The Strangest Laindon Church
Laindon's Theomonistic Church
It seems that Laindon and Langdon Hills had an extraordinary number of churches relative to its population. The two large establishment churches were, of course, St Nicholas and St Mary and All Saints. In the little more than half a mile from the railway station to Bebington’s corner there must have been over six churches. St Teresa the Catholic church was almost opposite the school. There was a Baptist church, a Methodist church, Elim Pentecostal church, their social halls and probably other churches along that same stretch of road that I have forgotten. Other churches were scattered throughout the community including the Manor Mission. Satellites, or missions, were established by St Nicholas and St Mary’s and perhaps by other churches although I cannot vouch for the latter.
Two mission churches of St Nicholas were St Michael located south of Markham’s Chase School in the Green Lane area and St Peter located behind the the Hiawatha on St Nicholas Lane. The latter had a much used social hall on the opposite side of the road.
It seems that the mission churches were all uniform in size and construction. A wooden construction with a small porch overhung the front double door. The door opened into a single bare room. Unadorned and without decoration, folding chairs or benches might be provided for the congregation. No stained glass, nothing to indicate it was a place of worship. They were identical.
The strangest of these churches was the Theomonistic Church in Pound Lane. I do not know when the church was founded nor do I know when it ceased to function as a church. I only knew the building, the same wooden, one roomed building with a small overhanging porch described above, when it was the Regal Club. My father was a member and I was there on occasion with my parents. The single room was Spartan in the extreme. There was room in one corner for a dart board. Perhaps up to a dozen tables were scattered around the room sitting four to a table. In the opposite corner was what passed for the bar — a four or five foot long counter behind which perched Mr Nuth who either owned or run the club. His son Alec Nuth was a year ahead of me at Chelmsford Tech. The Nuth family lived close by in either Pound Lane or St Nicholas Lane.
The building appears to have been built for the Theomonistic Church. How long they continued in existence I do not know. They seem to have had a very different belief which is described as “The evolutionary book of fulfillment of prophecy which John calls the bitter and sweet open book and everlasting Gospel (Revelation 10:17914:6) being the authentic continuation and consummation of the Jewish and Christian bibles and other sacred books namely the testament of God with men of today and all the future in the Psychic Age or Theomonistic Era which started 1916 A.D.”
I had never heard of the Theomonistic Church until I stumbled on to it as the precursor to the Regal Club. I wonder what the surviving members of the church thought when their church building became a bar and working men’s social club? Most of Laindon’s early churches seem to have hung on and the passing of the Theomonistic Church seems to have gone unnoticed — and perhaps unlamented.