On 19th July 2022, a wildfire swept across the village of Wennington in the Diocese of Chelmsford, part of a number of similar fires recorded all across Greater London on the hottest day ever experienced by the UK. While St Mary & St Peter's Church was fortunate to escape significant damage, 16 homes across Wennington were destroyed by the blaze, with the rest of the village also forced to evacuate.
Prior to this event, wildfires seemed an unlikely threat to the village, something for which preparation was not really necessary. However, with average temperatures increasing year on year, fire occurrences will follow the same trend. In this case, glebe land had inadvertently acted as a corridor for the fire to spread to different parts of the village and churchyard, partly due to the presence of grass clippings and leaf litter that had dried substantially in the heat.
In the immediate aftermath of the fire and subsequent return of the local population, the church played host to some of the response activities, as well as reviewing the land management practices that had enabled the fire to spread.