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St Andrew, Framingham Earl
Andrew, Framingham Earl
When I first wrote the entry for this church back in March 2006, I thanked God for the churches of south-east Norfolk, but also thanked Him that the Poringland group was responsible for only four of them; unfortunately, these include Framingham Earl. So, while I found nearby Framingham Pigot welcoming and obviously loved and frisking like a young colt in open fields, thanks to being in the friendly Bramerton group of parishes, Framingham Earl was locked against all comers, be they strangers or pilgrims.
This is despite the presence of plenty of houses which might act as guardians of a key, if not of an open church. When I first visited, I found that even the porch was locked, which I am afraid I thought was a particularly mean-spirited thing. As I peeked through the bars at the ornate Norman doorway, I spotted a large notice which claimed that the church is open for an hour on a Saturday (it wasn't when we turned up) and that you should ring 999 in emergencies. It also says The inconvenience caused by the locked door is much regretted. Not as much as it is by the rest of us, mate.
Literary-minded followers of this site (and I know there are many) will be interested to know that the grave of genius WG Sebald, killed so tragically young in a car crash, is just to the north of the chancel - it is obviously a site of pilgrimage, and rightly so. You can see his headstone at the bottom of this page.
Peter and I came back this way on Historic Churches bike ride day 2006, and I have to say that the people on duty could not have been nicer. They were the very essence of kindness itself, and so they were probably either Saints, or they simply didn't recognise me. They even helped me clear up the mess when I accidentally overbalanced the shelf with the leaflets on at the back of the church. I don't mind admitting that I felt a little guilty for the things I'd written.
Simon Knott, September 2006
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