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Pandemics as a Disrupter

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Christine de Pizan. British Library . Harley 4431, f.259v. The writing is on the wall! Thanks to the Graffito writer of Acle. His words  record the Plague that ran rampant through the population of Norfolk in the 14th Century - The Black Death.  To get its meaning you Latin would need to be better than mine . Helpfully, Simon Knott provides a translation on his Norfolk Churches website:  Oh lamentable death, how many dost thou cast into the pit!
Anon the infants fade away, and of the aged death makes an end.
Now these, now those, thou ravagest, O death on every side;
Those that wear horns or veils, fate spareth not.
Therefore, while in the world the brute beast plague rages hour by hour,
With prayer and with remembrance deplore death's deadliness.The fashionable and literate lady in the illustration wears the horned veiled head covering.  
The Black Death was one of those great disrupters, that mark the watersheds of history. Not so much causing change,  but accelerating changes that …

High Places Maps and Photos

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I am interested in Norfolk's high places. Many of them marked by heritage churches. St. Peter's Belaugh is on my home turf .




Since working on the Walsingham Way  - plotting an off road pilgrim route from the east coast through Norwich to Walsingham, - I keep finding more. 

Most recently, I have been at Swanton Morley. All Saints Church is set on a spur overlooking the river below.  Pictures of churches tend to focus on the building rather than its place in the landscape.   Maps don't always help, Ordinance Survey contours don't always do justices to a sites unique setting.



Photos seem to give the best sense of the topography. 
Towards that end, I am hoping others will join me to produce a collection of churches in high places. I would be interested to know how much interest there might be in this.  
Where a collection could best be gathered is a moot question.  Flickr or a Facebook group, perhaps? 
I have started to gather some of my pics on my Flickr Account   I had little …

Another Sunday in Lockdown

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It was another Sunday in lockdown. On Sundays I go to church! Our church buildings are holy places, if only because of their use by generation after generation. Sadly, they are not yet all open after lockdown, not even for private prayer but the churchyards are open.


All Saints, Horstead was this Sunday's church of choice. Simon Knott wrote a nice piece about the church on his Norfolk Churches website. I came with a bunch of memories, memories that triggered Psalm 42 in my heart and mind. "As the deer longs for flowing streams...."  Oh! The river flows quietly beyond the churchyard and God's here sure enough. It is the later verses that come first to mind:






Wandering through grass among the graves. I remember my brothers and sisters in Christ who have gone before me. 
For most of the 1980s I was Rector here.  Names and stories come to mind. They died and were buried in the Christian faith. 
It is true that we are mortal, "The days of man are like grass,  when the win…

O St.Edmund the King - Chapel at Lyng



 From a History of the County of Suffolk: Volume 2There was an old religious house on the Suffolk side of Thetford founded by Uvius, the first abbot of Bury St. Edmunds in the days of Cnut. It was said to have been founded in memory of the English and Danes who fell in a great battle near by between King Edmund and the Danish leaders Ubba and Hingwar. It was served by canons who officiated in the church of St. George as a cell of St. Edmunds.

About the year 1160, in the days of Abbot Hugh, Toleard and Andrew, the two surviving religious of this cell, depressed with poverty, visited the abbot and expressed their strong desire to withdraw. At their suggestion the abbot and convent of St. Edmunds resolved to admit to the Thetford house certain Benedictine nuns who were then living at Ling, Norfolk.

The bishop of Norwich, the archdeacon of Canterbury, and the sheriffs of Norfolk and Suffolk gave these ladies and their prioress Cecilia an excellent character, and the change was solemnly e…

Ascension Day Pilgrimage

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Ascension Day is a major feast day. I go to church on major feast days. Just because the churches are closed in lockdown is not sufficient reason to break my rule.
Today it was St. Peter's, Belaugh. I chose a high place for Ascension Day. As disapproving Puritan described it as  -  "The Steeple house [of Belaugh St Peter, stands high, perked like one of the idolatrous high places of IsraelQuite likely, if the founders establish a Christian church on what had been a pagan place of worship.


I like it that I came by boat. I think St. Peter might have liked it too!



Maybe the Broads should be twinned with Galilee. I imagine a 'chippy' Jesus mending boats in the boatyard beside this river. And I think Peter would chuckle at the amusing notice!




No fishing!

Snippets of pslams and hymns come to my mind as I climb the pilgrim path " Who can ascend the hill of the Lord, who can stand in his holy place. He that hath clean hands and a pure heart", " "Hail th…

V E Day - 75 years on

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I was in Abersoch, on the Llyn Peninsular, with my mum, her sisters and my cousins.

During the Buzz bomb campaign, beginning June 44,  we all lived in that corridor along which the VIs flew towards London. They dropped where ever the fuel ran out. It was best not to be standing underneath.
What did you do in the war grandad ?  Built sandcastles. 



This photo was marked on the back by my mum. "Abersoch 1944" From left to right, " Val Sharp (her dad was with 8th Army as a medic - Uncle Norman was a dentst);  a stranger is next; then Michael Goodchild,  Caro Morris now Musson, (her dad. Uncle Morris was commanding a Corvette in the Atlantic) ; John Goodchild (I don't know where Uncle Ernest Goodchild was)  and there's me, Richard Woodham. If mum's got the date right, and it is 1944, then I was only 18 months at the time of this pic.

My memory is a little hazy. I think Mother and I lived with Aunty Joan Sharp and Val, Aunty Hilly Morris and Caro at "Benar Isaf&q…

Not Just Museums

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How necessary, some have asked, was the total closure of our parish churches, so that not even live streamed services from the church building was permitted? There is a growing sense among one section of the Church of England that the decision owes more to the resurgence a Puritan spirit within the church.

"The Privatisation of religion,"  Bishop Peter Selby called it in an article in the Tablet;  and, more accessibly here on a YouTube Easter Message for members of the congregation of st. John the Divine, Kennington.
The big guns may be lining up in defence of the Church as Holy Place with a function more important than a museum of curiosities or a sheep shed.  In a thoughtful and inspiring sermon, part of BBC4 Sunday Worship service marking the 800th anniversary of Salisbury Cathedral, Bishop Nicholas Holtam had some important things to say about church buildings. The words were used in connection with the much loved Salisbury Cathedral, but are equally true for all of Englan…