Founding Saints

Returning from exile in Francia in the year 630 A.D.,  King Sigeberht travelled via Canterbury. where his companion Felix – depicted here in a relief sculpture from Norwich Cathedral – was consecrated as the first Bishop of the East Angles.
Norwich cathedral Felix Copyright © Paul Hurst
St. Felix; Norwich Cathedral Photo : Paul Hurst
On their arrival at Rendlesham  – a days sailing from Breydon Water – the conversion of  East Anglian began.  Felix missionary strategy was to found a school and then churches at key sites. In the same year, Sigeberht  gave Burgh Castle to be  a monastery for a group of Irish monks who had become Wanderers for the love of Christ.
The Roman Fort at Bugh Castle
Led by their abbot, St. Fursey, they sailed the Broads river system preaching the Gospel as they went. Before long St. Felix established two churches close to Burgh Castle .  For the benefit of the royal court at Loddon, which was a royal vill; and, to be his own base, at Reedham within the walls of a Roman fortlet.  Reedham church is in line of sight with Burgh Castle. These earliest Christian  sites were connected by sea,  to missionary bases up and down the east coast (from Northumberland to Kent) and  beyond  to  Christian Europe; and, by river,  to the interior.   Pushing up river as far as North Elmham;  where St. Felix established another church,  close to the cultic and central burial site at Spong Hill.  Elmham  was to become the cathedral church when the see was divided in 672 A.D. Both Felix and Fursey are remembered as saints; and, because they died  at the hands of the invading heathen Mercians,  Sigeberht and his son,  Jurmin ,  were counted saints too! Burgh Castle and the churches Felix founded at Reedham  and Loddon are on the Norfolk Saints Way.  As is Great Yarmouth,  which was no more than a sandbank in the 7th Century! North Elmham  Chuich will be a way station on the proposed Walsingam Way