What a fantastic day to finally escape into the countyside on Quest 31a, squeezed in unexpectedly as we carefully move out of lockdown. We last quested a whole year ago and due to covid restrictions all the quests have been put on hold, so it was wonderful to finally be out and about in Norfolk on the 31st March 2021!

The main subject of todays quest is the Batram Bloodline: ‘the Brandenburg Batrams’, a line and a name with many mysterious meanings, which will take us back into Europe, to Italy and Gemany in particular, on our Quest for the Grail and it’s meaning upon this earthly plane.

Bartram, Battram, Barthram, are the main surnames associated with the German origin of ‘Bertram’, which means ‘Famous Raven’. The Famous Raven is often referred to as the ‘Phoenix’. Very interesting topics of discusion and research are beginning to reveal themselves here. Brandenburg is just West of Berlin and the origins of this Bartram line.

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QUEST 31a: All Saints Church, Dickleburgh, Diss: It was a gorgeous and sunny spring day and the drive out to Norfolk could not have been better, with green shoots and leaves spurting forth with new growth, and the sound of birdsong all around these quiet country lanes. The Parish of Dickleburgh is found about 6 miles north-east from Diss, close to the Norfolk/Suffolk border. It lies on the old Roman road to Caistor St Edmunds. Dickleburgh is well serviced, with All Saints Church, a busy little village store, a pub, a large playing field and other village type amenities.

The village’s name either means ‘Dicel’s or Dicla’s fortification’, or more specifically could also mean a place-name; Dic-leah, ‘wood/clearing of Diss’ or ‘ditch wood/clearing’. The name is also said to derive from an Irish monk by the name of Dicul who had a brief settlement (burgh) in the area in the late 6th century, nothing of which survives today. Although unconfirmed, this may be the same Dicul monk quoted by the Venerable Bede (673-735) in his “Ecclesiastical History of the Anglian Nation”. He tells the story of the conversion of the South Saxons and mentions the Irish monk, Dicul, who had a small monastery in ‘Boshanhamm’, which today is Bosham in Chichester, West Sussex. Dickleburgh is part of the parish of Dickleburgh and Rushall in the county of Norfolk and District of South Norfolk.

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

The church is 500 years old and has interestingly been in the patronage of Trinity College, Cambridge since the seventeenth century. It is a grade one listed building, built around 1503 and of course a sacred site was there long before the actual building. It seemed to a very lively church, important to the community, and the folks tending the church and graveyard could not have been more helpful and freindly.

It was the Bartram line we were researching on this day, and straight away the family tombstones revealed themselves to us! <click to enlarge>

The church consists of a chancel, nave, vestry, west tower and south porch. The walls are made of flint and freestone quoins and execpt for the tower, are strengthened with buttresses.

There is a new and impressive looking organ inside and a stunningly beautiful east window containing many musical-intrument playing angels, and a transfiguration of the ascension scene plus other figures from the bible. The octagonal font is of particualar interest, especially to us, for Grail clues are hidden there…. Although what the genreal public sees are the shields of the Holy Trinty, Bury Abbey (with three crowns), the Passion, (with cross, spear, reed with sponge, nails and whip) and the blessed sacrement (with three chalices). Around the base are alternating lions and ‘wildmen’ with clubs.

Upon the ornate entrance to the church are more important and useful symbols for joining more of the dots of our quests.

The church has a lot of its original woodwork, a beautiful east window full of detail and a rather interesting screen at the end of the altar pews, upon the various plaques and lists upon the inside walls are to be found the Batram names,  and of course a very lovely and peaceful energy there. There are a few military references both in and outside the church. So what a good start to the day with much knowledge gained.

Grail Bloodline Connections:

  • Samuel Bartram 1726-1801 (7xGGF)
  • Barnabus Bartram 1795-1878 (5xGGF)
  • Henry Bartram 1826-1909 (4xGGF) Moved to Barnet, Middlesex-thus the start of the ‘London Line’

St John the Baptist Church Bressingham: Our second visit of the day was to the village and civil parish of Bressinham in Norfolk. The name Bressingham is of Anglo-Saxon origin and refers to the homestead of Briosa’s people. This town of Bressingham was given by Osulph le Sire, and the lady Laverine, or Leofrine, his wife, to the abbey of St. Edmund’s in Bury in about 963. By the time of Edward the Confessor, the abbey owned slightly more than half the town; the rest being owned by Almar, the Bishop of Elmham. Almar’s part was also a manor, and held in William the Conquerors time by Roger Bigod, 1st Earl of Norfolk.  The town was then two miles long, and a mile and a half broad, it extended at that time into Shimpling, Fersfield, Shelfhanger and Roydon.

Sadly we were unable to gain access to inside the church, although we could have phoned for private prayer but decided to move on. The link below has a good selection of photos for you and an interesting write up too.

http://www.norfolkchurches.co.uk/bressingham/bressingham.htm

The origins of the church date from around 1286; it being a medieval parish church dating mainly from the 14th and 15th centuries. It has an important set of carved pews, which probably date from he 16th century, act of mercy. The chancel is 13th century with the tower being rebuilt in the 1440s, the nave and aisles in 1480-1527; these may incorporate the 14th century very fine carved nave roof. The chancel roof is 18th century with a 19th century restoration. The important set of pews mentioned, have carved end panels in a 16th century style featuring defaced figures representing acts of mercy and deadly sins. The boxed pews are examples of 17th century woodwork.

Interestingly one of the tombs in the graveyard caught our eyes. For it had a rather Roman style and feel to it, with two pillars at each end that alluded to Boaz and Joachim. In the central area were the ‘four quarters of the sun’ something very rarely mentioned, and yet the design could also be shells – a Fisher King connection maybe and worth some more research. Also in the window of this historic church was to be found the enigmatic ‘Raven Symbol’, almost signposting the way to Germany for us….

The tomb with the Fisher King and Roman Connection <please click to enlarge>

Grail Bloodline Connections:

  • Jonathan Bartram 1699(Billingford) – 1783(Dickleford) with an association to Bressinham (8xGGF)

St Mary the Virgin Church Pulham St Mary: Now at our third church of the day, we were really enjoying being out in the sunshine, and having a lovely sense of freedom after being cooped up because of Covid for so long. However still being very safe with masks and santizers and of course always keeping our distance. Pulham Saint Mary is a small village and civil parish in Norfolk, about 8 miles from Diss. Old maps and documents name the parish or village “Pulham Saint Mary the Virgin”, the latter two words are in modern times dropped, and Saint is typically abbreviated. The earliest recorded spelling is Polleham. Pulham is referenced in the  Domesday Book as a single manor (Pulham St Mary with what is today called Pulham Market) and being part of the Earsham hundred. The name Pulham is thought to mean the farmhouse, homestead or enclosure by the pool, water meadow or stream. There is a ‘beck’ (Norfolk dialect for a small watercourse) that flows by both villages. The Romans may have had a settlement in Pulham St Mary as pieces of Roman tile, coin and oyster shells have been found in the area. In 1912 under conditions of secrecy a large base, RNAS Pulham, was constructed for the operation of airships, given the nickname locally of “Pulham Pigs”. RNAS Pulham operated as a Royal Navy base until 1918 when it was transferred to the new Royal Air Force.

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

The Domesday book of 1080 mentions an Anglo Saxon church in Pulham, but there is no trace of it today. The church of St Mary the Virgin which gives the village the ‘St Mary’ of its name, is believed to date back from 1253. The parish church is of flint construction with parts that date back to the thirteenth century. It is mainly perpendicular in style, has a square tower with 8 bells, and was restored by Bodley in the late 19th century, although many of the original features still remain. The church registers date back to 1538. The impressive porch, built about 1478, was described by Nikolaus Pevsner as ‘something phenomenal’.  It is decorated with large figures of angels and other images and the pierced parapet is comparable to work at both Blythburgh and Attleborough churches.

We could not get inside the church to see the many interesting features inside, including a 15th/16th century stone font whose decoration was plastered over to prevent mutilation from Cromwell’s men and was only discovered during restoration in the late 19th century. The screen, partly medieval and partly restored, has large painted panels filled with 15th century images of the Apostles. The chancel is the oldest part of the church and contains some very important early English features including a double piscina in the south wall. It is thought to date from the 13th century and is very rare in Norfolk churches. Other notable features include the 15th century benches, a 16th century lectern and some glass dating back to the 14th century, indicating the fine windows that existed from a very early date. There is also evidence of the presence of the old Guild Chapel which once stood on the site of the present vestry. It was rebuilt in the centre of the village in 1401 and is now part of the Pennoyer Centre.

http://www.norfolkchurches.co.uk/pulhamstmary/pulhamstmary.htm

But of the utmost importance and relevance to us of Craft, is the famous and stunning late 15th century porch and the ‘library’ of Craft information around the porch. The tower and porch work together to create a sense of grandeur, with many ‘riddles’ intertwined there in plain sight. The porch is actually magnificent, not least because it hides within its carvings some very important Grail clues. Hidden amongs the ranks of angels on one side holding shields, and angels with musical instruments within their niches on the other, could be hidden some of the most important clues we have yet experienced. The angels on the west side play wind instruments, while those to the east play stringed instruments. Pride of place, in the spandrels of the doorway, is the Annuciation, of the highest artistic quality and in amazing condition. Also aparently the stained glass windows in the porch have clues to the Grail, which sadly i missed on this occasion…

Just look above at this amazing porch and try to unravel all the clues hidden there…. <click to enlarge – you will really want to!>

The Grail is indeed a mystery and it has been so for many centuries; over the years it has been purported to be many things, such as the son of Christ, a chalice, or vessel of some description. But the truth is, the Grail was in fact never meant to be found, so the only person who would ever find the Grail, would be the winner of all space and time! Only time and further quests will tell…. So the Grail Quest continues, not only looking for the Grail itself but for the meaning of the Grail, something that is overlooked by many. What is interesting, at the front of the porch here is a link via the artefacts and engravings, that directly link this church to a church in North-East Italy, which we hope to go to sometime within the next year – coronavirus permitting of course. So a question remains which i will leave with you, is it not so much that people are so busy living full yet shallow lives that they know nothing of the Grail or is this how things are actually meant to be and the Grail is not meant to be found….?

   

A library of info above our heads….

Grail Bloodline Connections:

  • Erasmus Bartram 1768(Pulham Market) – 1854(Dis, Norfolk) (6xGGF)

St Peter Church Billingford: This is such a very pretty area, very green and lush, very open with lots of winding lanes and small villages and today the area looked stunning, although i imagine it could be harsh in wintertime. Billingford, a village and civil parish in the Breckland district of Norfolk, about 3 12 miles north of East Dereham. The village is just north of the River Wensum, which forms the southern boundary of the parish. West of the village, between Elmham Road and the River Wensum, is the site of a Romana-British settlement. The site is unusual in having evidence that occupation continued into the early Anglo-Saxon period. Artefacts recovered from the site include a gold amulet. The Domesday Book of 1086 records the toponymas Billinge-forda. An entry for 1212 in the Boof of Fees records it as Billingeford. It is derived from Old English and means “the ford of Billa’s people”.

Lovely sentiment from the churches porch

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Billingford,_Breckland

https://www.heritage.norfolk.gov.uk/record-details?TNF168-Billingford-(Breckland)-(Parish-Summary)

http://www.norfolkchurches.co.uk/billingford/billingford2.htm

 

St Peter Church Billingford on an incline yet hidden away in a bend in the road, showing two ‘Clarke’ tomstones in the graveyard <click to enlarge>

The church is very much hidden away, standing on a hill to the north of the village and only presenting itself when almost upon it, in an interesting curve in the road. How lucky we were to find it open and to discover that it is usually always open; how wonderfully refreshing in these times. The earliest part of the church of St Peter is the baptismal font, which is 13th-century, yet the actual origins of the church are around 1300AD, and according to the records on the wall, there was a rector here in 1250, so the church is older than that. The present building is largely 14th-century, built of flint with an octagonal west tower and is a Grade 1 listed building. The tower is one of Norfolks half a dozen or so octagonal towers, with the church being mostly 14th century with a couple of later windows. Tall Victorian benches fill the middle of the nave, which although unusual is not unique, there is no central walkway, creating a different sense of feeling inside, together with the eastward slope.

 

Also unusual and much older than it looks, is the rather wonderful font with its sloping octagonal bowl and sides carved with sets of sixteen double arches. The font is said to be so old that it may even pre-date the church and have come from somewhere else or even from an earlier building on the site. Also wonderfully beautiful is the 16th century giant latten lecturn, depicting an eagle standing on an orb. Norfolk has ten of these and interestingly this is a rare unpolished one, creating a different effect to it. The east window here, showing the transfiguration has replaced a much larger one, which can be seen be the changes in the plasterwork. Sadly though there were many artifacts from the church that have ‘been lost in time’, probably do to rebellions, wars and attacks on the church, which sadly has happened a lot in the past. The whole church is very well preserved and one gets a true sense of the period, of the times, apart sadly from the artworks that have been removed. One cant help but wonder, where in the world today are all these wonderful and meaningful peices of art that have been removed from our churches. I did notice when travelling in Ireland and Europe that the churches there are still full of their wonderful and ancient peices of art that allude to a time of a much different christianity than of today and which display clues to a much deeper and maybe even darker kind of worship. An interesting thought then at why maybe ancient artworks are no longer in our churches….

In respect of the quest bloodlines, there is a ‘Charles Ford’ on the wooden wall plaque near the font; the Fords as we know eventually ended up in London. There is much original woodwork in the church and some very old carvings around the high altar, all in an amazing state of preservation and the video below shows all this up very well. The church name banner hanging at the side of the altar shows the Alpha to Omega, but also the ‘M U’ sign, taking one back to the Sumerian connection. Upon the altar i think we translated the words wrongly and it actually is “My Peace I Give Unto You”- see the photo or video and decide for your selves.

Woodwork and carvings all amazingly presevered and give an essence of ‘past time and place’

Grail Bloodline Connections:

  • Jonathan Batram 1695(Billingford) – 1783(Dickleburgh) (8xGGF)

Church of St Mary Magdalene Beetly: Beetley is a village and civil parish in the Breckland district of Norfolk and situated four miles north of Toftwood. Beetley was part of the Manor of Elmham, held by William Beaufoe, Bishop of Thetford, with the name deriving from the two Anglo Saxon words betel and bietel, both words applying to a clearing where wooden mallets are made. Beetley was then part of the parish of Bittering Magna, however the Parish divided into Beetley and Gressenhall. Beetley was then combined together with the neighbouring parish of East Bilney in 1935.

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

Sadly we could not gain access to the church, even though the Rectory was just next door, so a stroll around the graveyard needed to suffice. The Church is believed to be built on the site mentioned in the Doomsday Book (1087) and is dated to 1320, with it’s origins going back to 1401 AD. It is a grade 1 listed building and like many of these ancient churches, seemingly tucked away off the beaten track. The tower of the church was heightened in the 16th Century, with the north isle being demolished in the 18th century and with windows being installed in the wall. It is built of ashlar and some brick dressings. From the photos online the church looks very simple in decor inside, but apart from that without going inside it is hard to comment. In the graveyard were some tombs within cast-iron railings, one of which was a Templar grave marked by a mysterious and intriging ‘Templar Stone’ The church is said to be set on a interesting ‘Cross-Junction’ of magnetic fields, linking to the Grail and to that of Brandenburg in Germany. Sadly howerver we did not pick up on any energy at all there, so can only assume the particular ‘energy’ that was there, is now no longer so.

The fenced off graves showing the mysterious’Templar Stone…. <click to enlarge>

https://www.derehamanddistrictteam.org.uk/our-churches73257/st-mary-magdalen-beetley/

http://www.norfolkchurches.co.uk/beetley/beetley.htm

Grail Bloodline Connections: The connections here are that of the Grail itself and of the clues today that presented themselves to us, guiding us on our forthcoming journey and quest to Germany and Italy, where can jin some more of those hidden dots…..

To those of us whom are observant, especially of Craft, feathers can often appear out of nowhere, bringing deep and profound messages from the angelic realms, whom are always watching, always observing…

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April 2021 The Quests continue….

‘The Keeper of Scrolls’

<moon.willow@ntlworld.com>