From Langley Dyke we made our way upriver through the Mid-Yare National Nature Reserve – the RSPB’s – Buckeham Marshes and Strumshaw Fen and the past Rockland Broad Ted Ellis’ Wheatfen
At Brooms Boatyard we pumped out the dirty water and topped up with fresh water before lunch at the Yare Pub. Then onto Brundall Church Mooring for the night.
A path from the staithe crosses the railway line, and turns into hollow way that climbed to the top of the hill and the Church of St. Laurence. Hollow ways sunk into the land from centuries of use and churches on a rise above an ancient staithe are a common combination in the Broads! Perhaps the most famous example is Ranworth and the writer knows of similar patterns elsewhere.
We were sorry to find the church closed when we tried the door, as we had wanted to the 13th C lead font.
Walking around the church we saw that it has been much restored and extended. The earliest parts are from the 13th C, but the dedication to a Roman saint suggests an earlier foundation.
Examining the stones used to build the church, we thought we had discovered several geological oddities among the flint. Perhaps they had one been ballast used by long departed ships off-loaded as they took on cargoes on the river below!
Tracing the origin of stones used in building Broadland’s churches gives present day researchers insights into past trading patterns and links across the sea. They are also a parable!
Be they finely cut limestone from the Norman heartland at Caen, or rougher limestone from quarries at Barnack, near to Peterborough; sea washed boulders from countries around the North Sea; local flint; or re-used Roman materials; they are all built into the one building; and that a place of worship! So doing they provide a perfect illustration of the metaphor used in the first letter of St. Peter (1 Peter 2.5) – we are being built into a temple!
New building in the churchyard of St. Laurence’s Church and a busy up to date notice board suggests the Church of living stones that meets here is very active ! And, what a coincidence, he is named after St. Peter, the first Bishop of Rome, a one time fisherman who used to mess about in boats on the Sea of Galilee.