Where curlews cry, looking west across Breydon Water to the Berney Arms and Windmill and the marshes beyond, stands four-square the walls of Burgh Castle. Here they have stood for over 1600 years! Within these walls a young Irish abbot and his wandering monks built their home sometime around the year 632 AD. The castle was the gift of Sigbert the first Christian King of East Anglia. From here, the faith spread upriver, westwards to the North Folk and along the Waveney Valley. You might say Burgh Castle is one of the cradles of Christian faith!
The Fursey Pilgrims (www.furseypilgrims.co.uk) came into being to remind people of these, all but forgotten, fathers in Christ. On the first Saturday in October they make an annual pilgrimage to the site. But you could go any time! Canon David Abraham, who led the 2006 pilgrimage tells that, it was a series of visions of the afterlife that so fired the saint that he became an evangelist. “They profoundly affected his teaching and preaching, and gave him a passionate concern for the salvation of souls!”
The most enduring memory of the pilgrimage is a sense of Burgh Castle as a holy place. In Canon David’s words “ …a thin place, where we felt again the presence of this man of God. A monk committed to the service of God, a priest with a deep love of people, an evangelist who ceaselessly proclaimed the Gospel of Christ. Ecumenically, he is a saint that all denominations can own and unite behind. The Venerable Bede much admired Fursey and wrote of how he “inspired by the example of his goodness and the effectiveness of his teaching”. Fursey still has the power to inspire!”
How to get to Burgh Castle:
By car: Leaving Great Yarmouth on the A12 turn right at Southtown and follow the brown signs to Burgh Castle, park by the church then walk a little over half a mile. Alternatively the management of Church Farm Free House are happy for pilgrims to park in their car park. You’ll find a warm welcome there and it’s a great place for refreshments!
By bus:- Route 7 and 7 a from Great Yarmouth go to Burgh Castle
By boat: Moor at the 24 hr free moorings at Burgh Castle and follow the way-marks on the wooden posts marked with the castle icon
By foot: Follow the way-marked Wherrymans’ Way from Great Yarmouth Station. Distance 5 miles.
© 2006 Richard Woodham