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St John the Baptist, Croxton
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the Baptist, Croxton
After the disappointment of neighbouring Fulmodeston St Mary, where a group of inquisitive bees dissuaded me from getting too close to the ruin, this ruin was a bit friendlier. Both churches were abandoned in the 1880s, when the new Fulmodeston Christ Church was built halfway between them. In the 125 years since, the Croxton church and graveyard have been left to quietly go back to nature. The site is now a woodland, completely overrun with ivy, about a quarter of a mile off of the Fulmodeston to Kettlestone road. I walked up the muddy track towards it.
I stepped into the trees. On this sunny May afternoon there were a thousand shades of green in the dappled light. Ivy covers the ground all around, and your first signs that this is, in fact, a churchyard, are headstones and tombs punctuating the leafy cover, often at crazy angles.
At the middle of it all is the ruin of the church. It was a small building, now entirely roofless, the walls just starting to sag. There is quite a lot of red-brick repair work at the east end which I thought was suggestive of 18th or even early 19th century activity. Trees boil from inside the nave and chancel, making access near-impossible to the interior and beginning to put pressure on the structure. It is probably not long for this world, but that's okay; there is something very organic about the way it has been allowed to return to nature, especially, as the poet observed, that so many dead lie round.
Simon Knott, May 2005
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