Flower laying ceremony at St. Cyriac & St. Julitta church in Swaffham Prior to mark 100 years since outbreak of Great War

17:16 04 August 2014

Window at Swaffham Prior

Window at Swaffham Prior


To mark 100 years since the outbreak of the First World War, a special flower laying ceremony was held today at the Church of St. Cyriac & St. Julitta in the picturesque rural village of Swaffham Prior, Cambridgeshire.

Lilies at Swaffham PriorLilies at Swaffham Prior

St Cyriac’s was vested with The Churches Conservation Trust (CCT) in 1973, as it was no longer needed for regular worship.

It is now open to the public and maintained by a dedicated Friends group, who take advantage of the open space and excellent acoustics by putting on regular events including exhibitions, tea parties and concerts.

CCT are the leading national charity protecting historic churches at risk.

Their spokesman said: “We care for over 340 churches nationwide, which attract nearly two million visitors per year. Across these churches we are responsible for a number of war memorials, as well as the sites of worship for many who served.

“The ‘Not Forgotten’ events are intended to commemorate the lives that were lost or changed forever with the laying of one white lily at several CCT churches across the country.”

At Swaffham Prior, around 50 villagers gathered to remember together. White lilies, representing innocence and rebirth, were placed reverently upon the altar as a powerful symbol of remembrance for all those who were affected by the conflict. Individual pink lilies were then laid in memory of specific family members of local people who had lost their lives. After a long moment of reflective silence, poems and letters from the front were read aloud.

The strange and beautiful St. Cyriac’s is, very unusually, one of two churches sharing the same churchyard, with St. Mary’s, which is still in regular use, a mere stone’s throw away. St. Mary’s boasts three well-known 1919 war memorial windows, unique in their explicit documentation of the brutality, violence, and horror suffered by those who were involved in the Great War.

Two of the windows depict scenes from the war, complete with tanks, zeppelins and aeroplanes, while the third, a “peace window,” shows idyllic scenes of the rural life soldiers might have hoped to return to.

The group moved from their solemn commemoration at St. Cyriac’s to listen to a BBC radio documentary about the windows at St. Mary’s, recorded in 1995. The programme captured and preserved the last living memories of a bygone age from residents of Swaffham, who spoke movingly of the pressures on young men to join up, the sadness of the losses they suffered, and the hardship of returning home to a nation that had been changed forever.

The Church of St. Cyriac & St. Julitta is open to visitors every day from 10am-5pm. To find out more about events at this and other CCT churches, go to www.visitchurches.org.uk.


Welcome , please leave your message below.

Optional - JPG files only
Optional - MP3 files only
Optional - 3GP, AVI, MOV, MPG or WMV files

Please log in to leave a comment and share your views with other Ely Standard visitors.

We enable people to post comments with the aim of encouraging open debate.

Only people who register and sign up to our terms and conditions can post comments. These terms and conditions explain our house rules and legal guidelines.

Comments are not edited by Ely Standard staff prior to publication but may be automatically filtered.

If you have a complaint about a comment please contact us by clicking on the Report This Comment button next to the comment.

Not a member yet?

Register to create your own unique Ely Standard account for free.

Signing up is free, quick and easy and offers you the chance to add comments, personalise the site with local information picked just for you, and more.

Sign up now

More news stories

View shows the proposed six terraced houses on Barton Road, the rear access to these properties and 
to the public car park. Shown on the right is the building that is partitioned to create five apartments.

Eleven homes planned by East Cambs Council on the Barton Road car park have been criticised by their conservation officer.

Have you seen these men? Police release E-fits of RAF Marham suspects. Picture Norfolk Police

Police released the e-fits of the key suspects who attempted to abduct a serviceman last week when was out jogging close to the RAF Marham airbase.

Filming Assassins Creed (TOOM), Marion Cotillard walking through ely. 
Ely, Ely Cathedral, 
Picture by Terry Harris.

Hollywood came to Ely yesterday when the cathedral closed while the cameras roll for filming of action blockbuster Assassins Creed starring Michael Fassbender, Marion Cotillard, and Jeremy Irons.

Guy Martin in training on one of the Little Thetford bike shop recumbents

Action hero TV star Guy Martin is attempting a new land speed record on a hydrofoil this week with thanks to help from a company in Little Thetford.

Most read stories

Digital Edition

Read the Ely Standard e-edition E-edition

Show Job Lists

Newsletter Sign Up