Walsingham chapel needs volunteers for new railway exhibition

St Seraphims Chapel in Walsingham gets museum status - From left, Sylvia Batchelor, Jonny Wood and L

L to R: Sylvia Batchelor, Jonny Wood and Lauren Ephithite of St Seraphim's Trust in Walsingham

An Orthodox chapel is looking for volunteers to pay homage to the railway station which became its home. 

St Seraphim's Trust, in Walsingham, is looking for people to join the team as it plans an exhibition highlighting the railway that closed in the 1960s.

The station - on the Wells and Fakenham Railway - was part of the Great Eastern Railway dating back as early as 1857, and served the villages of Great and Little Walsingham before its closure in 1964.

The Great Eastern Railway sign on the chapel's fireplace.

The Great Eastern Railway sign on the chapel's fireplace. - Credit: Sylvia Batchelor

But, in a bid to establish a permanent Orthodox presence in the village, the newly-formed Brotherhood of St Seraphim took over its buildings in 1967 and went on to construct a chapel in the waiting room. 

More than 50 years later, the trust is keen to recognise the importance of its roots. 


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Sylvia Batchelor, volunteer museum manager at St Seraphim's Chapel, said: "Without the station, the Brotherhood of St Seraphim wouldn’t have come here.

"Without that, our icons display and chapel wouldn’t be here either.

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"The two main museum collections have worked together in enabling us to be brought to the public.

Part of the railway sign was discovered in the gardens of the chapel.

Part of the railway sign was discovered in the gardens of the chapel. - Credit: Sylvia Batchelor

“We never intended to have such an emphasis on the railway but, because of digging up material and some publicity, we have now got quite a collection that we didn’t know existed."

By the time the brotherhood was formed, Walsingham station's links to religion were already significant. 

It had, for years, served as the final stop for thousands of pilgrims from across the country for the National Pilgrimage which takes place in Walsingham. 

The trust, formed in 2005 after the brotherhood disbanded, purchased the building in 2008 and has since continued its growth.

Part of the railway sign was discovered in the gardens of the chapel.

Part of the railway sign was discovered in the gardens of the chapel. - Credit: Sylvia Batchelor

It now boasts museum status and developed a quiet garden in 2015, developed through the Community Payback scheme.

While working on the garden, the trust dug up artefacts dating back to the station’s active life, including old signs, cups and even an inkpot when tickets were handwritten.

St Seraphim’s is holding open afternoons from 2pm to 4pm on September 29 and October 27, with guided tours for anyone interested in volunteering.

Roles include helping to build the exhibition, greeting visitors and managing the railway archives. 

The Great Eastern Railway inkpot uncovered in the gardens. 

The Great Eastern Railway inkpot uncovered in the gardens. - Credit: Sylvia Batchelor

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