In the 7th Century a company of missionary monks came by sea to spread Christian good news along the Broadland rivers. They were led by Abbot Fursey, who is now remembered as a saint. They had left their Irish hearths and homes to live lives of perpetual pilgrimage. As their Norfolk base they chose a woodland site close to the sea. Tradition locates their monastery within the walls of Burgh Castle.
The monks, who became wanderers (peregrini) for the love of Christ, are good role models for the 21st Century pilgrims. From birth to death our lives are one big journey and the individual pilgrim journeys we make during our lives, for the sake of our souls, are no more than short episodes in something much bigger. And the destination? The monks might have answered by quoting scripture: “Here we have no abiding city, but we look for one that is to come.” (Hebrews 13.14). The heavenly Jerusalem.
Pilgrims may wish to bless themselves as they start their journey with a blessing attributed to St.Fursey:
The arms of God be around my shoulders
The touch of the Holy Spirit upon my head,
The sign of Christ’s cross upon my forehead,
The sound of the Holy Spirit in my ears,
The fragrance of the Holy Spirit in my nostrils,
The vision of heaven’s company in my eyes,
The conversation of heaven’s company on my lips,
The work of God’s church in my hands,
The service of God and the neighbour in my feet,
A home for God in my heart,
And to God, the Father of all, my entire being.
After leaving the church follow the lane downhill to join the Angles Way beside Breydon Water. Turn right for Great Yarmouth.