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Bishop to sail to open air St Benet’s Abbey service

A moving ecumenical open air service later this month will be conducted by the Prior of St Benet’s Abbey in the presence of the Bishop of Norwich, who will arrive by wherry.

The Bishop and some clergy will arrive by wherry and process with the choir and the community to the cross at the historic site of St Benet’s Abbey, alongside the River Bure. The annual service will be conducted by the Prior of St Benet’s Abbey, the Revd David Smith in the presence of the Abbot, the Rt Revd Graham Usher, the Bishop of Norwich.


King Henry VIII gave the Abbot of St Benet’s the position of Bishop of Norwich in return for land owned by Norwich Cathedral and, although now a ruin, the abbey was never formally dissolved. To this day the Bishop of Norwich is also the Abbot of St Benet’s.


A wherry first transported the Bishop of Norwich to St Benet’s Abbey for the open-air service in 1976 and the practice has continued regularly ever since. A selection of different wherries has been used over that time. Bishop Graham became the Patron of Wherry Yacht Charter, which runs five of the eight surviving wherries, back in 2020.


The service will take place from 3.30 pm to 4.30 pm on Sunday 24 July.

St Benets Abbey located close to Ludham at NR12 8NJ. The Abbey only has parking for a limited number of cars.


For more information, contact Reverend David Smith at [email protected] or on

01692 630216.

This story first appeared in the Diocese of Norwich newsletter.


Read our previous story about the Bishop of Norwich attending the St Benet’s Abbey service in 2020.

The photograph is courtesy of John Ash from Wherry Yacht Charter.


Do you have a news story or forthcoming event relating to Christians or a church in East Norfolk?  

If so, e-mail [email protected] with details and, if possible a suitable picture. 

Tony Rothe, 14/07/2022

Read the full article here

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