AD845 – St Andrew, Greensted, Essex
Greensted Church is reputed to be the oldest wooden church in England and the oldest wooden building in Europe still standing, although only parts of the original wood remain. Built of oak, the original building is likely to have been a variation on the popular Scandinavian style of stave church, with palisades surrounding a central space. Some archaeologists believe that there may have been an even earlier structure on this site, possibly 4th century, but no definite evidence of this remains. Some dating techniques suggest the 9th century elements may actually be later than this, a debate which remains open. Dating of wood (a process called dendrochronology) is difficult and subject to fluctuations caused by climate variations and treatment of the wood over the centuries since the tree was felled, meaning we may never know for certain. The nave is one of the earliest parts and is made of split oak logs, a standard Saxon building technique.
The church is free to visit and open daily.