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Farming traditions kept at Bicker church

steam threshing: Mark Comben and Doug Burgess learn old skills at last years event. Photo: SG080912-135TW

steam threshing: Mark Comben and Doug Burgess learn old skills at last years event. Photo: SG080912-135TW

People might be watching the weather on St Swithun’s Day because of the tradition that says if it rains then, it will rain for 40 days.

However, at the church in Bicker named after the saint, parishioners tend to watch the weather all the time because there is a leaky roof in the church and they have buckets in place to catch the drips.

Two applications for English Heritage grant funding have been turned down, but Sandra Dawson, treasurer of St Swithun’s, says they are starting the process again in the hope that a third application will be successful.

The church has been without a vicar since early last year, but Sandra says they are hopeful that they might have one in place later in the year.

In the meantime, the Rev Jenny Dumart and churchwarden Audrey Bennett take Sunday services.

The village was once very much a farming community, as Sandra’s sister-in-law Jenny Sheldon, can testify.

Jenny was born and brought up in the village, and says: “It’s changed quite a bit. Years ago there were a lot of farmers and agricultural business and now they have gone. I think most people have to travel for work.”

The church upholds the traditions of the farming year, celebrating Plough Sunday, Rogation Sunday, and harvest festival.

Elizabeth Benjamin organises a couple of dances a year, but the church’s biggest event is Bicker Steam Threshing weekend, the 27th this year, raising thousands of pounds for church funds and other village charities

 

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