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A Festival of Flowers With Songs of Praise

Photographing bugs and insects is quite addictive! I hope you will enjoy exploring the natural world with me.

Swags on Pillars at the Swaffham Flower Festival

Swags on Pillars

Swags on Pillars

The beautiful Stain Glass Windows in Swaffham Church, Norfolk, UK

The beautiful Stain Glass Windows in Swaffham Church, Norfolk, UK

Swaffham Church St Peter & St Paul Swaffham with St Mary Sporle

Swaffham Church St Peter & St Paul Swaffham with St Mary Sporle held their bi-annual Flower Festival event at the week-end.

The church has stood on this site since the 12th Century. It sprang from the ruins of an earlier one which dates to around 1454 and is one of the finest mediaeval churches in the whole of East Anglia.

This years flower festival theme was ‘Hymns of Praise’ and all the flower arrangers took their inspiration from much loved or well known hymns to interpret their favorite Hymns with beautiful flowers, sheet music and a huge dose of creativity..

We just happened to be visiting friends in the area and were walking around the market square when we noticed a few signs which advertised the event. None of us could ever have anticipated the treat which lay in store for us behind the grey walls of this ancient church.

I had even left my Nikon D300s camera locked up in the boot of my car! Needless to say I was soon making my way back to the car to retrieve it. This was one event which deserves a place in history.

Outside Niches

Arranged by Jean Bishop

Arranged by Jean Bishop

The Significance of Dreams

The significance of dreams is sometimes emphasized in myths or legends. However, it does seem apparent that those people who benefit most from their dreams need to be both honest and also hard working. They should also have the willingness to follow their dreams.

Once Upon a Time

A very long time ago, lived a poor pedlar in Swaffham Town. He lived with his wife and children in a small cottage which stood beneath the shadow of a great oak tree

As he worked, his little dog would trudge behind him. Life was difficult and the pedlar was barely able to provide for himself and his family. When the day was done, all he could do, was climb wearily into bed, grateful for the rest, he would fall asleep.

One night as he slept, he dreamed a dream in which he saw himself standing on the Old London Bridge with the traffic bustling about him. He saw many shops and many prosperous people. He took these things as a sign that he would one day prosper.

On the next night he dreamed the same dream and so too, on the third day. He knew he could no longer disregard the dream or the message it appeared to contain. So, with his little dog trudging close behind he set off for London.

Exhausted and weary, he eventually found himself standing on the Great London Bridge just as he had seen himself doing in his dream. He saw great ships and shops and very many people and experienced the hustle and the bustle of the city but nothing he saw, gave him a sign which might help him to better understand the significance of his dream.

On the third day, as he stood on the bridge, a curious shopkeeper stopped by to chat. He asked the pedlar, do you have something to sell or are you just begging? The pedlar replied, ' I have nothing to sell and no, why would I ask for alms, when I am quite capable of working!

Puzzled, the shopkeeper asked him ‘What is your business then?

Surprised at the shopkeeper’s directness, the Peddler spoke of his dream, to which the Shopkeeper fell about laughing. What a poor foolish Peddler he said, to take such a long journey just because of a dream! Why he said, I myself have dreamed a similar dream for the past two nights. I was in Swaffham, in a place which is quite unknown to me, I was standing in the orchard of a pedlars’ cottage under the shade of a great oak tree. I dreamed that if I dug beneath the great oak tree I would find a great fortune in gold. I am not so foolish that I would embark on such a long journey as you have done, just to follow a dream.

My good fellow said he, learn from a much wiser fellow, go home and stick to your business. But in spite of this advice, the pedlar felt a great joy descend upon him and it was with a glad heart that he headed straight home to Swaffam with his little dog keeping close at his heels.

Once there he began digging beneath the boughs of the great oak tree. It were not long before he revealed a pot of gold and Inside he found many coins and it also contained an inscription, in lettering which he could not understand, so he took it to a more learned friend who could decipher Latin. It read:-

‘Under me doth lie another much richer than I.’

And so once more, the peddler returned with his little dog to the great oak tree where he revealed a much larger cache of treasure beneath the tree. He became a very rich man.and being a man of such sound character he made it his duty to never forget those less fortunate than himself... He also shared his good fortune to help repair and improve the church in Swaffham.

It is believed that the Pedlar represented in the wooden carving inside the church is in fact John Chapman with his muzzled dog.

A 15th century Black Book which is still held in the Swaffham Church Library records lists the benefactors of the church, Chapman is named as being one of those... It records that he also paid for the new north aisle. He also contributed to the spire fund in 1462 and was a churchwarden during the time when the church was being re-built. He is largely regarded as being 'the Pedlar of Swaffham'

The wooden carvings of a woman with a rosary on the stall opposite his in the church, is said to depict his wife. It can be found on the remains of the Chapman family box pew.

The generosity of John Chapman has never been forgotten by the people of Swaffham. The town sign depicts the legendary peddler who had the courage and determination to follow his dream 500 years earlier.

Do you have the courage and inclination to follow your dreams?


The Pedlar of Swaffham - John Chapman

The Pedlar of Swaffham - John Chapman

The Pedlar of Swaffham - John Chapman

I thank you in advance for reading this Hub. Please feel free to contact me should I have omitted any facts or names - or even attributed any of the floral arrangements to the wrong person or Hymn. This will enable me to set the record straight.

Thank you for sharing you beautiful work with the public at large.

© 2014 Sally Gulbrandsen

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