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St Mary, Caldecote
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Caldecote parish was to the south of the village of Beachamwell, and close enough for it to be one of four parish churches which served the population in England's Catholic days. However, the Reformation put an end to the need for churches for purposes other than congregational worship, and the living was united with that of Cockley Cley. A fairly good description of the ruin is given by Pevsner's revising editor in the early 1990s.
I have said before that you shouldn't go looking for ruins in the height of summer, so it serves me right that we couldn't find anything. All there is is the mound where the churchyard was, which is an obvious landmark, but of masonry we could find no sign.
Even in the 1840s, the meticulous White's directory omitted Caldecote, or Cockett, to give it its other name. A hasty revision recalled that it is a small parish in South Greenhoe Hundred, 6 miles S.W. of Swaffham... It has 48 souls, and 662 acres of land, belonging to Sir H.R.P. Bedingfeld.
The Bedingfields, of course, are the owners of Oxburgh Hall, and we are on the estate here, only a mile or so to the north of that fabulous House. Here though, all there was on this June day was the shrieking swoop of swallows to taunt us. I shall go back one winter. Until then, I shall look out for other people's photographs.
Simon Knott, July 2006
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