Wednesday 3 October 2012

Broadland Myths and Legends.

"Mist On The Marsh" is now well into it's third year in production - I originally thought it would take me about two years to complete.   There have been times when I have wondered if the film would ever be finished and periodically questioned my sanity for even starting it.

Thankfully persistence has paid off and the documentary parts of the film have been completed at long last.  We started filming the Myth and Legend sequences a few weeks ago.   A group of actors and actresses have enthusiastically bought into the project and breathed new life  into what was becoming a tired production.

We are currently shooting the legend of Christopher Burraway who is buried in St Mary the Virgin parish church at Martham.
The curious "Burraway inscription" has been the subject of conjecture for many years.

Martham Church
  "Here lyeth the body of Christopher Burraway, who departed this life ye 18th day of October, anno domini 1730 aged 59 years.
And there lies Alice, who by her life  was my sister, my mistress, my mother and my wife.  Dyed Feb ye 12, 1729, aged 76 years."

The legend claims that a child was conceived by a father and his daughter.  To avoid the scandal the child was quickly dispatched to another county, where he was given the name Christopher, and fostered until he "came of age".  He took to the road and earned his keep by taking farm work where ever he could find it.   Purely by chance he returned to Norfolk - looking for work.   Knowing nothing of his past or parentage it seems that fate drew him to Martham where he was offered work by a lady farmer named Alice.   Christopher was so diligent in his work that Alice made him bailiff and gradually Christopher  struck up a close friendship with his employer.  Although he was almost twenty years younger than Alice they eventually married.

Shortly after the wedding they were preparing for bed when Alice noticed a strange birthmark on Christopher's shoulder.  It was identical to the birthmark on the child she had abandoned all those years earlier, and yes, you've guessed it - she had married her own son.

Alice and Christopher in a scene from "Mist On The Marsh"
 This sorry tale raises far more questions than answers and there is more than one rational explanation for the "Burraway inscription".  Personally I prefer the folklore version because it makes the film much more interesting.

Martham is well worth a visit - if you are going by boat it means passing under the notorious bridge at Potter Heigham which guarantees a bit of excitement.  If you can make it under the bridge travel up the Thurne.  The stone bearing the inscription can be seen in the south aisle of the church.  If you do decide to visit Martham don't  go just to see the "Burraway" stone.  St Mary's is a beautiful church with many outstanding features.  It also has the alternative version of the "Burraway inscription" in the church guide.

Gargoyle On Martham Church

What's next - "Black Shuck" - now that is a legend.

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