NOT so much an expenses scandal as one of simony. Herbert de
Losinga, the French-born Abbot of Ramsey, paid £1900 to the King,
William Rufus, to be made Bishop of Thetford. Included in the deal
was the appointment of his father, Robert de Losinga, as Abbot of
New Minster, in Winchester.
Three years later, in 1094, Bishop Herbert went to Rome to ask
the Pope's forgiveness. When he returned, he not only obeyed the
order that all sees should be centred on the principal town of the
diocese, and thus he transferredhis bishopric to Norwich, but as a
penance he consecrated "many" churches, including St Leonard's, at
Sandridge, now in St Albans diocese.
Originally a small, isolated church for a few monks and
farm-workers, it is now celebrating the 900 years (or so) since its
consecration with a programme of events lasting from March to
November. They include a Norman banquet,a football week, a curry
evening, a family fun afternoon, and a "Songs of Praise" with Pam
At the launch, on Mothering Sunday, the present Bishop of
Norwich, the Rt Revd Graham James, "returned", and said that it was
"good to be back". He was welcomed by the Priest-in-Charge, the
Revd Emma Coley (left), and a gathering of community
leaders and representatives of organisations, as well as the
parishioners. "It was a really happy occasion," the Assistant
Curate, the Revd Peter Crumpler (right), a former Director
of Communications in Church House, Westminster, said.