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remains of St John are more substantial than
those of All Saints, a mile or so off, and so it
is interesting to discover that this church fell
into redundancy many years before All Saints did.
When Catholic England came to an end, and the
Anglicans inherited more churches than they
possibly knew what to do with, it was inevitable
in this area of tiny parishes that many of the
churches would no longer be needed. Tiny
parishes, probably because this part of England
was relatively heavily populated in Saxon times,
and the manors were necessarily small. Each had
its own church, and, before the 16th century,
congregational worship was fairly low down on the
list of priorities for a parish church. There was
no need to count bums on seats, but the
Reformation put an end to all that.
There is an
intriguing vignette in the work of the early 18th
century antiquarian Blomefield. He came this way,
and found that the ruins of St John had been
converted into cottages.
that survives is the tower, and that is not long for this
world. While we wait for it to fall, the sheep enjoy it
as a shelter. One of them, a defiant black-faced Suffolk
I was pleased to note, stood its ground in the base of
the tower while Peter and I took our photographs. The
ruin belongs to them now, and there's no going back.
Knott, July 2006
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