On Thursday 18 July 2013, a group of prophetic intercessors from across the Thames Gateway region gathered in Orsett.
The Thames Gateway Prayernet (TGP) was started in late 2008 when Tim Harrold met with a people from Kent and Essex to develop a strategy for praying for the healing of the land up and down the river. The TGP itself came out of a few previous events under the name of The Turn Of The Tide which began in 2005. When the Olympic Stadium started to develop in Stratford, the TGP became involved with praying at the site with folk from Newham, and that link continues as the shared history of the marshlands along the Thames out to the Estuary has been revealed. This was their first visit to Thurrock since May 2013 (see link).
Those who came were from Cliffe and Dartford in Kent; Romford and Hornchurch in Havering; and Newham in East London. They were joined by a few intercessors from Thurrock and hosted by Michael & Morag Waterman.
The group discussed the history of Orsett and what God might be saying through it about the spiritual climate of the area. Orsett has a fascinating story – some highlights are:
- there was a Neolithic Causewayed Enclosure near the Orsett Cock roundabout which pre-dates Stonehenge
- there was a small harbour also at the bottom of Pound Lane – what is now a ditch used to be a manmade tributary of the Mardyke and barges would bring produce up there
- Orsett got its name from the iron ore that was found in the ground there (and still is)
- in the 16th Century, London’s Bishop Bonner had a palace at the bottom of Pound Lane – he swapped between Protestantism and Roman Catholicism and was responsible for some people being burned at the stake
- the palace has now disappeared but the ring and bailey where it once stood is just about visible in the landscape
- slave trader Captain Samuel Bonham lived in Orsett and both Orsett House and Orsett Hall are connected with this family – his unusual obelisk-topped tomb can be seen in the local graveyard
- the Whitmore family later became important landowners in the area and Lord Whitmore was Lord Lieutenant of Essex
- before Thurrock came into existence in 1936, the area was known as Orsett Urban District
Orsett has been much more than a sleepy Thurrock village – it’s been an important centre from ancient times through to the mediaeval ages and then into more the more modern era.
After some time in prayer – during which Psalm 24 was proclaimed, as is the habit of the TGP – the group walked round to see the ring and bailey where the Bishop’s Palace once stood and spent some time in prayer and blew a shofar. Isaiah 62:10-12 was read out:
Pass through, pass through the gates!
Prepare the way for the people.
Build up, build up the highway!
Remove the stones.
Raise a banner for the nations.
The Lord has made a proclamation to the ends of the earth:
‘Say to Daughter Zion,
“See, your Saviour comes!
See, his reward is with him,
and his recompense accompanies him.”’
They will be called the Holy People, the Redeemed of the Lord;
and you will be called Sought After, the City No Longer Deserted.
They then went on to look over the land where the Neolithic Causewayed Enclosure once stood.
This was a profound and powerful time and later in the year the TGP will return for another visit, which will include Mucking’s new Nature Park and its views across the creek to DP World’s London Gateway superport – and across to the Hoo Peninsula in north Kent.
We would like to thank Michael and Morag for their generous hospitality.