Touching Place

JOHN SCHORNE, SAINT

John Schorne was in his lifetime recognized as a devout and holy man. One year, after prolonged drought, he struck the ground with his staff, and like Moses he was rewarded by water gushing forth. Pilgrims flocked to bathe in the waters of this well, believed to banish evil and to have healing powers. Like many medieval rectors, Schorne was eventually buried before the high altar of the church he served as rector (1290–1314). But he was not allowed to remain at North Marston. In 1478, Schorne’s remains were moved (by Papal Bull) to the new St George’s Chapel, Windsor. Schorne’s cult (and remains) at Windsor did not survive the Reformation, but his name continued to be remembered and honoured at Marston, where the well a couple of hundred yards from his church has several times been renovated and restored, most recently in 2004–5.

Credited with casting the devil into a boot, Schorne is shown on several late medieval church screens doing just that (Gateley, Cawston and Suffield in Norfolk; Wolborough, Hennock and Alphington in Devon) as well as on Windsor lead ex-votos. Go to Gateley and visit the lovely little church there, which has only a farm for company. Largely 15th c. (the north wall hints at 11th c. origins), it possesses a fine roodscreen with painted saints; Richard Foxe left 6s 8d towards its painting in his will of 1485 (note date). While you are at Gateley, make a swift visit to admire Comper’s subtle chancel furnishings in Saxon St Andrew’s Great Ryburgh.

John Schorne reminds us of great Anglican heroes content to be ‘just’ parish priests – think George Herbert, John Keble and John Stott – as well as those like Fr Rosenthal who were faithful unto death.

Give thanks for faithful parish clergy. Pray for clergy engaged in the ministry of healing and deliverance, and for the work of the Guild of St Raphael and the Order of St Luke.

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