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Bixley Saint Wandregeselius Church Ruin



Bixley Saint Wandregeselius Church Ruin, A shady lane brings us to the church on the edge of a field of oaks and gives us a sight of the cathedral spire three miles away. The churchyard is brightened by clumps of gold in daffodil time and it has a ring of firs growing taller than the tower. The tower comes chiefly from the 13th century and has no belfry windows other than small sound holes. The rest of the plain little building is 19th century and has taken the place of a church built in 1272 by William of Dunwich, Bailiff of Norwich, to whom there is an ancient stone against an outside wall. Other old relics are the simple screen with tracery above bays open to the floor and memorials to one of Bixley's old families, the Wards. An Elizabethan monument shows a sculptured group of a father kneeling with nine sons behind him, and the mother with three daighters. Two memorials with cherubs tell of sorrow that fell on the family in the 18th century. One is to Sir Randal Ward who fell a victim to the rage of an unrelenting fever, and the other to Sir Edward Ward who died of fever when 21. Bixley Saint Wandregeselius Church, is the only one in England dedicated to a saint with the odd name of Wandregesilus, Pilgrims were made to Saint Wandrede of Byskely in the Middle Ages. Often known as Saint Wando. The saint began his career at the Frankish Court, but repelling against its luxury, he left the palace and became a monk. The King recalled him, and Waldo started to obey, but as he was returning through the streets of Metz he came upon a carter trying to extricate his horse from the mud. Waldo helped him out, covering himself with mud, and on seeing his mud stained clothes the King praised his noble action and set him free. After a pilgrimage to Rome, and ten solitary years in the Jura Mountains. Waldo went the Rouen, and five miles from the city, at a spot called Fontonelles, founded a settlement for 300 monks. For 20 years he governed it until he died in 667, and was buried in the monastery he had founded.

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