Curiosity into wonder
The Saxons founded Fishley in the 10th century, followed by the Normans who built the current church of St. Mary’s.
The Saxons and the Normans are long-since gone and yet this gem of a muchloved round church is still a place of worship today. Standing in isolation completely surrounded by open farmland with glorious views across the Bure Valley. It is the destination of those seeking its peace and tranquillity, to pray and to learn something of its history and its cultural heritage.
The Parish of Fishley has virtually no permanent residents which makes it unique in the Diocese of Norwich. It was curiosity that led me to it. Indeed, it is curiosity that is why people from around the world come and visit us on a Friday every week of the year: to view the rich complexities of its cultural heritage and its architecture. Since 2006 the churchwardens and a dedicated band of volunteers have, by their initiative and physical hard work, provided the funding to preserve and enhance the building. This has twice led them in successive years to be recognised in the English Heritage Angel Awards.
Although these buildings were undoubtedly built for the worship of God they were also at the centre of our communities. It is this community and cultural heritage that is to be found in these glorious buildings, why most people visit today and where curiosity turns into wonder.
The question that I am sometimes asked is, how can a church move from being a place of worship to an historical building?
First of all, it is already an historical building. What we as volunteers and historical detectives have to do is: research, document, exhibit and publicise the 1000 plus years of history of the building in an architectural sense. Then there is the wealth of cultural heritage that successive families, often noble ones, have left us. As an example if you Google EDP Fishley then you will see what I mean.
This all brings a sense of wellbeing and indeed romance, as we now average seven to eight weddings a year.
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£15,000 raised in a day
Founded in 1993, this village organisation has truly gone from strength to strength.More
Friends in a time of need
‘Do we carry out urgent repairs to the building or do we pay our parish share in full?’More
When the local community learnt that St Peter’s Church, Forncett, was threatened with closure, the response was immediate; their beautiful 1000-year-old Anglo Saxon church with its iconic round tower must be saved for future generations!More
An amazing array of support
The rector and churchwardens are the Trustees of Reepham Church Charities which includes a plot of land, currently leased to Reepham Town Council for allotments, but also funds accumulated from rents which are to be used specifically for ‘the relief of the poor of Reepham’.More
Supporting education in Brooke
Like my predecessors I am a trustee of several small village-based charities.More
Heating cost support
The Sporle Relief in Need Charity (charity number 213063) owns Sporle’s Town Farm: a farm which nowadays is sadly separated from the village by the A47, with no bridge or easy means of crossing.More
Honour where honour is due
The 2011 Census identified 177,918 young carers in England and Wales.More
Please hold the line caller
Just opposite the church in Blickling, on the side of the road, is a lovely old red phone box which, a couple of years ago, was looking a bit unloved and forlorn.More
Angels to the rescue
It is a great shame that so many events and club meetings in Knapton have had to be cancelled for such a long period because of COVID, but the Knapton Angels have done a fantastic job of supporting our parishioners through these dark times, meeting over 400 requests for support and help.More
A backward glance
What does a development worker do during lockdown?More