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Thurrock Church Brasses

St. Clement's West Thurrock is overshadowed by the giant Procter & Gamble factory. This is a listed building, one of no less than 237 in the Borough. Just inside the door you would be surprised to find the Arms of Hastings which reads: divided down the middle, red and silver, in the centre a golden lion walking past looking at you; at the top and bottom another lion half of which is joined to half of a ship's hulk.

The connection between West Thurrock and Hastings stems from the grant of the manor to Robert d'Eu by William the Conqueror. The town of Eu is south of Boulogne and was the place Queen Victoria visited in the 1850s to start the Entente Cordiale. The Count was also given land in Hastings and was required to refortify Hastings Castle. When he rebuilt Hastings Castle he founded a seminary beneath its walls, served by a chapel within the castle. The remains of both castle and chapel can be seen to this day.

He paid for this building and its upkeep by making St. Clement's a Prebend. This meant that tithes and rents went from West Thurrock to the chapel of St. Mary in the Castle at Hastings. The College provided St Clement's with its Rectors until the Reformation. They were the yuppies of their day: a number became bishops, archdeacons and deans; one, Bourchier, became Archbishop of Canterbury.

The church was restored by the Procter and Gamble Company next door in recognition of the Company's 150-year history, fifty of them in Thurrock. It subsequently featured in the film Four Weddings and a Funeral.

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