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St Andrew, West Bradenham
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Andrew, West Bradenham
West bradenham was one of the homes of the Haggards, that prominent Norfolk farming family who also gave the late Victorians and Edwardians their favourite author. Henry Rider Haggard was born here, and although he later lived, and is remembered, across the county at Ditchingham, the graveyard here is full of his ancestors, and his contemporaries are also recalled. For example, the porch gates were given to this House of God in memory of his niece Audrey, born at Klanec, Istria, September 7th, 1895, Died and was buried at sea February 6th 1933.
If Bradenham church is a touchstone to the Haggards, it is a treasure house of some of the best work of some of the top 19th century glass workshops. At the west end are scenes from the Gospels by the O'Connor Brothers. These are beautiful, full of expression and simplicity. They balnce nicely with William Wailes' east window, depicting the crucifixion above scenes from the books of Genesis and Exodus.
Perhaps more beautiful still are Faith, Hope and Charity in a side window - I think these may be by Ward & Hughes. These windows are an adornment to a church which is beautifully looked after; a lot of love and polish have been lavished here.
As at Hardingham, there are plenty of reminders of the way that the Great War touched this parish, including a prayer sheet for 1916 now in a frame. Not far off is a Boer War death, to A Gerald A Haggard, who may have been the writer's nephew. He was killed at Naauwpoort, Transvaal, on the 4th of April, 1901. The secular inscription records that he was a veteran of many battles. He was just 23 years old.
Simon Knott, July 2007
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