James Marston: How many churches are there in Suffolk?

James Marston is visiting every church in Suffolk

James Marston is visiting every church in Suffolk - Credit: Lucy Taylor

Every now and again, when I am early for an appointment somewhere in Suffolk, I pop into a village church and have a look around, explains columnist James Marston.

And my ambition is to tick off all the village churches in Suffolk.

So far I’ve been to Horringer, Blythburgh, Bacton, Stowupland, Bradfield Combust (I think), Ousden, Waldringfield, Laxfield, Brent Eleigh, Dennington, Beck Row, Great Finborough, Shotley, Levington, Erwarton, and even the chapel at Hollesley Bay prison.

This week I found myself in St Peter’s, Charsfield.

It is a very charming and

very nicely kept building, I must say ? not to mention peaceful.

I noted that there is a spiral staircase that leads to nowhere in the wall – testament to 16th century reforms no doubt – and a rather nice Tudor porch.

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After a mooch about I popped along to Potsford Farm – a care farm that is run by people with mental health and learning disabilities.

It’s a pretty busy place at this time of year, with lambs and piglets all needing looking after.

I enjoyed myself.

Of course, this week the eyes of the world haven’t really been on Suffolk but on Leicestershire, where a king has been laid to rest for the second time.

Westminster Abbey, Windsor Castle, King’s College Cambridge – all iconic English buildings and institutions that make up part of the Plantagenet legacy.

Even today we have much to owe this family that ruled our nation for more than three hundred years.

And this week we reburied the last of them ? Richard III. From his early life to his crucial role in the Wars of the Roses, his exile to the continent, his death at Bosworth, the chance discovery of his remains, to the subsequent and ongoing reassessment of his life and reign, the story of Richard is an amazing one.

Like him or loathe him, Richard seems almost more powerful in death than life. The merest mention of his name seems to polarize opinion and yet his reign was short and over many centuries ago.

I’m a bit of a fan of Richard, because he remains such a rich part of our nation’s history; and that history, including our village churches, is a constant reminder that to be born British is to win the lottery of life.