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St Mary, Crimplesham
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Crimplesham comes into the benefice with Downham Market, a heartily Anglo-catholic parish, and some of that influence is felt here, with devotional statues and pictures. It is all very simple, a church furnished in a seemly manner. The only jarring note is the organ, which dominates the small chancel, and partly cuts off the view of the sanctuary from the nave. But otherwise, it is a peaceful and uplifting interior, obviously well-loved and cared for.
I liked this church a lot, and so it is with a slightly heavy heart that I must tell you that we were treated with some suspicion when we went for the key. I must hasten to add that this was not so much the fault of the keyholder, who was a charming old boy who I chatted to for quite some time when I took the key back, but the fault of the instructions he had obviously been given. He asked me to give him something that identified me, as a deposit for the key. I suppose he would have accepted anything really, but I gave him my credit card, thinking to make the point here that it was most unfair on him for the the Parish to ask him to do this. It would be extremely embarrassing for the parish of Crimplesham if any allegations of card-cloning or identitity-theft were laid at its door. I have no reason whatsoever to think that this might happen, but I think that if I was an influential member of the Crimplesham PCC I would be be rushing to ensure that the keyholder stops asking for identity details and deposits as quickly as possible.
It is worth saying that keyholders, and suspicious ones in particular, are no defence against theft and vandalism. Indeed, keyholders statistically make theft and vandalism more common, because ordinary pilgrims and strangers will be less likely to visit the church, and the best defence against theft and vandalism is a well-visited church. I doubt that single-minded thieves would be put off by being asked for ID or deposit. I dare say they are fully prepared for that kind of eventuality.
Simon Knott, June 2009
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