Burgh St Peter featured on University Challenge!

St Marys ChurchThe unusual ‘Ziggurat’ tower of our local church was featured on the BBC’s University Challenge this week.

Contestants correctly identified the county in which St Mary’s Church stands, but they couldn’t answer the following question. Can you?

A descendant of the rector who built the ziggurat tower is buried in the churchyard of St Mary’s, what was his surname? It entered the English language after he was ostracised when working as a land agent in County Mayo in the 19th century.

The answer is at the bottom of this post, and you can read about the quiz on the EDP website.One question they didn’t ask was

“Did you know that the tower was telescopic until early in the 20th century?”

Recently unearthed cine film from the 1890s has revealed the amazing truth behind Burgh St Peter church tower. According to local historian and ecclesiastical architecture expert Professor Edward ‘Pikey’ Fish, the tower would have been wound up at the beginning of each sailing season and wound down again to mark the onset of winter. Throughout the 18th century the tower was moved by a team of young choirboys, before steam power relieved them of their onerous duty in about 1847. The mechanism was sadly removed and melted down for the war effort in 1914 and the tower was fused into the ‘up’ position.

Although the tower is no longer working, visitors to Waveney River Centre can explore this unusual celebrity church, as part of their holiday or day out.

And finally, the answer to the question was ‘Boycott’ – Charles Boycott, son of William, was ostracised by the local community in Ireland where he was working as a land agent in County Mayo. If you knew this, then you did better than the teams on UC.

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