Looking back over the previous year, as one inevitably does in early January, the stand out event for me was definitely the village pageant at Burnham Norton Friary in late September, when the audience was immersed in the stories of the Friary. It was a real pleasure to be involved in an event which brought young and old together in a celebration of the history of this atmospheric site.
Another Imagined Land output has been the production of an anthology of writing produced during the project. This includes a moving short piece by a local resident, Katelin Teller, who sang in public for the first time in 35 years as part of the pageant choir. A month later, on a day off from a research trip, she was able to visit Mount Carmel in modern Israel, the original home of the Burnham friars. In her pocket was one of the small ‘pilgrim tokens’ that the Burnham Market school children had made and given out to the pageant audience. She found a spot close to the limestone caves where the monks once found shelter, and buried it in the white dust.
This kind of unexpected connection is one of the joys of developing community projects at our sites, which I can’t describe better than Katelin – she writes that:
‘Projects like “Imagined Land” help us to articulate and learn the stories that are the building blocks to our sense of place and identity. This project helped me to understand where the friars fitted in to the story of Burnham Norton, and when my hike down Mount Carmel to the sea ended with a picnic on a beach, not dissimilar to the North Norfolk coast, I felt how our living stories connect through time and place.’
Find out more on the project page