Saints with Difficult Histories

i)  William of Norwich

St.William tortured from the rood screen of Loddon Church

The abuse of a child in any age is wicked. The torture and murder of the boy William in the 12th Century Norwich has  lost nothing of its horror over the years. Miracles experienced at his grave suggested his sanctity and a shrine was established in the Cathedral. The tragedy of his death was multiplied many times over when it was blamed on the Jewish community and anti-Semitic riots broke out in Norwich.  Sadly,  monks of Norwich Cathedral stoked the fire and fanned the flames.  Acknowledging the sad history,  today’s Cathedral community is in the forefront of  inter-faith understanding  and understanding. William and other victims  of abuse are remembered in  Chapel of the Holy Innocents close to the site of the shrine.

Ii) Saints and Martyrs of the Reformation
The town of Loddon was a centre for Lollardy in the 15th Century.  Two Loddon clergy were among the fist to be burned at Lollards’ Pit (across the river from Norwich Cathedral). Some of their followers were forced to perform harsh penance in Loddon’s churchyard and market place.
Evidence of the bad tempered  arguments between people who disagreed badly can still be seen in all our heritage churches.  The legacy of the disagreements is a  proliferation of churches of various denominations and a lack of unity.

Vandalised 15th Century, 7 Sacrament Font from St. Luke’s Chapel in Norwich Cathedral

On one hand, the 15th and 16th Century saw an explosion of church building and beautification.  On the other, the 16th and 17th Centuries  saw an explosion of iconoclasm and the destruction of a great deal of  beauty,  statues and stained glass windows were smashed and paintings were obliterated.
Eventually,  a Church of England which was both Catholic and Reformed emerged from the conflict. In the 19th and 20th Centuries  some of the treasures were  restored and others have been replaced.

Yet tensions between the two wings of the C of E remain and the healing of the  Church divided into denominations at the Reformation is a “work in progress” – something for the next leg of our pilgrimage together!?