I suspect that my great-great-great grandfather, Abraham Harper, was christened in this ancient church in 1764, but as so often with ancestors of this early date, this is difficult to prove absolutely.
St. Mary's is but a stone's throw from the river Waveney, which is the boundary between the counties of Suffolk and Norfolk. On the Norfolk side of the river is the village of Brockdish, where Abraham's children were born, and he and his wife Sarah are buried.
Syleham's church of St. Mary is reached by a long narrow gated lane, It is a very quiet and peaceful spot and there is nothing to inform the visitor that this is one of Suffolk's most historic places. You can read more about this by visiting Simon's Suffolk Churches.
Curiously, there is some debate as to the name of this little church. The Corpus of Romanesque Sculpture in Britain and Ireland calls it St.Margaret's and it is reputedly known by that name locally. However, the Parish Records for Syleham use the name St. Mary's, and so does the Church of England website. I shall continue to call it St. Mary's.
updated 9th March 2008
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