All Saints' Church, Shrub End Road
All Saints' Church at Shrub End was consecrated on the 8th April 1845. It was designed by George Russell French and built in 1844, to serve a new parish for the growing population of Stanway and Lexden. French was a well-known London architect who also had Essex connections, with addresses in Wanstead and Leytonstone. Dr James Bettley, a member of the Colchester Historic Buildings Forum and author of several volumes of the revised Pevsner guides to architecture by county, descibes it as a significant church by the architect.
The church has a plain exterior and is built of hard red brick with Caen stone dressings, with a nave, chancel, and low tower with splay-foot spire over the north porch. Later additions include an organ chamber (1883) and a south choir vestry (1958), and the nave was extended in 1982. The interior has a reredos of marble and gold mosaic by John Hardman & Co. (1880), and stained glass windows (1878 and 1930). One memorial is by Watts of Colchester.
George Russell French (1803–1881) was an antiquary, scholar and author, and born in London. He became an architect, and was an active member of the council, and later one of the vice-presidents, of the London and Middlesex Archæological Society. He was also a temperance reformer. He died in London in 1881.
The Essex Record Office holds a document (ERO D/P 548/6/23, of 1845) which is a plan of All Saints 'District Church, Stanway and Lexden, Consecrated 8 April 1845, prepared by George Russell French, of 18 Sussex Gardens, London, architect': '... Bears memorandum, signed by the incumbent, churchwardens and architect, stating that church was built in 1844, with the aid of a grant of £150 from the Society for Promoting the Enlargement, Building and Repair of Churches and Chapels on condition that a proportion of seats should remain free and unappropriated. Gives details of accommodation (appropriated and free sittings, etc.) ...'