Remembrance 2014

Remembrance 2014 was commemorated in Castle Camps by the traditional Remembrance Sunday church service and two minutes silence in the village and at the Royal Air Force War Memorial (link to webpage with information and photos)



All Saints' Church,  Horseheath

Restoration of Bells and Augmentation of the Ring (link to webpage with photos)



All Saints' Church,  Castle Camps

2014 Flower Festival & Evening Concert (link to webpage with photos)




Father Graham's superb sermon commemorating 100 years since the start of the First World War


“Never such innocence again”

August 3rd, 1914 was an important day in the history of these villages: it was the last day of the farm workers’ strike.  A social commentator had written:

 “The condition of the agricultural labourer is as bad as can be.  He toils like a slave, lives like a pig & often dies like a dog, with no pleasure but an occasional debauch at the ale house, & no prospect but that of the Workhouse for an old age of rheumatism & misery.”

Some local agricultural labourers in North Essex formed a Union to fight one of the lowest rates of pay in the country: 12 shillings for a 6-day week.  A strike began in Helions Bumpstead  & spread quickly to other villages, including here at The Camps.  Amazing to think that on July 26th a crowd of 2,000 people assembled in Helions Bumpstead  to be addressed by Sylvia Pankhurst!

Leslie, then a farmer’s boy at Birdbrook, remembered the night when the sky was red all around, after strikers had fired the ricks; & how, when one farmer tried to import blackleg labour – butcher’s boys from Pryke’s Yard in Haverhill - the Birdbrook men met them with billhooks & pitchforks & told them they would kill them if they continued.  Pryke’s boys went home.

And then, quite suddenly, it was all over, because the German army had marched into Belgium & Britain declared war.  The farmworkers went back for tuppence ha’penny an hour: updated for inflation, this was the equivalent of £40 for a 72 hour week.  Leslie & boys like him stayed on the farm & did men’s work, as many of the men enlisted.  They went away & many did not come back.  We hear their names each Remembrance Sunday.

But why?  What did they think worth defending? What was it they were willing to fight & die for? 

Old Hub looked after the horses at Manor Farm, Toppesfield.  He enlisted & drove a horse-drawn cart delivering ammunition up & down the front line of trenches every day for two years.  The memory of the dreadful deaths of the horses seemed to upset him as much as the death of the men.  After the war he came back to Manor Farm & his 72 hours at tuppence ha’penny.  60 years later I asked him why he had volunteered & he looked surprised: it would have been unthinkable not to. Would you do it again?  Yes, of course he would.  Hub had grown up in the days of Empire & glory & Rudyard Kipling, when our Navy ruled the waves & our soldiers ruled the 30 million miles of our colonies.    Kipling encouraged his son John to enlist, despite his extremely poor eyesight. He was rejected, twice, because he would be a liability; but his father pulled strings &  John was commissioned in the Irish Guards. 6 weeks later he was killed at the Battle of Loos.  Along with 180,000 others, John’s body was never identified.  Their graves were marked with the inscription:

A Soldier of the Great War, known only to God: words composed by Kipling himself. The guilt of his son’s death never left him. He later wrote,              
                              If any question why we died,
                              Tell them, because our fathers lied.

Queen Victoria’s wars had always taken place in foreign parts:  exotic places, where we were always right & we always won.  So in August 1914 the British public presumed that all would in end in victory as usual.  It would all be over by Christmas & we could concentrate on the matters that troubled people more:  The Irish Question & the suffragist outrages. But this time they were wrong.  This war was something totally other: not merely horrendous, but cataclysmic.  There had been signs that warfare was changing.  In the Boer War, just a few years before, we had changed our scarlet coats for dirt coloured ones, adopted machine guns, & invented the concentration camp for our prisoners, but still the British Empire came second to the Dutch farmers. 

By 1914 war included tanks & aeroplanes, bombs & poison  gas.  There was faster transport, with railway lines laid directly to the trenches; & it was the trenches with their mud & blood, rats & barbed wire, which became the dominant image of the war.  They were branded on our national memory by our writers, particularly the poets.  To begin with, there had been Rupert Brooke, who caught the enthusiastic mood of 1914:

Now, God be thanked Who has matched us with His hour,  
 And caught our youth, & wakened us from sleeping, 
 With hand made sure, clear eye, & sharpened power, 
 To turn, as swimmers into cleanness leaping, 
 Glad from a world grown old & cold & weary…

Brooke enlisted & was shipped out to the Dardanelles, but en route was bitten on the lip by a mosquito.  The infection spread & he died of dysentery.  He was buried in Skyros, in Greece, fulfilling his famous lines: IF I should die, think only this of me: That there's some corner of a foreign field That is forever England.

For so many young men, the chaps from the town and the field and the till and the cart, the idea of enlisting was a great adventure, a lark.  We have seen the jerky, cheery newsreels of them in their caps & boaters, queuing  to enlist, off to give Fritz a bloody nose & to put the kibosh on the Kaiser.  50 years after 1914, & now 50 years ago, Philip Larkin described them in a poem which recalls the whole long Edwardian summer that was about to vanish forever:

Those long uneven lines
Standing as patiently
As if they were stretched outside
The Oval or Villa Park,
The crowns of hats, the sun
On moustached archaic faces
Grinning as if it were all
An August Bank Holiday lark;

And the shut shops, the bleached
Established names on the sunblinds,
The farthings and sovereigns,
And dark-clothed children at play
Called after kings and queens,
The tin advertisements
For cocoa and twist, and the pubs
Wide open all day—

And the countryside not caring:
The place names all hazed over
With flowering grasses, and fields
Shadowing Domesday lines
Under wheat’s restless silence;
The differently-dressed servants
With tiny rooms in huge houses,
The dust behind limousines;

Never such innocence,
Never before or since,
As changed itself to past
Without a word – the men
Leaving the gardens tidy,
The thousands of marriages,
Lasting a little while longer:
Never such innocence again.

Larkin was right: humanity never recovered from the horrors of the Great War. The total deaths of all nations who fought is estimated as 8.5 million, with 21 million wounded. 

Vast areas of Europe had been reduced to rubble & the victors – those who had lost less - were in no mood to be charitable.  Their feeling of bitterness and anger was made manifest in the Treaty of Versailles.  

Germany had never actually surrendered; what they had done was sign an armistice, which was an agreement for both sides to stop fighting.  They were outraged by the terms of the Treaty that followed. First the map of Europe was redrawn, with much German territory confiscated.  Then Germany had to admit full responsibility for starting the war. They had to make financial reparation for all the damage caused: a figure set at £6,600 million - a huge sum of money well beyond their ability to pay.  Their mines & industry were seized & their already strained economy was bankrupted.  Together with the damage to their national pride, this created a seedbed in which Nazism would flourish.  The Treaty of Versailles led directly to the rise of Hitler & the Second World War.  Historians have argued that there were not two world wars, but only one - with a long ceasefire in between.

Now this is a sermon, not a history lecture: So where was God in it all?  My honest answer is – I don’t know.  I have to fall back on the words of a WW1 chaplain, Geoffrey Studdert-Kennedy, someone who was actually there & wrote from the pain of experience:

“I look upon that body, writhing, pierced & torn with nails, & see the battlefields of time, the mangled dead, the gaping wounds, the sweating, dazed survivors straggling back, the widows worn & haggard, still dry-eyed, because their weight of sorrow will not lift & let them weep; I see the ravished maid, the honest mother in her shame; I see all history pass by, & through it all still shines that face, The Christ Face, like a star which pierces drifting clouds & tells the Truth.  So, through the clouds of Calvary there shines his face, & I believe that Evil dies & good lives on, & conquers all.  All War must end in Peace.  These clouds are lies.  They cannot last.  The blue sky is the Truth.  For God is Love.   Such is my faith, & such my reasons for it, & I find them strong enough.  & you?  You want to argue?  Well, I can’t.  It is a choice.  I chose the Christ.” 




All Saints’

Castle Camps

Spring 2014 Church Restoration














Friends of All Saints' Castle Camps

2014 Plant Sale - held in the Castle Camps Village Hall due to poor weather
























All Saints’

Castle Camps

May 2013, congregation enjoying tea and cake after the service in the Spring sunshine.








May 2013, Church Wardens busy at the plant sale which raised over £750.


Many thanks to Alan & Jean Hardy for hosting this event.

CC May teas outside








June 30th 2013, Open Gardens, finally Summer arrived.

CC plant sale 2013







August 4th 2013, BBQ in the Schoolings' garden







































Saint Mary’s Shudy Camps

June 2013, Messy Church was enjoyed by children and parents from the parish.










July 6th 2013, Strawberry Fair, parachuting teddies and lovely cream teas.



















All Saints’


June 2013, Garden Party country dancing.










Archived photographs

H Summer Fete 2013