Norwich church reopens pathway for 50,000
A pathway which takes no fewer than 50,000 people through a Norwich
churchyard every week has been reopened with a ceremony and procession.
Around 50,000 people use the path through St Stephen’s Church each week walking between the Chapelfield shopping centre and Rampant Horse Street.
Last Sunday (July 17), St Stephen’s church marked the reopening of the path, which may have been in existence for hundreds of years as there were no burials in the path, according to church minister, Rev Madeline Light.
“We know for certain that until the 1960s it had been a pathway into the St Peter Mancroft Vicarage Garden,” she said. “When the Vicarage was taken down, the path was abandoned by all except those who congregated in the churchyard to sleep rough.
“In 2003 the church suggested the reopening of the path to the developers of the shopping centre. This was in keeping with St Stephen’s long history of hospitality and has been of great benefit to both the church and shoppers.”
The church, Capitol Shopping and the developers Lend Lease all contributed to the opening and development of the churchyard. A low impact path was originally put in place as its popularity was not anticipated. The huge number of people wore out the surface several times so Norwich City Council arranged for a resurfacing in stone, funded by Section 106 money. The work removing the old path and laying of riven stone started at the beginning of June.
The new path was opened on July 17 and immediately after, shoppers started to stream down the path once again.
Meanwhile, the extensive restoration work in the church is moving to a new phase after a large crack has been mended and the church stabilised. The church is due to reopen next year.