Wednesday, 8 September 2010
Fixing to stride
'Ride and stride' is what the Churches Conservation Trust helpfully dubs this coming Saturday's mix of cycling and hiking to fundraise. When we started walking for Norfolk Churches back in 2002, pedestrians were very much in a minority and I see the form still has the 'Sponsored Bike Ride' logo.
Anyway, we're still at it and any donations will be gratefully received. This time we should pass the 100 churches mark, and I only hope it's as beautiful a September day as it was last year when we strode across the Fens from Walpole St Andrew to Wiggenhall St Mary Magdalene (along the Great Ouse to the ruined Wiggenhall St Peter pictured above).
I was hoping for more Fentrudging this year, but team leader Jill has worked out what sounds like a fair 16-mile route from Wormegay along the river Nar to familiar territory, the resplendent Castle Acre.
As a rather opulent token of what we're striding to preserve, a return to St Margaret, Cley-next-the-Sea won't do any harm. We covered it on our second walk in 2003 but as it was the end of the day we didn't have much time to look around, so we went back when we were staying with Susie Self and Michael Christie this Easter.
Now landlocked, St Margaret once stood proud above a busy river. Its proportions are odd: a great west window, a squat tower, a huge nave and a disproportionately humble chancel. But it does have many treasures, starting with the early 15th century south porch. Guides make much of the shields, but are curiously wary of mentioning this sinner whose bare bum is being tanned by devils.
The corbels above the pillars in the nave are tamer, but even more splendid as many have their original colouring. Here are a strolling player striking his tabor
and a lion with a bone in his mouth
Other features are shared with the best of Norfolk's countless churches. They include one of two prayer boards
a fair amount of medieval stained glass
and some splendid brasses, including this group of six sons looking up at their dad from c.1450.
This is what we're trudging to save. Gi's a penny or two (preferably a cheque, made payable to the Norfolk Churches Trust). Or just wish us fair weather and none of the incidentals - pouring rain, wasp stings, step-tripping, speeding fine on the return journey to King's Lynn - which bedevilled our only disastrous walk of the seven we've done so far.Anyway, I promise, or threaten, a report of Saturday's progress in due course.