In an effort to get out into the fresh air and not be within 6 feet of another living soul we headed out to East Bilney church and churchyard. A pretty little hamlet, saw a couple of Norfolk flint and brick houses I could easily covet, and a stunning Tudor wood framed house, which I guess might need more than the usual upkeep so would just like to look at it. Maybe when my premium bonds come up…..?
East Bilney is nowhere near West Bilney, being county based rather than which village comes first as you drive down a road. It happens a lot here, not easy when you are house hunting and, at that stage, never heard of half these places although I did know where West Bilney was, near to where an aunt lived. To confuse further, East Dereham, mostly known as Dereham, is nowhere near West Dereham which is nothing more than a hamlet unlike its East counterpart; and again near where another aunt lived so I did know of that one too. But our house search covered much of Norfolk and the map reader did take us off in the wrong direction once or twice.
To confuse further, East Bilney church is actually in Beetley but I think there’s probably only a line on the map between the two and Beetley does have more of a centre up the road. I could see it was flint and tile, flint, with or without brick or another material, is very common in Norfolk, there’s a lot of it about so it was a natural material to use, but there was little else to inform as the church (as all are) is closed due to Covid 19. However, a quick Google (when did that officially become a verb?) tells me “The top of the original tower of this medieval church was destroyed in 1549 and by the 19th century the entire chancel had collapsed. The structure was rebuilt during the Victorian period broadly on the same footprint as the earlier church. The tower was rebuilt to its original height in 1902. The interior has rare Jacobean panelling. In 1905 an urn containing ashes was found and claimed to be the remains of Thomas Bilney, the first Protestant martyr in England, but there is no evidence for this and it was more probably a pre-Christian burial.”
It’s a cold wind today, despite what the sunshine tells you so we’ll go back and explore more when things return to ‘normal’ (I actually think in time we will go back to ‘normal’, people have short memories). Meanwhile a few pictures of the area, it’s really rather pretty here.