THE PRIORY INVESTIGATES…

ST MARY’S CHURCH, AKENHAM SUFFOLK

St Mary’s Church situated near Akenham in Suffolk really is right off the beaten track; up the grass track in fact. It winds past Rise Hall (formely Rice Hall); one of the church’s ancient manors and nestles timelessly in the beautifully serene English countryside or so it would seem. For this lovely little almost abandoned church does hold some secrets to a very interesting past. It also has the nickname of ‘St Mary’s in the Fields’, standing on a rise amidst the meadows, over a quarter of a mile from the nearest road and so a challenge in itself to actually locate it in the first place. Once at St Mary’s the vews across the surrounding coutryside are truly stunning. But yet again another church that seemingly no-one wants ‘outsiders’ to find and like Borley Church there are no road signs or direction to it. We ended up having to ask  directions a few times to folks who seemed reticent to give them.

So thus St Mary’s here became quest number three…

To read more about the church and it’s history please see the links below:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/St_Mary’s_Church,_Akenham

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Akenham

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This flint-towered church from the later middle ages lies hidden in the heart of the rural English countryside.

There are several interesting tales about St Mary’s church; stories of  strange ‘happenings’ ocurring; people seeing ‘ghosts’ appearing at the church windows and as was mentioned breifly in the previous clip, the bombings of world war two and reports from the village of the bells ringing for no reason. It has even been said that one can ‘raise the devil’ by walking thirteen times widdershins around the church – well we are going to put all this to the test later.

Obviously the church is clearly not in use and is curently beeing restored to its former glory. What is further interesting is that Queen Mary 1st of England, King Henry 8th’s and Catherine of Aragon’s daughter was quiet heavely envolved in this particular area of the land. It is interesting to note that when we went to Borley Church, Sir Edward Walgrave, who was buried in one of the tombs there, inside of the church, was the chief adviser to Queen Mary 1st and when she had her coronation, it was at this very church, St Mary’s of Akenham pretty much in the middle of nowhere, that there was a major celebraton to mark her coronation on becoming Queen after Henry died. There was also another ‘mystery’, that of a very young child who had died and who was buried not in the graveyard, but on the actual boundary of the church.

The church was actually built, we think in the thirtenth century but there are reports of another church on this site pre the thirteenth century  but we cannot be sure that this is fact. What is more important is that the church was involved under the ‘Burial Reformation Act’ in one of the most major cases of the time in England. This act gave people the right to be buried and it all came about because of a man named Drury who was a a reverend here; he was very devout to his religon and faith and the last of the ‘line’ of reverends who shared the same name.The case is quiet well known and has been documented in many publications over the years.

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The Strange Tale of Little Joseph Ramsey:

One of the most interesting stories is the fascinating account of  a young lad called Joseph Ramsey who died when he was only two years old, in according to varying accounts, in quite suspicous circumstances. Because he was classed as what is known as a ‘non conformist’ he was not allowed to be buried within the church and it was agreed between Drury and the other reverend that Joseph could be buried on the outer part of the fences of the church boundary. But something happened for Rev Drury to agree to bury this poor lad in the church but on unsanctified ground. There is a small gravestone to the edge of the church boundary which to all intents and purposes seems to be Joseph’s gravestone and many people of the nineteenth century believed this to be so but in fact this is NOT his stone; his small stone which is said to have been blown down by the wind and was subsequently moved and re-erected is to be found even further out still.

See our Youtube link to discover more about the tale and the mystery of little Joseph Ramsey….

Part Two: Raising the Devil to follow…

If you are interested in joining us in our quests please leave a message here or email s:

moon.willow@ntlworld.com

or if you are interested in joining The Priory itself please see this link:

http://priory7.wix.com/priory