Service in 12th century priory ruins launches day of celebration for Blythburgh

Celebrating Blythburgh day.The service taking place in the ruins of Blythburgh Priory. Picture: Jame

Celebrating Blythburgh day.The service taking place in the ruins of Blythburgh Priory. Picture: James Bass - Credit: Eastern Daily Press © 2013

More than 50 worshippers gathered in the ruins of Blythburgh's 12th Century priory for an open-air service to launch a day celebrating the village near Southwold.

The ruins of the Augustinian priory are normally hidden from view in the garden of a private house owned by Nick and Susan Haward.

The couple opened up their garden on Sunday for the village event.

The Rev Joan Lyon, team vicar at Holy Trinity, Blythburgh, led the proceedings, supported by the Rev Malcolm Doney, assistant priest at Holy Trinity.

Mrs Lyon, who is the first woman to preach at the priory, welcomed visitors and said: 'We are here to celebrate that we are part of this community; to celebrate this village and all the different circles of friendship and activity, which overlap at different times and seasons and for different reasons but today all are represented here.'

Following the service there was a selection of activities to enjoy, which demonstrated what the parish had to offer.

There was live music, refreshments and a barbecue in the priory garden, as well as guided tours of the ruins, led by Mr Haward.

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Natural England ran free boat trips on the River Blyth and a boules tournament was held the White Hart pub, where experienced players offered training to newcomers to the game before setting up a tournament for all to take part in.

Gary Doy, from Southwold, demonstrated his 1949 Lister petrol engine and there were further displays given by Blythburgh bee man John Blakesley, the RNLI and the Blythburgh Community Speedwatch.

Other attractions included stalls and a bouncy castle.

This year's event was the fourth 'Celebrating Blythburgh' day that the village had held.

David Tytler, chairman of Blythburgh Parish Council, which supported the event alongside the Blythburgh Latitude Trust, said: 'We are grateful to all those who helped make the day such a success, but in particular I would like to thank Nick and Susan Haward for letting us use their beautiful garden for the occasion.'