Pilgrimage celebrates non-conformism

THE birth of non-conformism in Bungay was celebrated on Sunday with a pilgrimage in period dress.Around 30 people gathered at Denton Chapel a couple of miles away and walked to Emmanuel Church in Bungay.

THE birth of non-conformism in Bungay was celebrated on Sunday with a pilgrimage in period dress.

Around 30 people gathered at Denton Chapel a couple of miles away and walked to Emmanuel Church in Bungay. It was a re-enactment of the spread of nonconformism from Denton in the 1650s to Bungay, where Denton villagers would have met their friends at the market place and spread their faith. This year is the 350th anniversary of the founding of Emmanuel church, which started life as the Congregational Church and later became the United Reformed Church before an amalgamation with the Methodist church.

Although it was a wet afternoon, the rain stopped moments before yesterday's pilgrimage started. Many of the pilgrims were dressed in 16th century costumes, which they had in most cases made themselves. They were met in Bungay by the town reeve Martin Evans and mayor John Groom, as well as by many watching townspeople, and their arrival at the church was heralded by town crier Les Knowles. More frail members of the congregation travelled in a horse-drawn landau.

A special service followed, including mock interviews with key figures in the history of local nonconformism, and the afternoon finished with a shared feast.


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