Rackheath All Saints Church in Old Rackheath, off the Wroxham Road in Norfolk is a very old and interesting one. It was built about one thousand years ago and this page will explore it's history and features. My personal information about the place is a bit thin at the moment, but I am hoping that a lot of people who know far more than I, will help me flesh out the details. Apparantly it was near the centre of the settlement in the time before the Great Plague, however after this, - and so many people being killed, it was left out on a limb, so to speak and the Hamlet centre became the Village Pub, The Green Man.
Old Rackheath Churchyard, January 2006.
Earlier last year, the Rackheath Parish Council, talking to the Rackheath Church Warden, agreed that the replacement of the missing, dead and dying Cherry trees, that were planted in the churchyard after the First World War, to commemorate the Parish soldiers who lost their lives in the war, should be carried out.
The Tree Warden asked about this at the next Wardens meeting. A favourable response came from the Broadland Conservation Officer, Stephen Chesney – Beales and it was agreed that during National Tree Week, (an appropriate decision, as it is also an ideal time to plant trees), a total of six new Flowering Cherry trees would be planted to complete the complement of twelve. There is a plaque in the church naming all those who fell in the war. (See below).
When the trees and stumps and vacant places were actually investigated, it seemed that there may well have been a row of some thirteen trees along the back hedge of the churchyard. It was possible that other trees had been added as the old ones fell and so it was agreed that, as far as possible, the row would be restored to twelve; in as near to their original places as possible.
A problem faced, was some quite large stumps remained in the ground where old dead trees had been cut off, almost level with the ground and two new graves appeared to have been added in rather difficult positions near the row. However, locations for the new trees were agreed.
The six new Flowering Cherry trees were delivered at the end of November, and were, - for the record,- Prunus Kanzan 1-12 45L order No 26282 from Broadland Council, supplied by Barcham Nurseries. They were about 12 feet high and came with a bag of roots and soil weighing over 20 Kgs. It was not a case of a single shovel of dirt and in it goes!
On the 1st. December, the Vice-Chairman of the Parish Council, Steve Stavridis, the Church Warden, Roger Labbell and the Tree Warden, George Bell, met in old Rackheath. Because of the size of the new holes required and the presence of the large roots, a digger was hired for the day. It was not such a bad day, and although not very warm – it was not actually raining.
All but one root, - luckily it was right at the beginning of the row, where a new tree was not required, came out in the end. The digger was the biggest that could be maneuvered in the Churchyard, but was only just powerful enough for the job. By late lunchtime, the work was done and although the two wardens returned the next day to clear up a bit more, the exercise was completed and the twelve flowering Cherry trees, once more stand proudly in remembrance of our long gone, but not forgotten, ancestors.
What follows are various pictures of the Tree Planting etc:
Steve Stavridis and Roger Labell, taking a break on December 1st - First day of tree planting.
George Bell and Roger, hard at it on the 1st Dec. This was after all the roots had been removed, new holes had been dug and the saplings had been planted.
Roger and George returned on the 2nd. to rake up and clear up the rubbish and to admire the new trees! Unfortunately they also discovered that someone had dumped about 25 bags of rubbish in the carpark. This was a bit of a disappointment after all our hard work, but the Broadland Department soon took them all away for examination to see if there were any clues as to who was responsible. They are obviously taking flytipping seriously.
Some of the new trees, together with some of the old ones.