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Fersfield - St Andrew's

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Fersfield is a long-established village, and although first documentary evidence appears just before the first millennium ended, it is likely that there was a settlement before that date.  The name Fersfield may be an obvious reference to the plant – just as possible is that it may be translated as ‘open land where heifers graze’.  Feudal landlords owned the village for hundreds of years, and in 1894 the Local Government Act put in place parish councils: Fersfield had its own until 1935, when it was combined with that for Bressingham; the ecclesiastical parishes were combined for a period from 1799 under an Enclosure Act. In the mid 1930s Fersfield still had its own Rector, two pubs, village shop, post office, village hall (or reading room) and school.  In the next thirty years, with the exception of the post office, which closed in the 1990s, all these facilities were to disappear.   The parish church of St. Andrew blessedly still remains, having passed through three benefice re-organisations to become part of the Diss Team Ministry.

During World War Two a large airfield was constructed at the northern end of the village:  Nissan huts and other buildings are still evident.  This became an American air base, from which the ill-fated Aphrodite mission (to destroy German flying-bomb sites) was launched, and which was to cost Joe Kennedy (brother of JFK) his life.  The base is now farmland again, with a large grain store, serviced by heavy lorries, which controversially, pass through the village street on a regular basis.

A famous 18th Century Rector was Francis Blomefield(1705 – 1752), author of the acclaimed “History of Norfolk”. The portrait of Blomefield (born in Fersfield) hangs in the church above the effigy of Sir Robert du Bois, this effigy, carved from a single piece of oak, is a national treasure. From pre-war days when most villagers were employed on the land, most residents now travel significant distances – some commuting daily to London – for their work.  There is a near-normal curve distribution of age range, and some 70% of villagers are owner-occupiers.   In this modern age, over 75% have an internet connection, the quality of which many feel could be improved. Fersfield shares with Bressingham an excellent website; a splendid communication facility. 

The centre of the village is St. Andrew’s Parish Church, which still holds regular Sunday services, and all other services required in a thriving community.  St. Andrew’s is a beautiful thirteenth century perpendicular church.  It can hold approximately 120 people (roughly a seat for every villager!) and there are plans to extend its use as a village resource for various events.  Whilst ‘ordinary’ services may not attract big congregations these days, such features as the annual carol service, Christmas Day and Harvest Festival attract a full house.  St. Andrew’s enjoys considerable local support, at such events as sales and coffee mornings, and is recognised as our focal point. The village meadow is still a centre of activity for people of all ages.

 

Church Services    
2nd Sunday each month 9:30am  Morning Service
4th Sunday each month 9:30am Holy Communion

Please click HERE for a map showing the church location.