Christian worship has been offered in this place since Saxon times. the fabric and furnishings of this marvellous grade 1 listed building bear witness to the faith, love and care which has been lavished by the people of Elmstead market over many generations.
Although records show that there has been a priest here since 1194 and the remains of a 12th century brick and stone arch in the north door has been exposed, we know that the main part of the present building dates from the early 14th century. The gallery was added in the 18th century and around the walls inside the church there are some biblical texts, rarely seen nowadays dating from the 17th century. The texts and the gallery were restored in 1999. Box pews were add relatively recently, in the 19th century, and have been progressively adapted and reduced in number ever since. To mark the millennium, an Icon depicting St Anne with the Virgin Mary, commissioned specially for the church, was installed in the Lady Chapel along with a picket stand as a aid to prayer.
As Elmstead's Parish Church, the congregation at St Anne and St Laurence seeks to preserve our ancient church for the future generations, and also to ensure that it remains accessible and relevant to our current generations. To this end, modern lighting and sound systems have been recently installed, our car parking area drained and upgraded, and a garden of remembrance , for the interment of ashes, has been created to meet the needs of today's generation. The church also maintains good links with the local community it serves, and is used by a wide variety of groups in the village. Its also hosts an annual art exhibition and is a venue for concerts.