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Billingford Saint Peter Church NR20 4AJ continued.


Billingford Saint Peter Church, near East Dereham, octagonal west tower, 1 bell, nave with aisles, chancel and south porch. The work is mainly Perpendicular throughout.The clerestory windows are circular. There are piscina both in the chancel and north aisle, showing that the latter was once a side chapel. At the south door are remains of a holy water stoup. (Messent)
Billingford Saint Peter, west tower, south porch, nave, north and south aisles and chancel. The tower is notable, being octagonal with two buttresses and probably 14th century. A good church but modernised. Late 13th century octagonal font with bowl supported by pillars. 14th century arcades, three quatrefoil clerestory windows on each side. Some of the tracery of a former square-headed screen  are incorporated with the easternmost nave benches. Good medieval lectern made of latten. (H.Munro. Cautley) much of the fine lofty church is of of Sir Simon Burley's day, a favourite of the Black Prince, minister, and ambassador of Richard the second, a man having the honour of bringing Anne from Bohemia to England to be Queen. But honour and wealth passed from him, and he died far away from Billingford. Losing his head on Tower Hill.  In some histories, Sir Simon Burley figures as the trigger for the explosion of the English Peasant's Revolt in 1381 in the county of Kent. In the story related by the Anonimalle Chronicle, Simon Burley appeared in Gravesend with two sergeants on June 3, 1381, and laid claim that one of its residents, a certain Robert Belling (or Bellyng), was his runaway bondsman. When the townsfolk of Gravesend pleaded with Burley on the man's behalf, Burley demanded £300 in silver for manumission. It was an enormous sum that Belling could not afford nor his Gravesend supporters raise for his release, so Burley ordered the royal sergeants to arrest Belling and confine him to nearby Rochester Castle until the money was raised. This incident hit a nerve in the region, long tired of corruption and abuses by royal officials, and led directly to a riot in Dartford (just seven miles from Gravesend) the next day. An armed band was raised that would go on to attack Rochester Castle on June 6 and spring Robert Belling out of jail. Wat Tyler would be elected leader of this Kentish rebel band a few days later. There are a few problems with the Anonimalle story. Firstly, Simon Burley was abroad at the time, negotiating the king's marriage with Anne of Bohemia, and so could not have appeared at Gravesend in person. Secondly, uniquely among English counties, villein service was not practiced in Kent at the time. Nonetheless, the release of Robert Belling from Rochester is well-attested in other sources. So it is possible that Belling may have run away from Burley's estates in another county (e.g Essex), and that the claim in Gravesend was carried out by another official in Burley's name.


Billingford Saint Peter Church, Postcode: NR20 4AJ
 
 
 Anne of Bohemia by the Old Boi.