This is Cressing church, near my village, but I’m rename it as I’m adding graves that aren’t there.

Finding inspiration in the landscape around me.

My new novel As The Crow Flies is a bit different from anything else I’ve written so far. The problem I’m having at the moment is how to slip from one time line to the next as the story is told through three different eras. In this novel I want to introduce Granny Wenlock so the reader can get to know her much better and understand her story too. I’m hoping I can keep the same sense of humor which flowed between the characters in the The Funeral Birds.

Now that I’ve settled on Temple End as the name of the village where Dave and Joan lives, I can start building the backdrop to their story too. Dave’s roots are in the village as he grew up in Temple End. This will make it more plausible to the reader when I make a time shift as Granny make contact to her ancestor Dave across the centuries. Dave will have a real sense of history and his love of the landscape will help keep him ground in the village where his ancestors had lived for over four hundred years.

This beautiful church, with its avenue of limes tree, dates back 481 years.

The former Order of St John, the Knights Templar had a huge estate at Cressing, Essex, England which amounted to 1,440 acres of arable land, 40 acres of meadow and five water-mills. This ensure a maximum income to assist the Order with their work in the Holy Land and help their money-strapped brothers in Rhodes.

Their English headquarters were founded in London by King Stephen in 1128 and the Cressing Manor was also granted to The Templar by the King and his wife Matilda.

This beautiful little church is set among the acres of arable land once owned by the Knights Templars and is about a mile from where their manor house once stood. I’ve named the church in my novel, As The Crow Flies Gray’s church even though it isn’t a ruined church, but it does fit in nicely within the historic time line I’m trying to create for the purpose of my novel. Hopefully, in the future, if the book is well received, I can continue using the real historical events within the area I live and weave them in to my story lines.

Please click on the pictures to enlarge. All photos taken by me. Books used in my research: The King’s England, Arthur Mee’s Essex published in August 1940. The Knights of St John in Essex, by Kenneth Nicholls Palmer 1991

Cressing Church: (renamed Gray’s Church) seen from road.

Cressing Church Yard Feb 2021


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