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Happy outcome

17 April 2014

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 Rhodes.

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.

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