Welcome from Rector

Greetings, Salutations and Welcome to the web site for St. Mary's, Burston. I hope you will find the web site informative and encouraging as we seek together to share God's love within and for our community. Seek, Find, Enjoy. Share.

 

Rev. David

News

Sunday 9th February, 3rd Sunday before Lent, proper 1, (GREEN)

PSALM                                                     Ps. 112:  1 -9                                          

OLD TESTAMENT                               Isaiah 58:  1-9a

EPISTLE                                                  1 Corinthian 2: 1-12

GOSPEL                                                   Matthew 5: 13-20

 

HYMNS 1) Holy, Holy, Holy, Lord God Almighty, 2) Blest are the pure in heart, 3) Let all mortal flesh keep silence, 4) Bright the vison that delighted.

 

COLLECT  Almighty  God,  who alone can bring order to the unruly wills and passions of sinful humanity: give your people grace so to love what you command and to desire what you promise, that, among the many changes of this world, our hearts may surely there be fixed where true joys are to be found; through  Jesus Christ your Son, our Lord, who  is alive and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever.

 

 

THIS WEEKMONDAY Day off, Rectory, TUESDAY 9:15 MP, Tivetshall, 6:45 EP Winfarthing, 7:30pm Winfarthing PCC. WEDNESDAY 9:15am MP Gissing, 4pm All Saints School, Winfarthing. THURSDAY 9:40 eye appointment at the N&N Hospital, 3pm appointment with Nationwide, Diss, 6:45pm, EP Winfarthing. FRIDAY 9:15am MP Shelfanger, 6:45pm EP Winfarthing.

 

 

ADVANCE NOTICE  1) Tuesday 18th February, 7:30pm DEANERY SYNOD at Shelfanger Village Hall.  3) Thursday 20th February 7:30pm Shelfanger PCC.

 

HOLY WEEK SERVICES Mon 6th April, Tuesday 7th April, and Wed 8th April, 7pm Compline at Shelfanger. Maundy Thursday 11am HC at the Cathedral, 7pm BCP HC at Gissing. Good Friday, Meditation, Noon at Tivetshall, 2pm at Burston.

 

Holy Saturday. Wedding, 1pm at Gissing, 5:30pm HC BCP Winfarthing.

 

EASTER DAY 8am HC Gissing, 9am HC Tivetshall, 10am HC Burston, 11am HC Shelfanger

 

SWEARING IN OF NEW CHURCHWARDENS only one date. Tuesday 23rd June, at the Cathedral, registration in the Western Room, from 6:30pm, 7:30p EP and Swearing in of Churchwardens.

 

Sunday 16th February, 2nd Sunday before Lent, proper 1, (Green)

PSALM                                                     Ps. 136: 1 -9 and 23 - 26                                          

OLD TESTAMENT                              Genesis 1: 1 – 2: 3  

EPISTLE                                                  Romans 8: 18 - 25

GOSPEL                                                   Matthew 6: 25 - 34

HYMNS 1) All creatures of our God and King, 2) Let us with a gladsome mind, 3) Thou whose almighty word, 4) Praise to the Lord, the almighty, the King of creation.

 

Rev. David F. Mills, The Rectory, Church Lane, Winfarthing, Diss, Norfolk.  IP22 2EA, (01379) 643646   revdfmills1812@gmail.com

Sunday 9th February, 3rd Sunday before Lent, proper 1, (GREEN)

PSALM                                                     Ps. 112:  1 -9                                          

OLD TESTAMENT                               Isaiah 58:  1-9a

EPISTLE                                                  1 Corinthian 2: 1-12

GOSPEL                                                   Matthew 5: 13-20

 

HYMNS 1) Holy, Holy, Holy, Lord God Almighty, 2) Blest are the pure in heart, 3) Let all mortal flesh keep silence, 4) Bright the vison that delighted.

 

COLLECT  Almighty  God,  who alone can bring order to the unruly wills and passions of sinful humanity: give your people grace so to love what you command and to desire what you promise, that, among the many changes of this world, our hearts may surely there be fixed where true joys are to be found; through  Jesus Christ your Son, our Lord, who  is alive and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever.

 

 

THIS WEEKMONDAY Day off, Rectory, TUESDAY 9:15 MP, Tivetshall, 6:45 EP Winfarthing, 7:30pm Winfarthing PCC. WEDNESDAY 9:15am MP Gissing, 4pm All Saints School, Winfarthing. THURSDAY 9:40 eye appointment at the N&N Hospital, 3pm appointment with Nationwide, Diss, 6:45pm, EP Winfarthing. FRIDAY 9:15am MP Shelfanger, 6:45pm EP Winfarthing.

 

 

ADVANCE NOTICE  1) Tuesday 18th February, 7:30pm DEANERY SYNOD at Shelfanger Village Hall.  3) Thursday 20th February 7:30pm Shelfanger PCC.

 

HOLY WEEK SERVICES Mon 6th April, Tuesday 7th April, and Wed 8th April, 7pm Compline at Shelfanger. Maundy Thursday 11am HC at the Cathedral, 7pm BCP HC at Gissing. Good Friday, Meditation, Noon at Tivetshall, 2pm at Burston.

 

Holy Saturday. Wedding, 1pm at Gissing, 5:30pm HC BCP Winfarthing.

 

EASTER DAY 8am HC Gissing, 9am HC Tivetshall, 10am HC Burston, 11am HC Shelfanger

 

SWEARING IN OF NEW CHURCHWARDENS only one date. Tuesday 23rd June, at the Cathedral, registration in the Western Room, from 6:30pm, 7:30p EP and Swearing in of Churchwardens.

 

Sunday 16th February, 2nd Sunday before Lent, proper 1, (Green)

PSALM                                                     Ps. 136: 1 -9 and 23 - 26                                          

OLD TESTAMENT                              Genesis 1: 1 – 2: 3  

EPISTLE                                                  Romans 8: 18 - 25

GOSPEL                                                   Matthew 6: 25 - 34

HYMNS 1) All creatures of our God and King, 2) Let us with a gladsome mind, 3) Thou whose almighty word, 4) Praise to the Lord, the almighty, the King of creation.

 

Rev. David F. Mills, The Rectory, Church Lane, Winfarthing, Diss, Norfolk.  IP22 2EA, (01379) 643646   revdfmills1812@gmail.com

I have just come back from Shelfanger Church, where with other people; we said the morning office together. Something we have been doing together, most Friday mornings ever since I arrived. Saying the office, praying for the Parish, the local Community, the Diocese, The Royal Family, the Nation and the peace of the World, for those in any kind of need or distress.

I have and still do, struggle with prayer, finding the right words to say; and that overwhelming sense that we have prayed for this before. Quite often apathy seems to rule, especially in the midst of winter in the cold and dark. As some would say, “Why bother”, “What’s the point”.

On the Church of England web site, there is a very useful and practical aid on day to day prayer; it uses a hand as it model. It is as follows.

1.       THUMB This is the strongest digit on your hand, give thanks for all the strong things in your life, like home, family, relationships that support and sustain you.

 

2.       INDEX FINGER This is the pointing finger. Pray for all those people and things in your life, who guide and help you. Friends, teachers, doctors, nurses, emergency services and so on.

 

3.       MIDDLE FINGER This is the tallest finger. Pray for all the important people who have power in the world, like world leaders and their governments, members of parliament and local councillors, the Royal Family, other world leaders and their governments.

 

4.       RING FINGER This is the weakest finger on your hand. It can’t do much by itself. Remember the poor, the weak, the helpless, the hungry, the sick, the ill and the bereaved.

 

5.       LITTLE FINGER This is the smallest finger. Pray for yourself.

 

For a more formal and structured approach, I have found that the Church of England’s “Daily Prayer”, application on my mobile phone very useful. It contains Morning, Evening and Night Prayer, each with its specific readings and appropriate Psalms, and suggestions for prayer.  I have used it on my own in a Church, in my office, on a bus, waiting for a doctors / hospital appointment, waiting for Mum to have an X ray. Praying for those around me, even though they think I am playing a game.

I continue to struggle with prayer.  Amen.

 

Rev. David F. Mills

Rector of the Winfarthing Group

Meekness and Majesty - Humility and Holiness


This is the 17th time that I have had the privilege to write a Christmas message for the Cock Crow, and I must confess that I am struggling to express my thoughts in a fresh and new direction. All my illustrations and thoughts have appeared many times before in this publication over the years. Yet the message remains exactly the same, eternal.

What could be more innocent than a new born baby, dependant on others for food, shelter, security, protection and hopefully love.

The birth of a baby, born of a virgin in Bethlehem, was predicated in the Old Testament at least 400 years before Christ’s birth. An innocent baby born in an occupied Country, born in abject poverty, born amongst the smell and sights of a stable. Whose birth was announced by the angels to rough working, wandering Shepherds. Here lies the Saviour of the World. As the carols says with “all the hopes and fears, for all the years are met in thee tonight”.

For myself the Theology of the incarnation (God being born in human form – planned before the creation of the world) is incredible. Jesus coming to us in meekness and humility at his birth and at the cross returning in glory, majesty and holiness. (read Gospel of  John 1: 1 -14)

 “For unto us a child is given, and his name shall be Wonderful Councillor, the Everlasting Father, the Prince of Peace”; as the Prophet Isaiah stated.

I know that I am becoming more and more cynical; but over 2,000 years after the event; we are still praying for the peace of Jerusalem; and for the peace of the world. When will we learn?

One thing that I hope for in the year to come, is that we learn to be humble; recognising the log in our own eyes, before yelling and demanding our own rights; or point of view. Think things through, before commenting on Twitter, Facebook or any other social media. At present it seems to me that those who shout and scream the loudest, have very little to say. Argument weak, therefore shout louder!

I believe that the Royal British Legion have it right when they speak of “Service not Self”. What can I do (action), rather than, this is what you should be doing.

For unto us a Child is born; who brings Healing, Life and the Peace of the World.

Have a blessed Christmas and a joyful New Year.

Rev. David F. Mills

Church Services at Saint Mary the Virgin

The first Sunday in the month is .........................................Morning Prayer at 9.30am

The second Sunday in the month is ...................................Holy Communion at 8.00am

The third Sunday in the month is ........................................Morning Prayer at 9.30am

The forth Sunday (no service at Saint Mary) ......................We join the Chapel round the corner at 11.00am

If there is a 5th Sunday in the month ..................................We have a 10.30am Holy Communion Service

at one of the 5 Parishes in the Benefice.

Contact Robert Beck on 07769115575 to find out were this would be.

The Church Building

 

I am sitting quietly on my own in Winfarthing Church, it is the day of the Norfolk Churches Bike ride, and I am looking after the Noon to 1pm period. The Church has been a hive of activity this morning; people coming and going, arranging the flowers for tomorrows harvest service. People arriving on the bikes, stopping, chatting, laughing, whilst others are quietly cleaning and now back to the silence. People have gathered, met, shared their stories, recounted past adventures, remembered loved ones now departed; and shared their aches and pains; their joys and sorrows (just spilt a small quantity of coffee by my new lap top). Prayers have been said, formally and informally. Ordinary people doing normal everyday things. People being comfortable with each other and their surroundings.

Whilst at Oak Hill Theological College; for the Liturgy Module, I choose to do a 5,000-word essay on the usage of the Church building. How to adapt and improve what the building has to offer, meeting the needs and requirements of the people. The model I prefer is the medieval module, when at the time the Church building was one of the few substantial buildings in a Village. As the Church did not have pews, then the main part of the Church would have been where the cattle were kept for safety, where the Market would have been held. The one important rule was that the Sanctuary was all ways kept as the Sanctuary.

It is the Victorian model of pews in Churches and having to sit still and be quite; that seems to have implanted itself on the human psyche. The atmosphere of “thou shalt not” rather than of positive encouragement.

In the Diocese of Norwich, we have blessed / cursed with the number of medieval Churches.  How best can we utilise them? Using the space that they provide, whilst maintaining and improving worship of Almighty God?

At Burston Church, together with the Friends, we have a Youth Café, a monthly Luncheon club, formal suppers, talks, etc. Gissing Church because of its acoustics is considering replacing the choir stalls and putting in a concert platform, which would also meet with the liturgical principle of bring the Altar forward towards the people. Winfarthing are considering an Anglo - Saxon Historical Centre, which would also include a toilet and a small kitchen. Our aim, to keep a Praying Community presence within our villages.

 

Rev David F. Mills

CLEAR AS A BELL?  -  A NEW SOUND AT ST MARY’S 

When the church tower crumbled in 1753, the 5 bells, together weighing over one and a half tons, survived intact.  The parishioners obtained permission from the bishop to sell four, to pay for repairs to the west wall and rebuild the chancel.  The remaining treble bell, smallest of the five, was hung in a wooden bell cote (shown in Ladbroke’s lithograph (1820).  The bell was made at Darbie’s bell foundry in Ipswich, and is inscribed:  “IOHN DARBIE MADE ME 1683”.

                                                                     

In 1853 the Rector, Rev Temple Frere who came from a wealthy, philanthropic family in Roydon, undertook a major restoration, rebuildin g the chancel, lowering the nave roof, replacing thatch with slate, and erecting a new open sided bell cote.

In 1906 Arthur Ford, a Burston wheelwright, rebuilt the bell cote and rehung the bell. He also erected the weathercock (no compass points as the church is aligned E-W).


Unfortunately Mr Ford’s expertise was in wheels, not bells.  He used Iron to suspend the bell and positioned an axe shaped clapper to strike the bell’s side instead of the rim.  These errors increased the risk of cracking.

During the restoration of the church in 2016, close inspection of the bell from the scaffolding revealed a crack.  The grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund was insufficient to cover all the work required.  Special scaffolding with a pulley was needed strong enough to bear the weight of the bell.

The bell hangers, Kevin Baines and his son, found the crack to be serious, needing expert and costly repair, putting the whole project at risk. It also led to delay as there are now only two bell foundries in England, at Whitechapel and Newmarket, both with a waiting list. Also the bell cote had rotted and was in danger of crashing down, bringing the bell with it.  

Eventually the difficulties were overcome.  The bell was repaired in Newmarket and rehung with a new rounded clapper in January 2017, in the bell cote rebuilt by Richard Rumsby.  Peter Hyde kindly restored the weathercock finding a date 1892 punched into the tail. 

                                             

                    The repaired bell and new suspension bar and clapper                The restored weathercock  

 

The bell should now ring out loud and clear for many years to come.

Our thanks go to all who contributed to this project.  We are also grateful to the English Heritage Lottery Fund, the Paul Cattermole Fund for a grant of £1000, and the Friends of Burston Church for funding the scaffolding.

Powerless or Powerful.

I am slowly realizing that the older I get, the more I do not understand or comprehend how today’s society thinks, works, or acts. I have always regarded myself, as probably having a reasonable appreciation of sociology, which has hopefully benefitted my theological understanding. I have always been interested in human interaction and behaviour in relationship to the word of God. Put simply how does one respond to the word of God.

The longer I live, the less I understand about modern technology. Constant 24-hour rolling news. The desperate need, for some people to be to be a celebrity, or to be famous; rather than how to be a good person. The need for instantaneous reaction to a question or situation; without allowing the appropriate amount of time to consider a suitable response. 

The older I get; the more it seems that words like duty, honour, faithfulness, and obedience; fade away into the midst of time and words like gay and pride take on other and new substantial meanings.

I have always found 2nd Timothy, Chapter 1, verse 7 helpful “for God did not give us a spirit of Cowardice, (timidity) but rather a spirit of power, and love and self-discipline”. (NIV) The word used for power, has the same root meaning as the word dynamite. The word used for love, has the meaning of knowing the worst of a person and loving them to the highest extent. The same quality of love shown by Christ upon the cross. 

So, as it continues in verse 8 “Do not be ashamed, then of the testimony about our Lord………. but join with me in suffering for the gospel, relying on the power of God”.


Its aim is to provide practical help and advice on the widest possible range of matters that are PCC member's responsibility – funding from all sources for the mission and ministry of the church, and the care and maintenance of the building.

Copy this link to your browser:

https://www.dioceseofnorwich.org/download_file/1578/1575

BAT   WALK   

A small but enthusiastic group gathered on Friday 8 September 2017 to discover more about bats.

Lindsey Bilston gave a fascinating talk with excellent pictures and even showed us a mummified pipistrelle lying inside a matchbox.  We knew there were bats in the churchyard and (less welcome) in the church but most of us did not know they were pipistrelles.  Four other species have also been found in the churchyard.

These tiny creatures are the only mammals who can fly and have been shown to migrate between the Baltic States and Britain. The females deliver their babies, which are a quarter of the size of their mothers, while hanging upside down, which caused a few gasps from at least half the audience!

Between showers we went outside and, although they were mostly too small and quick to be easily visible, bat detectors enabled us to hear their clickety sounds as they flew overhead.

The watchers were fortified with coffee and cakes and helped to raise £65 for the upkeep of the church.

Summer outing was to Lowestoft for lunch at the Hatfield House Hotel, where we enjoyed fish and chips, lemon tart,and tea or coffee in their newly refurbished library. Our Simonds coach driver was a delightful Polish man, who joined us for lunch. We then had time to wander, or sit and enjoy the sea air, before our return journey to Burston.

Sybil

Every Thursday afternoon during school term Integrate Youth for Christ run a youth café at St. Mary the Virgin’s church in partnership with local churches. A place where young people of high school age (age 11-18) can relax and play games. There’s table-tennis, pool, xbox, wii, craft, football table, pizza and milkshakes and it’s completely free! (Unless you want to buy sweets from our tuck shop). There’s always a friendly atmosphere with very welcoming volunteers and it’s a great place to meet new friends and get to know other people in the village. It’s wonderful to see young people enjoying themselves in such a beautiful building.

We’d love to see you there from 3:45pm – 5:15pm, if you’d like more information on this or any other events that we run please visit www.integrateyfc.org.uk.

Contact number: Stephanie Richardson 01953 887396

The luncheon club meets at the church on the 4thThursday each month.  There are no particular criteria and all the local community are welcome. It is a very friendly club and has approximately 30 members at present, all of which are mainly retired folk.  It was formed in the 1990s and draws members from Burston and the surrounding villages.

Lunch comprises of a two course meal, usually a roast followed by a dessert and tea or coffee to complete the meal.

An auction of items which members bring may follow the meal, which could be anything from a tin of beans to home-made cake, clocks or pictures. The proceeds of the auction helps to fund a summer outing or Christmas meal for its members.

If you wish to join or require further information please contact Sybil Peck.

Sybil Peck

Telephone 01379 741410

At least Pastor Sam has a clean plate!

If you are interested in hiring St. Mary’s Church for a special event please contact Rachel Hobson on 07712 670928. Tables, chairs and tableware are available for hire. A buffet can also be provided.

Services - Sunday 11am and 6.30pm

Prayer Meeting - Tuesdays 8pm (call 741816 for details)

Jamie’s Gang (school age club) - Wednesdays 5pm- 6.30pm, in term time only.

Burston Chapel will be running a Christianity Explored Course early in 2017. CE is an informal and relaxed 7 weeks course for anyone who wants to know more about what Christians believe. You don’t need to know anything about the Bible, and you won’t be asked to pray or sing! You can ask questions, or just sit and listen with a cuppa and some cake. For more information please contact Sam Brinkley: sambrinkley@gmail.com or 01379 741816.

Parish Emergency Preparedness Plan

With winter upon us, I would like to reiterate my previous articles concerning our Parish Emergency Preparedness Plan, which covers Burston and Shimpling….to remind you of its existence and how you can contribute to it and use it should the need arise.

So why have a local emergency plan? Well, emergencies happen. The professional emergency responders will always have to prioritise those in greatest need during an emergency, especially where life is in danger. There will be times when you may be affected by an emergency but your life is not in immediate danger. During this time, you need to know how to help yourself and those around you. By becoming more resilient, you and our community can complement the work of the professional emergency responders and reduce the impact of an emergency on you and our community both in the short and long term.

As the local emergency coordinator, I hold a copy of the Plan which contains a database of those who have volunteered their services and/or the use of equipment or the provision of accommodation, etc. However, the Plan is overdue for review and with the resignation of my deputy, Andrew Grimley, I need to appoint a Deputy Emergency Coordinator to help with the review process. If you feel that this role could be for you then I would be pleased to have a chat with you to explain what is involved. I am extremely grateful to Andrew for his time as deputy.

I should stress again that in case of an emergency your first call must be to the professional emergency services via 999. My contact details are 0771 267 0926/lenhobson@bmn-management.com.

Do please let me know if you are interested in becoming involved in our local plan or if you have any queries concerning the plan itself.

Len Hobson

Emergency Coordinator

Events

REMEMBRANCE

One of my interests in life is reading Military History; I have always enjoyed History, and I am very proud of my CSE grade 1 in History. (yes, I am that Old). Unfortunately for me when I met with the Diocese of Rochester regarding ordination they would not accept my CSE 1 as an “O” level; but that is another story.

History for me is seeing how events, circumstances, ambition and greed affect human beings. Hopefully learning from the past and not making the same mistakes again. Armistice Day / Remembrance Sunday are important occasions personally, as I remember members of the Royal Corps of Signals, Queens Lancashire Regiment, and Norfolk Army Cadet Force who died in service. (One of them died whilst out on a Basic Fitness Test).

I like the motto of the Royal British Legion “Service not Self” whilst recognising the awful pain, hurt, mental and physical torment that our Women and Men can go through whilst simply doing their duty. I believe that our society should honour and respect them far more than we do.

For me Remembrance is recognising the supreme sacrifice made by others that we may simply live.

During the service of Holy Communion, I am always struck by the words of Jesus “Do this in remembrance of me”. It is in the acknowledging and remembering of what Christ achieved for us upon the Cross; that has a deep effect on me. He deliberately lays down his life for every single one of us and invites us to live a brand new life with Him, for Him.

(As Armistice Day falls on a Monday this year, I am hoping to be at St. MARY’S Tivetshall Church Yard, on Monday 11th November 10:50pm to take a Remembrance Service)

 

Rev. David F. Mills

Rector of the Winfarthing Group

(Former Army Chaplain).

 


Worship

Friends of Burston Church

This Association was formed 1995 “to preserve and protect for the public benefit Burston Church for recreation and leisure-time activities for the general public".  It is registered as a charity but is not involved in the ministry of the church.

The Friends meet 5 or 6 times a year, to organise events both to raise funds and to involve the village community.   We also offer a catering service to those who hire the church for their own functions.

 

We welcome new members.  Please contact one of our committee members:

Become a friend

Chair:

Norma Ajdukiewicz

ajduk@btinternet.com

01379 740595

Treasurer:

Anne Hyde

annechyde@gmail.com

01379 741414

Secretary:

Christine Stevens

c.stevens864@btinternet.com

01379 740505

Burston Church and the community

Burston Youth Café

Luncheon Club

Every Thursday afternoon during school term Integrate Youth for Christ run a youth café at St. Mary the Virgin’s church in partnership with local churches. A place where young people of high school age (age 11-18) can relax and play games. There’s table-tennis, pool, xbox, wii, craft, football table, pizza and milkshakes and it’s completely free! (Unless you want to buy sweets from our tuck shop). There’s always a friendly atmosphere with very welcoming volunteers and it’s a great place to meet new friends and get to know other people in the village. It’s wonderful to see young people enjoying themselves in such a beautiful building.

 

We’d love to see you there from 3:45pm – 5:15pm, if you’d like more information on this or any other events that we run please visit www.integrateyfc.org.uk.

 

The luncheon club meets at the church on the 4th Thursday each month.  There is no particular criteria and all the local community are welcome. It is a very friendly club and has approximately 30 members at present, all of which are mainly retired folk.  It was formed in the 1990’s and draws members from Burston and the surrounding villages.

 

Lunch comprises of a two course meal, usually a roast followed by a dessert and tea or coffee to complete the meal.

 

An auction of items which members bring may follow the meal, which could be anything from a tin of beans to home-made cake, clocks or pictures. The proceeds of the auction helps to fund a summer outing or Christmas meal for its members.

 

If you wish to join or require further information please contact Sybil Peck.

Email: dennis.peck123@btinternet.com

Telephone: 01379 741410

 

Burston Craft Group

The Parish Planet

Meets monthly at the Pavilion in Mill Road on the third Tuesday each month from 10-12. It is a small group who help each other to try different crafts. The theme in December is “Wreaths for Christmas” with lunch to follow each session.

 

For further information please phone Elaine Norman on 01379 740106

 

Chairman of the Parish Council

Nigel Frankland Telephone: 01379 644788

Email: nigelfrankland@btinternet.com

Our Village

 

Borstuna is recorded in the Domesday Book (1086): Bor (Scandinavian name) + tun - farm or house.

 

Held “in the Queen's gift” by Robert Malet, Lord of the Honour of Eye, Burston later became part of the manor of Brockdish. Until the dissolution the church was one of eleven under the patronage of the Augustinian Priory of Butley.

 

Our Parish

 

Burston is in the diocese of Norwich and the deanery of Redenhall.

 

Vicars and the more senior rectors of Burston can be traced back to C13 in the reign of Edward I (1272-1307), although there is no record of a church here before St Mary’s was built in C14 -15.

 

On 16 April 1433, when William Smythe was vicar, the prior resigned the impropriation.  Two days later Robert Syre was instituted as rector.  From then the parish had both a vicar and a rector until the resignation of Robert Syre in 1436, The prior then presented William Smythe as rector.  He continued his right of presentation until the dissolution of the monasteries (1535-39) when patronage passed to the crown.

The Parish register dates from C15 but a special register in C17 recorded:

 

"Buryals in the Parish of Burston ... in pursuance of an Act Intituled 'An Act on Burying in Woollen” after King Charles II in 1668, to revive the wool trade, decreed "no corpse ... shall be buried ... but in sheep's wool only" on pain of a £5 fine.

 

When Francis Smith was rector (1920-1930), the benefice was united with Shimpling until Shimpling church was placed in the care of The Churches Conservation Trust in 1987.

 

Burston now shares a rector with four other parishes: Gissing, Shelfanger, Tivetshall and Winfarthing.

 

.A Primitive Methodist Chapel was built in Mill Road in 1825.  Since 1950 it has been maintained by the Fellowship for Evangelising Britain's Villages.  Our church and chapel work closely together, sharing worship and other parish activities.

The Reformation

 

In C16, Henry VIII decreed that all images in churches, stained glass, shrines, and statues, were to be destroyed. During the Reformation reformers in E Anglia were zealous.  William Dowsing, active mainly in Suffolk in the early 1640s, reported at the end of a day’s work:

 

“…we did deface the font…we took up 13 superstitious brasses and ordered Moses and his rod and Aaron with his mitre to be taken down and 19 pictures on the windows.  The organ I broke and gave orders to break in pieces the carved work which I have seen done.”

 

At St Mary's:

The rood screen was removed.

A few steps of the rood stair remain.

Figures round the base of the font and also on the north door were defaced.

Some fragments of medieval glass survive in the east window.

The tower fell in 1754. Villagers could not raise £225 to rebuild it so permission was sought from the bishop to sell four bells, to Tibenham, to pay for repair of the wall. Bricks were cheaper than flint.

 

The chancel was rebuilt and a wooden turret to house the remaining bell.

From a Lithograph by Robert Ladbrooke c 1820

Restoration

 

In 1853 the Rector, Rev. Temple Frere, commissioned extensive restoration.  The roof of the nave was lowered, rebuilt and covered with slate. The medieval windows were replaced in the same style. The chancel was rebuilt, of brick faced with flint.

The vestry was added, and the porch built using medieval timbers in the roof.

Inside, a new floor of paments was laid.  Choir stalls and pews, and a pulpit were installed.

In 1995, thanks to an anonymous donor, the church was refurbished to encourage its use by the community; Victorian pews and choir stalls were removed and a wooden floor laid over the Victorian paments.

 

The north door was removed and an extension built, comprising a kitchen and a toilet with disabled access. Iron gates were installed between the nave and chancel on the site of the rood screen.

The Organ

In 1887, the year of the Queen’s Golden Jubilee, the Rector, Rev. Henry Littlewood, installed a fine organ, built by Henry Jones and Sons of London who built many organs for small churches and were known for combining new technology with traditional outward design.

 

The brass plaque on it read:

 

To the glory of Almighty GOD and as

Commemoration of the Great Jubilee

of her Most Gracious Majesty Queen Victoria

this Organ was given by the

Rev Henry Charles Littlewood MA

Parish Priest and Rector of Burston AD 1887

 

By the mid 1970s the organ was so severely damaged by woodworm, the organist had to tread warily to avoid falling through to the floor below. There was no money to rebuild it so it was sold and went to a church in Australia. Some of the proceeds paid for a new floor in the chancel.

In 2016 a generous grant from the English Heritage Lottery Fund and other donors enabled major repairs to the roof and building.  The stonework of the east window was repaired and the glass cleaned and releaded.

 

We hope the restored church will continue to serve the Burston community for many years.

Robert Ladbrooke (1768-1842) English landscape painter

He lived in Norwich and, with John Crome, founded the Norwich School of painters.

 

His "Views of the Churches of Norfolk," a series of over 650 lithographs, were published in five volumes in 1843.  A print from this of St Mary’s is in the church.

 

Rev Temple Frere  MA   1781-1859

 

Rector of St Mary’s Burston 1825 - 1854

 

He was the youngest son of John Frere.  The Frere family lived at Roydon Hall for most of the C18 and C19. They were wealthy and well known as benefactors.  There are many family monuments in the parish church at Roydon, Suffolk.

 

Temple and his wife Jane had six children. Three died young. The second son, Robert, became a physician, the third, Henry Temple, followed his father into the church and became Rector of Burston when his father retired.  His elder daughter, Catherine married a clergyman, Rev Edward Gordon.

 

Temple Frere was a curate at Roydon church for 11 years, becoming Rector in 1820 until his death in 1859.  In 1825 he also became Rector of Burston.

 

He was a Prebendary (Canon) at Westminster Abbey for 20 years and served as a magistrate for Norfolk and Suffolk for 30 years.

 

At Burston:

 

He brought with him a set of church plate, still used today: a chalice, a standing paten (for communion wafers) and an alms dish. (see Church Plate)

 

In 1841 he commissioned Lewis Vulliamy, an architect known for his churches and country houses, to build “a splendid rectory-house” (White’s  Directory 1854), now part of Partnership in Care, Burston House.

 

 

Burston Rectory

 

He was responsible for the restoration of St. Mary’s in 1853-4

 

White also records in 1854 “a neat National school, adjoining the church, is in course of erection, at the expense of the rector”. This was in use until 1874 when a school room was built in Station Road, now part of Burston Community Primary School, together with a school master’s house next to it, now privately owned.

Our History

Gallery

Our Church

 

The building of St Mary’s began with the nave in C14, in Perpendicular style, of flint and freestone.  There is no record of an earlier church although rectors are recorded in C13.

 

Over the next 100 years the chancel was added and a tower. Blomefield, in his History

of Norfolk in the early 1700s, describes a round tower with octagonal belfry, and a peal

of 5 bells.  The picture shows how the church might have looked then.

Inside the Church

 

The church has been a meeting place for the village for six centuries.  Burston has no village hall so in 1995 the building was refurbished to encourage use by the villagers not only for worship but for other community activities.

 

The pews and choir stalls were removed and a wooden floor laid.  The extension now provides a kitchen and a toilet with disabled access.  The chancel can be closed by wrought iron gates where the rood screen once stood.

The C19 roof of the nave is supported on three sets of wooden trusses each supporting two  vertical ‘queen-posts’.

The King James I coat of arms hangs on the west wall above the font. It is unusual in retaining its original frame with pediment. It was restored in 1963. The royal coat of arms were displayed for the first time in churches after King Henry VIII broke with Rome.

Below is the old north door, removed when the extension was built in 1995, providing a kitchen and toilet, with disabled access.

 

The niche in the wall beside the door probably held a vessel with water which had been blessed, for visitors to dip their fingers before making the sign of the cross as they entered.

The plain octagonal font is C14 and has figures of saints around the base which were defaced during the Reformation.  St Andrew can still be recognised with his cross.

 

The font cover was designed by Cyril Bromley of Burston for the millennium project in 2000.

On the north wall there is a record of rectors and vicars dating from C13

Nearby is the Roll of Honour listing the 38 men of Burston who fought in WWI.  The names of the 8 who died are marked with a flower.

There are also two individual war memorial plaques.

 

The stone for Herbert Garnham was erected by his uncle, Mr Ford.  The Garnham family were involved in the Burston School Strike in which the rector, Rev Eland, played a prominent role.  Herbert’s father declared he would have no memorial to his son in this church and attacked it with a hammer, cracking it across the left upper corner.  He also swore at the rector.  He was sent to prison for a month.

The banners on the walls were embroidered by members of the parish.

 

The C19 pulpit is carved in Gothic style.  Behind it a door opens onto the few remaining steps of the stair to the top of the rood screen, lost in the Reformation.

The reading desk beside it comes from the C19 choir stalls, removed in 1995.

The chancel was largely rebuilt in 1853 – 4.  The gates at the entrance were installed in 1995.

 

The east window was erected in 1945.  It is unsigned and the donor has not been identified.  The Virgin stands among lilies, holding the Christ child.  Her foot is on a serpent, with an apple nearby, symbolising victory over sin.  A heavenly crown sheds light above her head.

 

On the two shields are IHS, the Greek letters for JESus and PX for CHRist.

There are fragments of medieval glass in the foils

The brass alongside refers to the wooden frame round the wall paintings. The central part has been removed.

The wall paintings date from 1854 and extended round the walls to the altar rail.  They have suffered from damp and those on the side walls have been covered with lime wash.  The lily is symbolic of the Virgin Mary to whom the church is dedicated.  Our logo is based on these.

Just below the roof is a finely painted frieze, in need of restoration, which reads

 

PRAISE YE THE LORD FOR HE IS GOOD FOR HIS MERCY ENDURETH FOR EVER

 

 

And on the other wall

 

O BLESS OUR GOD YE PEOPLE AND MAKE THE VOICE OF HIS PRAISE TO BE HEARD

 

 

The paments on the floor were laid in 1970s.  They come from Tottingham, one of five parishes near Thetford forest requisitioned at the start of WWII when the area was needed for military training.  The villagers expected to return after the war but were not allowed.  The churches became redundant.

The piscina would originally have had a hollow in the base, with a drainage hole, for the priest to wash his hands in the Roman Catholic Mass. The chancel has been rebuilt twice since the reformation.  It is not certain whether the piscina survived or was put here by Rev Temple Frere to emphasise the medieval character of the church.

The altar rail is C19 as is the altar table.  A Jacobean table was stolen.

The Glastonbury chair, known as the Bishop’s chair, is inscribed with a date: April 16th 1854.

 

This may perhaps mark the completion of the restoration of the church or the installation of Henry Temple Frere as rector on his father’s retirement.

The chest, perhaps C17, has chip decoration on the corners and lid. It probably housed vestments and valuables.

In the vestry the cinquefoil window has Victorian glass but the centre is older, possibly pre-Reformation.

Church Plate

 

In the Reformation, valuable church plate or communion vessels were confiscated and sold or melted down.  Since then St Mary’s has acquired 2 sets of silver plate, which have been placed in Norwich Cathedral Treasury for safe keeping.

 

One was donated by Rev Temple Frere in 1840: early C19 chalice, alms dish, and standing paten (dish for communion wafers).  The first two appear to have been transferred from Roydon where he was also Rector. All are engraved with a similar device: a “sunburst” surrounding IHS (Greek for JESus) with a cross above and 3 nails below (symbols of Christ’s Passion).

 

Chalice     Hallmark: London 1820 CF        Height 232mm, diameter at lip 108mm, at base 93mm

                 On side of base:  TEMPLE FRERE    BURSTON 1840  (signs of erasure under BURSTON)

Alms dish   Hallmark: London 1822  R       Diameter 250mm

                    On base  BURSTON  (+ faintly)  ROYDON 1840

 

Standing paten    Hallmark: London 1838 CF     Diameter 215mm, at base 95mm

                               On side of base:  TEMPLE FRERE   BURSTON   1840

Another chalice and paten with a circular box for holding communion wafers all from early C20.    The box has a cross engraved on the lid.

Paten covers

 

It is not known who donated our two paten covers nor who made them. Both are hand embroidered on silk.  The floral panel has silver thread.

The churchyard

 

St Mary's church has changed little in appearance since its restoration in 1853-4.

 

The west wall was repaired with bricks after the tower fell in 1754.  Near here is the grave of Tom Potter, the little brother of Violet Potter who led the schoolchildren in the Burston School Strike in April 1914.  A true disciple of Tom Higdon, he was a lifetime member of the Communist Party.  He kept the village shop on the Green for many years.

The chancel and vestry date from 1853-4. The cross on the vestry roof appears older than the surrounding stonework and was perhaps preserved during the 1853 restoration.

The porch also built in 1853 – 4 contains medieval timbers in the roof and provides a roost for bats.

 

Parts of the churchyard have been designated conservation areas since 1984 with many wild flowers and also animals including frogs and slowworms.  These areas are only cut twice a year.

Towards the corner between the road and the Green are the graves of Annie and Tom Higdon.

 

Christian Socialists, the Higdons were innovative teachers at the primary school.  After their dismissal in 1914, the children began a strike to get their teachers back.  The Higdons started the Strike School which only closed in 1939 when Tom died.  Their story of the Burston Strike is told in the Strike School building nearby on the Green.

The church bell

 

The 1552 inventory records 4 bells of 4cwt, 6 cwt, 8 cwt and 12 cwt

The earliest terrier (inventory) 1706 records 5 bells

 

Blomefield visited in the early 1700s and describes (vol 1; 26) a round tower with an octagonal belfry and gives the inscription on one bell:

Quaesumus Andrea Famulorum suscipe vota

We pray thee Andrew receive the vows of thy servants

 

The bell we now have is the treble of the 5, inscribed IOHN DARBIE MADE ME 1683

The other bells were sold after the tower fell, to pay for repairs and the rebuilding of the chancel.

The bell turret was built in 1906 by Arthur Ford of Burston (Paul Cattermole: Church bells of Norfolk) who rehung the bell and erected the weathercock.

 

In 2016 the bell was found to be cracked.  It was repaired and rehung.

The weathercock was probably forged in the village and is dated 1892.  It too was renovated in 2016, by Peter Hyde of Burston.

Rev. David F. Mills,

LCGI, The Rectory,

Church Lane,

Winfarthing,

Diss, Norfolk,

IP22 2EA

 

(01379) 643646

revdfmills1812@gmail.com

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