Tuesday, April 19, 2016

A Little Perspective.............











At a mid-point of a walk from St. Andrew, Wickhampton towards the Berney Arms and windmill, I stopped to take stock. It is amazing what a little perspective can do! I am so frustrated at the failure of people to see and celebrate the value of our Broads National Park heritage landscape, I could scream! But out here it would be lost on the wind and the limitless sky. Instead I turn my binoculars onto a group of curlew poking in the marshy earth with beautifully curved bills and wonder. "Consider the birds........
Across the marsh, beyond the station, was my terminus. The Berney Arms mill, sadly the pub remains closed. The lyrics of Slim Dusty Pub with no Beer come to mind - nothing so lonesome morbid or drear. More seriously, I wondered what I could possibly do to raise the profile of the church in the landscape with those who hold stewardship for the National Park.

There maybe opportunities to celebrate the church in the landscape as part of the up-coming Water, Mills and Marshes Project  but I'm not sure how that could be taken forward. It is not that local churches would particularly want to make a claim on the pot of money granted for the scheme. The fact is churches get a good share of HLF grants already, but why on earth would you not shout from the roof tops the heritage value of a church like St. Andrew's Wickhampton.  If only for the tombs of  Sir William and Lady Gerbygge















Oh and lets not forget the amazing wall paintings. Among them are the acts of mercy, the three living and the three dead and a St.Christopher.

Indistinct but recognisable still, St. Christopher has fishes and crabs beneath his feet - reflecting the historical reality, that in the days when it was painted, before the marsh was reclaimed,   Wickhampton was by the sea. A fishing community.


 If it were possible to raise the profile of heritage churches in the consciousness of the guardians of the Broads National Park, it would still leave work to do with the church in general. There is no one person on the Bishop of Norwich's staff who has responsibility for the National Park and nothing, I can discern, in any church communications of the spiritual value of our unique East Anglian ecosystems, nor the place, value and importance of the church in the landscape.

Would it not be good that those with the  stewardship of the National Park and those with the stewardship of our ecclesiastical heritage had taken aboard the wisdom to be found in the National Ecosystems Assessment (2011) especially Chapter 16?