|The Feast of St Cedd was this week (you knew that, didn’t you!) – and to further celebrate the impact of this 7th century Northumbrian monk on the life of Essex, and especially Thurrock, St Catherine’s in East Tilbury is holding a Celtic Evening Service on Sunday 30 October.
The simple and contemplative litugical service begins at 6pm. This will include a short reflection on the life of St Cedd.
Cedd landed at Bradwell on the Dengie Peninsula in 653AD, and set about using the remains of the Othona Roman fort there to build establish a monastic community. Sometimes called St Peter’s-on-the-Wall, a chapel remains there to this day, albiet somewhat altered from the original structure.
Cedd had been sent from Lindisfarne to take the message of Jesus Christ to the East Saxon pagans. Previously they’d been evangelised by St Augustine about 80 years before, but that influence had waned somewhat.
The missionary zeal of Cedd and his monk mates took him along the Thames Eatuary to what is now East Tilbury, or Tilaburg. There another monastic community was founded, and something built on or very near to the current site of St Catherine’s Church. This was probably because the old Roman road along the escarpment that overlooks the Thames plain came down to the river there, which was musch wider and shallower in those days, and a place of fording. So it was an important landmark along the northshore.
Cedd planted church on both sides of the river and his traces can be found in Chadwell Heath and the Hoo Peninsula over on the Kent side. Interstingly, the area he operated in is roughly that where the Lollards, the Peculiar People and the Pentecostals were prominent in waves of spiritual awakening over the centuries.
Are these wells of salvation and healing – the legacy of St Cedd – to be reopened and spring up in our day?
>>> St Catherine’s will also be open on that afternoon between 2-5pm for tea and cake!