St Mary the Virgin, Bircham

The Church

 

The church was built in the early 14th Century, starting with the chancel about 1300 and following on with the nave and he tower which would have been completed by 1345.

 

A former Church may well have stood on this site as indicated by a Norman doorway reset at the entrance to the tower.

 

In 2006 a special service was held to celebrate the 60th Anniversary of the Cross of Sacrifice at the War Graves. This was attended by Her Majesty the Queen, whose father King George VI dedicated the cross in 1946.

 

There are interesting displays and information about the War Graves in the church, largely contributed by the Commonwealth War Graves Commission and relatives of the fallen.

 

There is also a lively display by the pupils of King George VI C of E Primary School.

 

A restoration of the organ took place in 2008 where the swell pipe was repaired and fully tuned and the blower mechanism was replaced. An organ recital has been planned for October.

 

The church has five bells and a band of six ringers who ring regularly for Sunday service. The group are called the Great Bircham Society of Bell Ringers. They practice on a Thursday evening.

 

Although bells have been rung in the tower for about 650 years, the ringers only formed a society in the middle of the reign of Queen Victoria. Evidence of this society, a printed list of rules pasted to an oak board, was found in the ringing chamber during a clean out in 1999. Fines imposed for misconduct and lateness amounted to more than a day’s wages for the local ringers, most of whom would have been farm labourers.

 

For many years after the 1st World War, the bells were not rung regularly and the condition of the bell frame and operating mechanism deteriorated. With the approach of the Millennium, there was a concerted effort, by a small group of local volunteers, to restore the damage and bring the bells back to a good ringable condition. The first service rung on the restored bells was in late November 1999.

 

Members of the church organise a Summer Fete and Christmas Fayre and from this time to time other events are organised.

 

Vestments are usually worn and Bircham have their own set of vestments.

 

The Church is building strong links with King George VI C of E Primary School.

 

Read more about The Birchams>>

Contact Us

 

The Bishop of Lynn

The Old Vicarage

Castle Acre

King's Lynn

PE32 2AA

 

Telephone : 01760 755553