On 8th March, the feast day of St. Felix, Apostle to the East Anglians, something about our founding saints and the Walsingham Way
Returning from exile in Francia in the year 630 A.D., King Sigeberht travelled via Canterbury where his companion Felix – depicted here in a relief sculpture from Norwich Cathedral – was consecrated to be the first Bishop of the East Angles.
On Felix’s arrival at Rendlesham the conversion of East Anglian began. Felix missionary strategy was to found a school and then churches at key sites throughout East Anglia
In the same year, Sigeberht gave Burgh Castle to be a monastery for a group of Irish monks who saw themselves as wanderers for the love of Christ.
Led by their abbot St. Fursey, they sailed the Broads river system preaching the Gospel as they went. Before long they were joined in Norfolk by St. Felix who established two churches close to Burgh Castle. For the benefit of the royal court at Loddon, which was then a royal vill; and, as his own base, within the walls of a Roman fortlet, in line of sight with Burgh Castle and within easy reach of Loddon, at Reedham.
The churches Felix founded at Reedham and Loddon are both on the eastern leg of the Walsingham Way from Great Yarmouth to Norwich. At the time of their founding Great Yarmouth was no more than a sandbank!
It was good to learn that the group planning a modern, safe waymarked route from King’s Lynn to Walsingham are in discussion with Norfolk County Council about the proposed route. The news coincides with the unveiling of a new statue of Margery – “A Woman in Motion“at Kings Lynn Minister.
Last autumn saw the launch of the Margery Kempe Centre at the Minister Church and a series of public lectures to celebrate the 650th anniversary of Margery’s birth. Notes and Youtube coverage of some of the talks are available here.
Launched during lockdown, there’s still a way to go until we can offer a wide range of accommodation to pilgrims – from camping plots to indoor camping, bunkhouse and B&B – any suggestions please be in touch.
It is a work in progress
And if you could spare time and talents to help the project it would be great to have a chat. Get in touch with the web shepherd firstname.lastname@example.org
Since Stop the Wensum Link forced Norfolk County Council to re-think the route of the road planned to join Norwich’s Northern Distributor Road with the Southern Bypass, contractors equipment and the temporary bridge roadway have been moved off the marsh and calm has been restored.
Crossing the busy (fast flowing) Fakenham Road the route follows the drive and keeps left of the farm buildings, before arriving at the fast flowing River Wensum.
From the bridge over the Wensum a diagonal path takes pilgrims to a new bridge over a drainage dyke. The woods on the skyline are where Europe’s largest roost of barbestrelle bats is located !
The next leg heading to the left of Low Farm is a bit boggy where the temporary roadway has been taken up but otherwise fairly dry.
The route up and over Royal Hill now runs through pig city
On reaching the quiet road , the hum of the traffic on the other side of the valley can just be heard. A left turn takes pilgrims to Ringland Church with an angel roof and some medieval glass. A right turn leads towards Weston Longville.