An incredibly beautiful sunny day for mid April. I had a day free, mustn't waste it. Mustn't waste life. So on the bicycle, no plan, or idea where I was going. I ride just down the road intending to explore the local back roads, and I passed this old diesel train sitting at the Wymondham station of the Mid-Norfolk Railway, a heritage line that terminates close to my home. I couldn't miss the opportunity, so bought a ticket to the other end of the line at Dereham, and jumped on board the vintage train with my bike.
Dereham (formerly East Dereham), was the hometown of my father. Thankfully I had very little cash with me, so could avoid the temptation of tasting the wares of the Dereham pubs. The journey to Dereham slowly rattled along the old Mid Norfolk railway line. Once there, I came up with the idea of cycling back to Wymondham via some of my ancestral parish churches.
Such a gorgeous day. Perfectly warm enough in T shirt and shorts. Yellow primroses. Buzzards. Narrow country lanes, hedrerows, and tracing the footsteps of some ancestors. I followed a cycle route out of the Mid Norfolk market town, and headed for the village of Garvestone, where some of my mother's ancestors by the surname Daynes (or Daines), had lived during the 18th and early 19th centuries.
The parish church at Garvestone is dedicated to St Margarets. My 6 x great grandparents, Isaac Daynes and Mary Osborne, were married there in 1754. I searched the grave yard for Daynes, but the only one that I found, was not of a direct ancestor. I only found it with the help of a mapped index inside of the church, as the headstone had fallen down and was covered with lichens. I literally excavated it from the vegetation:
Perhaps my Daynes ancestors were unable to afford headstones. I decided to next follow their tracks. They later moved a few miles to the parish of Brandon Parva. Back on the bike:
I had to ride up a hill through a farm yard to reach the pretty church of All Saints at Brandon Parva:
My 4 x great grandfather Reuben Daynes was baptised here in 1785. He later moved with his family to Besthorpe near to Wymondham, where my great great grandmother Sarah Daines was later born. After visiting this church, I carried on cycling home in the sunshine. Beautiful day.