This morning our select gang of Walsingham pilgrims had the honour of attending the local parish church at South Creake, Our Lady St Mary the Virgin.
Our host was Fr Clive Wyllie SCP –
who graciously invited us all to his church (one of six in his benefice). There were five Australians, three North Americans and five English SCP priests all concelebrating Mass.
There was cake afterwards so of course I was in attendance.
A church of significant history – recorded in the Doomsday Book of 1086, a survey of England and Wales prepared at the request of William the Conqueror.
Much of the interior was damaged in the English Reformations (the Rector was executed) and during Oliver Cromwell’s ‘Commonwealth’, and there remains evidence of that damage.
The decorative panels of the pulpit have been completely scraped off.
The angels on the ceiling beams were installed after the Battle of Agincourt (1416). During the Civil War (1642-51), the Roundhead soldiers couldn’t get to the angels on the roof so they fired their muskets at them. Fortunately these large figures were refurbished in the 1950s.
The font is unique to Norfolk, entailing the six sacraments, with the seventh panel believed to be the Crucifixion. All the panels have suffered serious defacing.
St Charles, King and Martyr, whose reign preceded the Commonwealth, whose churchmanship I admire despite the person of the King, remains with head and crown intact, as does St George (below), who facial expression suggest the dead dragon is a bit ‘on the nose’.
Christ the King also has his own cloak. Not the sort of outfit Fr Clive would be seen in at the gym, I suspect.
Below is a thirteenth century wooden chest encased in studded metal bands. It would have stored silver and gold plate. There is an elaborate locking mechanism of five different keys which would have been retained by different villagers to ensure the security of the chest’s treasures. Due to the weight of the metal casing, it took seem men to open the lid.
The parish funeral bier dates from 1688. It is extremely heavy and too fragile for current usage.
The fifteenth century rood screen is quite intricate but has also suffered from the same sixteenth century iconoclasm as the pulpit and font.
The rood figures are by the well known nineteenth century artist, Arthur Blomfield.
Our service concluded with the clergy having processed to the magnificent statue of St Mary, where we said the Angelus.
Then on to morning tea (with cake) at the rear of the church and a greeting from the friendly parishioners of South Creake.