Felsham is a village with the church in the centre, opposite the Six Bells pub, next to the shop and post office, with the village hall next to that. It had, and still has, a good community – we all appeared on stage with Fagends (Felsham and Gedding Extremely Nervous Dramatic Society). So 12 years after I left I walked in through the stunning porch and recognised Lesley, sorting out the flowers. She has aged far better than me – I baptised her children. It is lovely seeing her involved in church, and she brought me up to date with the news. The church was started in the 1300s – the porch is a beautiful piece of flint and stone work, and must have been very expensive.
Inside they have a superb new guide leaflet, and the back of the church has had an amazing make-over. Before I left we had got as far as getting a trench dug to get water in, now they have a proper loo and kitchen, and have moved the ringers up to a proper ringing platform (the six bells are some of the best in the area). The light carpet makes a difference, and there’s a nice board about church life. The font may be two put together – there’s creatures around the bottom and saints and angels around the top.
The light carpet up the nave, into the Chancel, and then behind the altar looks superb, and the altar frontal makes a huge difference. It was a very dark Chancel, dominated by a huge organ. It was given by Mrs Anderson, wife of a former Rector. While I was there we celebrated its centenary – church records show it had been delivered to Cockfield station on the train, and then bought to Felsham. We had an organ recital (our Rural Dean was an excellent organist), put a wreath on the grave of Mrs Anderson, and gave Joan (our organist) some flowers.
Joan had been playing the organ for much of its centenary and she played like Eric Morecambe (“all the right notes, but not necessarily in the right order” – watch the marvellous sketch with Andre Previn at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R7GeKLE0x3s). She was built for comfort not speed – but joined in with the laughter when the church records for the new organ included the line “It was agreed to purchase a large organ stool for the comfort of the organist.” Her and her husband had served the church faithfully for many decades. She also made the best apple pies I have ever tasted – may she rest in peace. The church has a huge graveyard, many generations of villagers rest here. Life and death in the middle of a village.