Sunday, 21 August 2011

North Pickenham - Saint Andrew

"Entrance to the vault"
© Godric Godricson
 The parish Church is a rather sad looking exterior. The predictable result of Victorian re-modelling. There is an enigmatic stone cut sign on the north side which reads “Entrance to the vault” and one can only imagine what is in the vault. I imagine this is the ossuary from the ancient building at North Pickenham.

The recent works in the Church meant that the floor was partially dug up and this lead to the grisly sight of small pieces of bone being deposited on the wall as men wheelbarrowed spoil to a skip outside. 800 years or so of intramural inhumation (burials in Churches) means that there is probably a large amount of disarticulated bone in the building either under the floor  or in the backfill of various works.

The "garden shed" at Saint Andrew
© Godric Godricson
 Outside, the cemetery is rather dire although still in use with burials taking place. The monuments are not special and speak of a sort of ‘normal’ experience whereby people are born, they live and they die. Largely without memorials, the people of North Pickenham are laid to rest regularly and without fuss. When the sandstone memorials break they are placed around the wall although there is none of the mass cemetery clearances seen in other parishes.

Coffin shaped monument
covered in grass clippings
© Godric Godricson

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