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Lothingland 5th August 2012

August 10, 2012

I have been away again with no internet access so there are few posts to catch up on-

Lothingland

Between Lowstoft and Great Yarmouth there lies a small area known as Lothingland.It straddles the border between Suffolk and Norfolk. I have done a quick tour of some of the churches in that delightful part of the country.

St. Bartholomew, Corton

A striking building with a ruined tower which can be seen for miles around. Unfortunately it was locked, despite it being the start of the Diocese of Norwich’s ‘Open Churches week’ and, despite the church sign saying ‘Visitors Welcome’. Really?

There is a sign that says gives the phone number of a churchwarden. I am not sure that this is entirely satisfactory. The keenest visitors might phone but someone who just wants to sit quietly or say a prayer is not likely to. I rate this as very poor to poor.

St. Margaret’s, Hopton on Sea

St. Margaret’s, Hopton on Sea

Also locked. Incidentally part of the same group of parishes as Corton. Here, the sign outside just gives details of services and the vicar but there is no indication when the church might be open. This is bas enough but a look into the (locked) porch has a prayer on the church door which says; ‘Lord make the door of this house wide enough to receive all who need human love and friendship..’ ! It is a job to know what to say about that. Very poor and a real missed opportunity, especially as Hopton has a holiday camp in it and there were quite a lot of people wandering around. This church could reasonably expect a fair number of visitors.

St.Mary’s, Ashby

The approach to Ashby

A church where the village around it has disappeared. A really idyllic spot. You have to park and walk about 1/4 mile down a track to find the church. There is a very moving memorial by the church fence to an American aircrew who were killed when their plane crashed here in the second world war. Unfortunately the church was locked today but, again, there is a phone number to get a key. It is possible to see into th church through the windows (there is quite a step down into it from the door) which reveals the simple interior. I do understand why such an isolated church is locked but it is still a shame as this is a great place to visit – a suitable candidate for the Small Churches Pilgrim Network? Rating poor.

Aircrew memorial at St. Mary’s, Ashby

St. Margaret’s,Herringfleet

A lovely thatched church with a characteristic East Anglian round tower. This is currently closed for repairs to the chancel roof but is normally open. Worth a visit when it reopens. Rating OK.

St. Mary’s, Somerleyton

St. Mary’s, Somerleyton

At long last a church that is open! And this one is well worth a visit. It stands in part of the Somerleyton estate in splendid isolation.The sign outside gives basic information. This church is in the ‘Norfolk Open Churches Guide’. There are some local history booklets available (written by a previous Rector). Also, some book marks, postcards and a children’s prayer card. 20 people had signed the visitors book in the last month. There is an open bible on display. This is an interesting church to visit and I rate it as good for the visitor.

Interior at St. Mary’s, Somerleyton

St. John the Baptist, Lound

Welcome to St. John the Baptist, Lound

Another round towered church. Outside the sign is basic but there is a very good welcome awaiting in the porch – a large sign over the door which says ‘Welcome.’ Inside, there is a decided smell of incense! There is a good range of booklets and cards available as well as a book ‘This is what we believe’, which contains a series of sermons based upon the creed. Very good. There are also guide books, postcards, book marks, pens and some small crosses as well as some posters of prayers and verses. A very good range for what is a small,country, church. Also there is a folder of photos of a recent flower festival, a list of burials and memorials as well as a folder of details of Rectors of this parish. A delightful touch, including the story a a Rector who never was! (He got cold feet and left before he was inducted). There is also a statue of John The Baptist and a brief biography of him. The chancel is locked but visitors can easily seen in.

All in all a very interesting church to visit. I would rate this as very good.

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