Saint Elsewhere...?

Churches dedicated to Saint Faith throughout the world

Features on various churches and sites named for or associated with our patron saint.
To see the latest list of establishments worldwide,
click here.

Recent additions to this page:

Discovery of St Faith's, Newton in the Willows, Northamptonshire - a church with a dark history, now an activity centre (January 1st, 2014). Read the story here
Information about the ancient little church at Farmcote, near Cheltenham, below (October 23rd, 2011)
Words and a picture of 'Faith'  from the Church of All Saints, St Andrew's, Scotland, below (St Faith's Day, October 6th, 2011)
News of a new St Faith's dedication in Lamphey, Pembrokeshire (May 25th, 2011, feature below)
Information about St Faith's Chapel, Westminster Abbey (May 1st, 2011: picture and text below)
Hints as to the existence of another St Faith dedication, in Little Wittenham, Berkshire
(June 12th: note below)
Yet more pictures of St Faith's, Rotorua, following a recent visit by Mrs Joan Utley
(April 13th, 2009)
New feature on Saint Faith's Rotorua, New Zealand now linked from the first feature below (November 13th, 2008)
Pictures from on high of the good ship 'Saint Faith' added; various minor updates and corrections to this feature
(September 5th, 2008; further minor update November 13th, 2008)
Information about the little church of St Faith, Welsh Newton Common added (see under St Faith's with a Tin Roof!) (May 13th, 2008)

Information and pictures about St Faith's Hexton, St Albans Diocese (see under 'St Faith's for the future') (March 26th, 2008)
Discovery of a defunct St Faith's Workhouse in the 'Norfolk Triangle' (see under 'St Faith's in Norfolk') (March 20th 2008)
Addition of website addresses to several churches in the list (as linked above) (March 20th, 2008)
News of rare bats sheltering under St Faith's umbrella: see update to 'Saint Faith in the Golden Valley' (February 25th, 2008)

News and pictures of the closed and decaying St Faith's Church, Sta
nley Royd Hospital, with links to picture galleries by 'Silverstealth'  (February 3rd and 4th, 2008)
Update about St Faith's, Llanishen (the only Welsh dedication?) with a link to a page of pictures. (January 30th, 2008)
Information about a long-gone St Faith's Church in Yorkshire  - with an unexpected link to our Crosby one! (illustrated feature below added January 10th, 2008)
We discover a hymn tune called St Faith (reproduced below on January 8th, 2008)
An update on St Faith's for  sale' (the church at Belper Lane End) added below (December 24th, 2007)
A Hull St Faith's currently worshipping in a pub - see their posted weblink - added to the list  (feature added below on December 18th, 2007)
New material added to 'St Faith's in Norfolk (November 19th, 2007)
St Faith's, Belper, posted as redundant and for sale (article below)
(September 8th, 2007)
Website addresses for St Faith's, Brentford, St Faith's, Lee-on-Solent and St Faith's, Portsea added to list below (June 24th, 2007)
Words and a picture of Saint Faith, Havertown, added at the foot of the page
(April 2nd, 2007)

The dedication to St Faith is relatively uncommon
. We know of some 43 churches or chapels in her name in England, the majority of which are in the south of the country, and also several in the rest of the United Kingdom and in various countries abroad. The British list includes a St Faith's Chapel in St Paul's Cathedral Crypt, another in Westminster Abbey and a third in Tewkesbury Abbey. The main crematorium on the outskirts of Norwich is known as St Faith`s, and is situated in the village of Horsham St Faith, which has connections with our saint, and is featured below in 'St Faith in Norfolk'.

There is, of course, the French shrine at Conques, which you can read about on the 'Saint Faith' page (follow this link). Below are features on some of the churches and places which we have discovered: new discoveries are flagged up at the top of this page and added towards the bottom. Finally, in THE DIRECTORY, you can see the expanding list of all the dedications of which we are aware. The current, very provisional, total of churches past and present and other buildings associated with St Faith's name is 61 (plus a ship, a crematorium, a rare token... and even a garage and a pub)

Saint Faith by any other name

  June 12th, 2009. An entry giving the purported story of Saint Faith, in an 1866 document sent to us by Mrs Mary Rae, descendant of our founder, Douglas Horsfall, mentions a dedication 'in the names of Saint Faith and All Saints, in Little Wittenham. Berks.' Upon investigation, the church in that place is dedicated to St Peter, but a footnote to one web page mentioning the place does indeed refer to the quoted dedication. Pending further enlightenment, the church has been added provisionally to the foot of the list of English churches dedicated to 'our saint'.

The Maori Saint Faith's

The photographs are of a New Zealand St Faith`s. This is at Ohinemutu, Rotorua, and is shared by Maori and Pakeha people in worship.
The lakeside building is adorned with a distinctive window showing Christ walking on the water.

April 15th, 2009: three new pictures of the church brought back from a visit by Mrs Joan Utley
November 13th, 2008: A fully illustrated feature on the church, based on its guidebook, can be seen

St Faith's with the statue of Queen Victoria

St Faith's by moonlight

St Faith's across the lake: early morning

St Faith`s Church in Ohinemutu, Rotorua

The window of Christ walking on the water

Saint Faith in the Golden Valley: Dorstone, Herefordshire

Traditionally it is stated that Richard de Brito, one of the murderers of Thomas a Becket founded a chapel in the neighbourhood of this church in expiation of his crime. Stones found at the site of the church during two of its rebuildings indicate a date of 1256 and it is considered that the original church on the site was founded by Johannes de Brito who died in 1275. There is, however, a belief that a church existed on the site before the Norman conquest and that Richard de Brito added a chapel to it. The church was dedicated to the Virgin Mary. During one of the rebuildings a tomb, thought to be that of Johannes de Brito, was accidentally broken into and accompanying the bones of a tall man were an ancient pewter Chalice and Paten together with fragments of silver thread. 
The ancient church was taken down in 1827 and a poor structure, in the old church warden style, was substituted, this new church being dedicated to Saint Faith. This church was removed some 50 years later and a new one erected in 1889, the new building being designed by Messrs. Nicholson & Son of Hereford as nearly as possible on the lines of the old church. Some items were retained including the four bells, three from the 17th century and one from the 16th. The present church consists of a Chancel, nave, South Porch and a Western Tower which retains the 13th century tower arch. Examples of the old church have been preserved and inserted in the Chancel. 
 It is believed that behind the date stone in the east wall of the church is a glass bottle containing one of each of the coins in circulation in 1889. Below the foundation stone of our church there is also a glass bottle containing coins in circulation during 1898, the year the foundation stone was laid. Another interesting point is that the two churches have associations with Archbishops of Canterbury. St Faith`s, Dorstone appears to have originated due to the murder of an Archbishop of Canterbury, Thomas a Becket, whilst Robert Runcie is an "old boy" of St Faith`s, Crosby.

Rare bats’ roost discovered in Dorstone

Bats in the belfry are not unusual in our churches, but St. Faith’s at Dorstone is home to not just one, but two of the rarest species in Europe. Conservation officers at Natural England have been alerted to the presence there of Barbastelle and Lesser Horseshoe bats. The discovery was made by ecologist Eric Palmer who has been radio-tracking Barbastelles in the Golden Valley and tracked one to St. Faith’s. He said the bats had chosen a well-appointed roost. He hoped their presence was not causing concern to the parishioners at Dorstone. They knew they had bats but were unaware how special their guests were. “We were thrilled that these two bats have been identified as in our church,” Ray Birchenough, a local naturalist and member of the congregation said. The Rector, Roger James, added, “I had no idea we were sheltering such an illustrious animal. I have only heard grumbles about the mess bats can cause.”
(with thanks to Peter Stokes: update added February 25th, 2008)

Saint Faith all at Sea?

One of the car/passenger ferries operated by WightLink between Portsmouth and Fishbourne on the Isle of Wight is called St Faith. This 2968 ton ferry was built in Selby, Yorkshire in 1990 and is named after the church of St Faith in Cowes, Isle of Wight. The ship can carry 1000 passengers and 142 cars; her service speed is 12.5 knots. Sister ships on the same route are St Catherine, named after the point of land on the Isle of Wight, St Helen, named after a village in the east of the island, and St Cecilia, named after the nunnery at Ryde. The names were given by the then operators, Sealink. A new addition to the fleet is the St Clair.

September 2004 update (thanks to David Fairclough).

During the D- Day celebrations on June 5th this year, the “St Faith” was the only passenger ship cruising off the Bar Channel at Southsea and around the Solent, carrying many veterans to watch the departure of the naval convoy to France for the weekend commemorations.

Her passengers were issued with 1940s style ration books in order to obtain breakfast and a drink onboard. It wasn’t the first time the ship had been charted by the veterans: she was used in 1994 for the D-Day review cruise.


  From the top of the spectacular Portsmouth Spinnaker Tower, 'our' ship sails in from the Isle of Wight in May, 2008

Saint Faith in Canada

The Rev'd Paula Porter Leggett, Rector of our namesake church in Canada, has told us about her Saint Faith's.

'The Christian Community of St. Faith is an Anglican congregation of the Diocese of New Westminster, in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. The parish was founded in the post-war boom in September of 1947, and used a one-room building for worship, banquets and even badminton. The present church building was built in 1955, with the first worship being held on Easter Sunday.  The mortgage on that building was "burned" in 1969, at which time the building was consecrated.

We tell the story of St. Faith every year now on the Sunday closest to October 6th, but from my reading I believe the primary reason the church was named for St. Faith was to make a connection to the Church of England, particularly St. Paul's Cathedral where the remains of an ancient church dedicated to St. Faith exist, as well as a connection to the chapel of Westminster Abbey.  Today the church is thoroughly 'Canadian,' seeking to include people of all ages, cultures and abilities. The last historical commentary written about the parish (1997) remarks that the parish has always 'been in the forefront of Anglican church renewal' and that 'from the outset the focus of the parish has been to "equip the saints for ministry".'  Liturgical flexibility and creativity with continuity continue to be nurtured here. While changes in the neighbourhood and world have reduced the size of the congregation substantially, equipping the saints at all ages and stages of life, and taking the love of Christ into the world in practical and compassionate ways continue to characterize this community of St. Faith.' '

(See below for an older St Faith's presence in Canada)

Saint Faith in Australia

St Faith’s, Montmorency, Melbourne

Parishioner Barbara Talbot writes below about her Australian Saint Faith’s. 

Montmorency is a hilly, treed suburb some 15 kms north of Melbourne. It was originally built as a church primary day school at the instigation of the daughter of Bishop Arthur Green. It was opened in 1918, attached at first to the Parish of Diamond Creek with Greensborough, then became a parish in its own right in 1962.

The building was designed as a school with a recess which could be curtained off as a sanctuary for occasional church services. When the school was closed in 1921 the building became exclusively used as a church. Since the 1950s the site has been built up and the building expanded, and now has a hall, a kindergarten and various ancillary rooms.

In terms of churchmanship, St Faith’s Montmorency is ‘middle of the road’, with candles and vestments. The Patronal Festival is celebrated, and the main Sunday service is a Family Sung Eucharist. As with so many churches, there are very few younger people in the church these days. The parish priest is Scott Bramley, and Barbara Talbot is happy to be contacted at
Countdown to Closure

On January 16th, 2007, we were sorry to receive this sad email from Barbara Talbot

A Happy New Year to all at St Faith's, Crosby, from Australia. Unfortunately we are in for a busy year here at Montmorency. The Bishop has decided that it is time for us to move on. We have been a part-time parish for the past ten years. On May 27th, 2007, we will have a Celebratroy Memorial Service, June 3rd will be our Deconsecration Service and then we are off to Eltham to worship at St Maragret's Church. St Faith's Church Montmorency will then close its doors.

I have been here since February 1960, and know that when the time comes it will be a sad time. We have to go through the memorials, gifts, faculties, contents etc and this work is keeping us too busy to feel the sadness yet. Eltham is only a couple of kilometres away. Like Montmorency it is hilly and treed, with a lot of  mud brick homes and an artist area.

Regards to you all,

Barbara Talbot

St Faith in Norfolk

Saint Faith has given her name, not to a church as such, but to an area to the north of the city of Norwich with associations with our saint and with her Abbey at Conques, in southern France, dating back to the early Middle Ages. The village of Horsham St Faith, and the adjacent smaller village of Newton St Faith, bear her name, as does the Norwich City Crematorium (see new addition at the foot of this item: March 2008) and the airfield nearby.

The airfield, once an RAF base bearing the name of St Faith’s, is now partly used as residences by the University of East Anglia, and partly incorporated in Norwich’s international airport. The crematorium, opened in the 1930s, is on the site of the old St Faith’s workhouse.

Both establishments, and the area, presumably take their name from the village, whose parish church is dedicated, not to our saint, but to St Mary and St Andrew. It is a fine mediaeval church, with a C16 painted screen and decorated pulpit, and a C14 font. The dedication to our patron dates from the time of Sir Robert Fitzwalter, Lord of the Manor, who, according to legend, was saved from a dangerous assault while on pilgrimage by praying to St Faith. On his return in 1005 he and his wife founded a daughter house of the monastery of Conques in Horsham St Faith, as a thankoffering. 

This Benedictine priory, seemingly an important House, was later, in 1153, given the oversight of the ancient Horsham St Faith Hospital, a foundation of the Knights Templar Order. Jean-Claude Fau, in his 'Visting Conques' guidebook, speaks of the existence of  various priories similarly stemming from Conques. 'The abbey’s monastic records provide us with the evidence of the setting up of a truly monastic empire. Following religious donations or acquisitions, priories dependant upon Conques multiplied across Western Christianity from Santa Fede de Cavagnola in Piedmont to Horsham in England.' 
The Priory survived through the Middle Ages, and was the birthplace, in 1561 of  Robert Southwell. During the turbulent period of the Reformation, he suffered martyrdom for contnuing to spread the old faith, and was canonised in the Roman Catholic Church in 1970 by Pope Paul VI. Online websites telling the Southwell story interestingly give October 17th, not October 6th, as St Faith's Feast Day. The Priory was dissolved in 1536 (another apparent conflict here, with Southwell's alleged birth date and location), although the remains of the cloister and the chapter house are said to be still visible, as is the doorway to the refectory, the latter containing some fine C13 wall paintings showing the legend around Robert Fitzwalter. 
Today, the coat of arms of Broadland District Council, in Norfolk, perpetuates the connection with our patron saint, at least heraldically. It features a sleeve holding a red rose 'from the arms of the Abbey of Conches who owned the Priory'. And, intriguingly, the internet Traditional Mass Directory of places where the Latin Mass is still said, lists St Faith's Priory - but declares that Latin Mass is no longer said there....

(details from memories of a visit and from various websites: further information welcomed.)

Thoughts on a Pilgrimage
In the October, 2007 issue of 'Together', the magazine of St Faith's Church, Gaywood, Kings Lynn, organist and church secretary DAVID GREENING writes about a visit in July 2007 to Horsham St Faith's.
'It was very interesting to be in another church dedicated to our own St. Faith and for it to be a church where Anglicans and Methodists have recently come together to share the building. In his introductory talk prior to a short service of Holy Communion, Andrew related some of the history both of the church and of St. Faith and how the village came to be known as Horsham St. Faith. He told us that the link with St. Faith came about because in 1105, the Lord of the Manor of Horsham, Robert Fitzwalter, went on a pilgrimage with his wife to St. James of Compostela and on the way was set upon by robbers in southern France, taken prisoner and held to ransom. Praying to St. Faith whose Abbey at Conques was not far away, they were released and taking refuge in the Abbey, as a thank offering, they promised to build a priory to St. Faith in their own village when they returned. This they did and so the village became known as Horsham St. Faith.

The Priory of St. Faith was built on land immediately behind the Saxon village church and when the church needed rebuilding in the 13th century, it was the monks of the Priory who helped with this work. Much of the present church was again rebuilt in Victorian times but the Chancel and the tower date from the late 13th century. Inside there is a particularly fine rood screen dating from 1528, a late date for such a screen and the twelve saints depicted on each of the dado panels suffered much mutilation in the hundred years following its erection. The pulpit, too, is very fine and dates from 1488 and the paintings of the twelve saints on its panels have been carefully restored.

Following the dissolution of the Priory in 1537, the Priory refectory was converted into a house but the remainder of the Priory buildings were demolished. Then in 1971 an exciting 13th century wall painting was uncovered on what had been part of the East wall of the refectory and which had been hidden till up until then by panelling.

(Added November 19th, 2007: with thanks to Connie Cleps, editor of 'Together',  for this input)

St Faith's in the Workhouse

Update added March 20th, 2008

A defunct workhouse dedicated to St Faith has recently come to light (March 2008). It was in the nearby community of Great Witchingham/Lenwade, and may well have taken its name from the area rather than from any particular asociation with our saint.  The link below accesses an archive describing the institution and its demise. It records that the site was subsequently used as a crematorium, but it is not clear whether this is the big and attractive Horsham St Faith's crematorium which serves much of the city of Norwich. To read about the history of this building click here

See also 'A Cinderella Church' below for another Norfolk discovery - not in Great but in Little Witchingham!

Saint Faith in Wales

‘Faith to Faith’

Extracts from an article in St Faith's parish magazine: 'Newslink' about our link with St Faith's Church, Llanishen, Cardiff - the only known dedication in the Principality.

'Our Church is about 45 years old and, like yours, is red brick built. It looks a bit like a health centre! It is a modern-style, dual-purpose building, with a good stage at one end and ‘God’s end’, which is full of Frank Roper metalwork and unusual coloured glass [large chunks set into the east wall, as opposed to a stained glass window] at the other.

St. Faith’s, Llanishen, is the daughter church of the parish; the main church is a centuries-old stone building in excellent repair and dedicated to the Welsh saint, Isan. For many years St. Faith’s has been the poor relation, with little money or care spent on it, except that its congregation love it. But I love St. Faith’s too, and during the recent interregnum, which lasted nearly a year, and now with the added bonus of encouragement from my new Vicar, I have been encouraging the people to ‘see what we can do about our church’ We have already raised over £5,000 pounds and bought new chairs, done some decorating, increased our congregation and better served the local community and social projects in Cardiff.

Please keep us in your prayers as we struggle into the 21st century [from somewhere in the 19th I think!] and in the hope of forging a strong bond between our congregations.'

The Revd Gillian George-Rogers
(previous curate of  Llanishen)

2005: Gillian later moved elsewhere in South Wales, and has retired from full-time ministry, but we remain in contact with her and with 'her' Saint Faith's.
2008: A link to Gillian's photographs of the tiny St Faith's Church at Welsh Newton Common, Hereford, appears below or can  be accessed HERE

More news from St Faith's, Llanishen in 2008

Gillian has provided us with a selection of photos, taken by her son, of her previous parish. the one below shows the church banner in the sanctuary at Llanishen.
this link for a separate page of words and pictures, uploaded on January 30th, 2008.

Saint Faith's in the Asylum

One of the more unusual churches dedicated to our patron saint was the chapel of Stanley Royd Hospital in Wakefield, which previously rejoiced in the name of the West Riding Pauper Lunatic Asylum: the name inscribed on the church silver. It has been closed for some years now, and abandoned, but it was, according to a history of the institution, a place of refuge and peace, big, but never frightening or impersonal.

Patients came down there from the wards, into a church with two lofty naves and no transepts. The organ was at the end of one nave and at the other a magnificent stained-glass window, picturing members of various hospital professions with patients. Beneath it, a real patient had painted an unforgettable Last Supper, with the thirteen figures all bearing the same haunted face.

Social segregation was built into the architecture of this St Faith’s. The arches separating the twin naves strictly separated male patients and staff from female ones. In later years, all this changed, and the far smaller congregation used only part of one nave. But to the end, as the chaplain relates, ‘the church never changed, so that all the time, at every service, I was conscious of the special role of this particular church – to be a focal point for the hospital’s purpose of caring and healing. It is abandoned now. Then it was the heart of the asylum.'

(With thanks to the Revd Roger Grainger and Mrs Angela Capper for information)

A Sanctuary for Pigeons

Thanks to a contact from local resident Mark Davies, who specialises in recording some of the fading glories of the past in his area, we can now link to a gallery of his evocative photographs (two of which appear below) of the closed and decaying church, as well as many images of the whole complex which it served. The Asylum/Hospital is a magnificent piece of Victorian architecture, ornate and spacious and highly decorated, and it is sad to see it unused and at risk from vandals.

Mark's pictures, with accompanying text, may be seen by following THIS LINK within our site. Featured are the fine east window, and atmospheric pcitures of the decay of this fine church.

Follow THIS LINK  for Mark's original 'silverstealth' webpage, featuring the pictures and text reproduced from our feature above.

By clicking on  THIS LINK you can explore the rest of the building; from there the gallery links supplied access further pages about the origins, history and present state of this fine building, haunted by memories of its past.


(February 3rd - 5th, 2008)

Another Australian Saint Faith's

Ian Gibson writes about Saint Faith's, Burwood, near Melbourne 

The parish was established at the end of the 19th century. At the time the church was in an orcharding area, and for many years it was at the terminus of a tramline that went into central Melbourne. The suburb really took off in the baby and building boom immediately after WWII, and that really marked the transition to a fully fledged suburban parish.

The church is unusual. The nave is circular, with a sanctuary incorporated in an extended elongation of the nave and a chapel and (once baptistry, now oratory) at the north and south sides of the nave. It was an important new architectural direction when the church was built in 1957: this was still a decade before Vatican 2!

Since about 1950 the parish has always had priests in the Catholic (and almost always liberal Catholic) tradition, although at the milder and unfussed end of the spectrum - the parishioners are firmly "middle" church, and there is virtually no liturgical formalism.

We have a collection of reproductions from Conques around the parish premises, but the image that would interest you most is an icon written some 15 years ago by a parishioner in vivid colours. This is now in the oratory.

The parish takes very seriously St Faith's patronage of prisoners, and links this dedication to its support for Amnesty International. (I am personally a current member of the International Executive Committee of AI.)

(added May 31st, 2005)

A new Icon of Saint Faith

To mark the 1700th anniversary of the martyrdom of Saint Faith, this icon, by Eva Vlavianos, was commissioned at Conques.

The Bishop's Messengers and St Faith's

A little book, published in 1950 (priced at two shillings!) by The Society for the Propagation of the Gospel in Foreign Parts, supplied to me by Fr Dennis Smith,  and whose cover is reproduced above, tells a remarkable story. The St Faith’s of the title is in the Brandon Diocese of the Anglican Church in Canada, and it was there that Miss Marguerita Fowler came from England fairly early in the last century and founded the Canadian ‘Bishop’s Messengers’ to spread the gospel, and establish schools and missions over a very large area. Starting at Swan River Valley, then the northern limit of the main settled area, and a parish itself some 400 miles square, she and her workers extended their influence over the vast areas leading north to Hudson Bay.

The Mother House of this lay order (it seems never to have been monastic as such, although they wore distinctive clothing, created a Rule, recited daily offices and held retreats) became known as a true household of faith. "We called the house St. Faith's because we already had a vision of the work opening in many directions, and we realized we were out on "venture of faith",' Miss Fowler wrote in 1931. She and her helpers worked tirelessly in remote areas, both with white settlers and with the Siioux Indians, and established Sunday Schools and medical facilities.

She retired eventually to England where she died in 1970. An internet  search of the current Diocese shows no trace of St Faith’s name, the mother house having been renamed and its purpose changed, although the scattered mission outposts her team helped to set up exist today as staffed Anglican parishes. What also remains is a plaque in Brandon Cathedral, recorded on its website. It reads

To the Glory of God
and in memory of Margeurita (sic) D. Fowler O.B.E.
Founder of Bishop’s Messengers of St Faith’s 1928,
Born 1884 –Died 1970.

It was placed there, according to the Cathedral, ‘on Feb. 26, 1973 in honor of a great pioneer lady whose vision and fervent dedication to a calling has furnished the people of Swan River and surrounding areas with a unique experience in courage, Christian love and charity.’

The little book (apparently quite a rarity) tells the story of this indomitable Anglican lady. She chose our patron’s name for its meaning rather than its story, but her life and work add a very real lustre  to the long story of  Saint Faith and all those associated with her down the centuries.

(29 August 2005)

The St Faith's Token


The ubiquitous Google internet search engine throws up some intriguing oddities. The St Faith’s Token, illustrated above, is a rare South African coin, whose origins seem to be obscure, but which is recorded on numismatic websites. Here is what one such site says:

‘Some rare South African tokens from the Umzimkulu region: St Faith's Token.

The first St Faith's token "discovered" by a numismatist (Scott Balson) – as recorded in Dr Theron's 1980 book on South African tokens. Not much is known about these tokens but there is a Roman Catholic Mission, if you dare cross a real scary old timber bridge over a deep gorge in the St Faith's, Umtentweni, district East of Ixopo. Up to date, three or four St Faith's tokens have been found - the value of this token being about R3750,000 and although this token is rare, it can still be purchased today.’

More than this I have been unable so far to discover, having drawn a blank on Umtentweni and its ‘real scary old timber bridge’. Another website reckons the St Faith’s 6d token to be actually unique, and values it at $3,000. It would be interesting to discover more about the Mission, its connection with our patron and the origin and use of these tokens.

(29 August, 2005)

Saint Faith in Saint Albans

St Faith’s Church in the village of Kelshall, in the Diocese of St Alban’s, Hertfordshire, is one of two parishes in the care of the Revd Richard Morgan, Rector of this church and of St Mary the Virgin. Mr Morgan has recently been voted ‘Britain’s best-loved country parson’ by Country Life magazine, and featured in an article in the Church Times in October 2005.

The article says very little about our namesake church, merely stating that it dates back to the 1400s and that there has been a priest in the parishes since the Domesday Book. I have tracked down online a photograph by Robin Watson, reproduced above, but, not for the first time, can find nothing about  how our patroness came to be attached to this place.

The North Hertfordshire District Council website entry for the village is a little more informative, as the extract below tells.

Kelshall (population 149*)
A village in hilly country south of Royston, Kelshall is one of the group of villages established by the Saxons along the line of the chalk ridge from Baldock to Royston. The church was much restored in 1870 but retains some Perpendicular work, including the large west tower, and some fragment of mediaeval painting on the roofs of the nave and aisle. The village possesses the remains of two mediaeval crosses, one on the village green and the other in the churchyard.

(October 25th, 2005)

'The Consecrated Garage'

Thanks to one-time St Faith’s member Les Crossley, a copy of the Hemel Hempstead Gazette has provided the headline ‘Family discover faithful flocked to garage for home service’.

It appears that the first priest-in-charge of a suburb of Hemel Hempstead, who lived in Windmill Road, Adeyfield led his growing congregation in worship and the church in his garage in the early 1940s. Later they met in the house itself, before moving into a hut, which was reportedly shared by the local football team and the communist party, presumably at different times of the week.

Before these moves, the Bishop of St Albans conducted an open-air service on Windmill Road, where he told the faithful: ‘We want Adeyfield to be known as
Faithfield.’ He then led the congregation to the vicar’s garage which he blessed in the name of St Faith. A very faded photograph, sadly unsuitable for reproduction here, show the Bishop, arm raised in blessing, and a large entourage of robed clergy and choir, outside the Windmill Road house.

It seems that the garage services got so popular that the vicar had to introduce a shift system to accommodate the crowds. Eventually, as related above, the worship centre moved onwards and upwards, until the completion of the new St Barnabas Church.

Our patron certainly gets around, but this is the first recorded example of her occupying a garage. As usual, there is no clue as to why her name in particular
became attached to a suburban semi. Probably, as we guess is the case in other such dedications, it was the inspiration of the name rather than any 'French Connection' that was the start – but it certainly gives a new slant on that well-worn phrase ‘the House Church’!

(November 7th, 2005)

'The Cinderella Church'

Hilary Pennington, a St Faith's member now living in Norfolk, has discovered, in Little Witchingham, a church, no longer used for regular worship, but cared for by The Churches Conservation Trust. It was open as part of the Churches Sponsored Cycle Trail recently, and the booklet on sale tells the story of what it calls 'a Cinderella of a church... a Sleeping Princess' woken from ruin and neglect in 1967.

St Faith's, Little Witchingham, was first made wind and weatherproof,  and currently the Council for the Care of Churches is working to rescue the fine wall paintings in the building. Redundancy has been postponed and the building saved.

It seems likely that the church is of Norman origin, with 12th century stone in its walls; there is work from the 14th century and the 17th and subsequent centuries also. The chief adornment of the church are 'the vestiges of a very complete scheme of medieval painting', probably dating from the end of the 14th century, and whose completion was possibly interrupted by the Black Death. There are figures of Christ, St Andrew, Caiaphas, Joseph of Arimathea, St Thomas, St Christopher and Mary Magdalene, together with scenes of the Harrowing of Hell and the Ascension and the symbols of the four Evangelists (which latter are featured on the reredos of our St Faith's in Crosby).

The booklet gives some clues as to the reason for the dedication of this St Faith's. After the Norman Conquest, the land came into the ownership of Walter Giffard, Earl of Buckingham. 'He granted the manors of both Witchinghams (Great and Little), as well as Weston Longville, to the Cluniac abbey dedicated to St Faith at Longueville (in France), some 25 miles north of Rouen, which had been founded by his father in1084. The seigneurie of Longueville was granted to Giffard by William the Conqueror and the next village to it is called Ste Foy (St Faith)'. 

It is interesting to note that there is a mediaeval St Faith's in Newton Longville, Oxford: clearly the same French connection applies there. See also 'St Faith's in Norfolk' above. Its list of incumbents dates back to the 13th century.

Saint Faith in the Midlands

We have established links with the church of Saint Faith and Saint Laurence, Harborne, Birmingham.
To visit Peter Stokes' website, featuring, among other things, pages about its history and about our patron saint, click here.

Visit  our pages on Saint Faith to see the Harborne church's stained glass window of our joint patron.

Saint Faith in Pennsylvania

In March, 2007, I received this email, informing us of the existence of yet another St Faith's church - this time in  Havertown, Pennsylvania; as a result, the church was added to the 'foreign' list below.

'I was rector of  Saint Faith parish in the USA from 1998 to 2003. Saint Faith Episcopal Church in Havertown (suburb of Philadelphia), Pennsylvania is alive and well after being founded in 1932. We are celebrating our 75th anniversary this year (January). It would be greatly appreciated if you would add  'our' Saint Faith to your impressive list of Saint Faith churches all over the world.

Blessings and peace,
The Rev. Robert H. Brown'

And at the beginning of April this charming picture,  from the same correspondent was emailed to us.

Web search reveals that the current Rector is the Reverend Patricia A. Oglesby; interestingly all the references in Google refer to 'Saint Faith Church' rather than sporting the usual apostrophe.

(feature added April 2nd, 2007)

St Faith's for Sale
(added September 7th, 2007: directory list amended accordingly!)

Peter Stokes (St Faith and St Laurence, Harborne, Birmingham: see the entry for this church above), supplies this sad sales pitch from a recent Sunday Times.

St Faith's Church, Belper Lane End. Derbyshire, £200,000

What it is: St Faith's is a deconsecrated stone church at Belper Lane End, in the Derwent valley. It is named after a teenager from southern France who was martyred in AD304, or thereabouts, for refusing to make pagan sacrifices. Built in 1890 (for £304) as a chapel of ease to the larger Christ Church, it was attended by the nuns of the convent of Saint Laurence, an Anglican order, and served as a Sunday school. The last service was in 2005: the Anglican diocese decided to sell because the congregation had shrunk to just two people. The hamlet is on the outskirts of Belper, a bustling market town that serves as a gateway to the Peak District. It is 10 miles from Derby and 25 from Nottingham. The agent has set a deadline for sealed bids — on the official form — of noon this Wednesday, September 5.

The problems: The church is effectively a shell, and the adjoining vicarage has been turned into a meeting hall. The diocese still owns it, and the ecclesiastical trappings, including the altar, the pews and the font, have not been removed. It is described as a "hot potato" by the selling agent — an attempt to win residential planning permission has failed on appeal, so a buyer is taking a big risk if they want to move in anytime soon. The community has set up a website to save the property.

The advantages: More than 75 brochures have been sent out since St Faith's was put on the market in midsummer. "It has created immense interest," the agent says, "but without the residential consent, turnout on viewing days has been low." Approval for residential use would almost double the asking price.

December 23rd, 2007: Latest news from St Faith’s, Belper Lane End

Jenny Raynor, wife of a previous curate at St Faith’s, describes a recent visit to the church

'Belper is a relatively small town, so we thought there would be no difficulty in finding St Faith’s Church. Within a few minutes, we found what was once the Convent of St Lawrence and has since been converted into trendy (and obviously expensive) apartments. Across the road was a congregational church and the parish church of St Peter was just down the road. Local people had heard of St Faith’s, but no one seemed able to tell us where it was. Eventually the offices of the local paper came to our rescue and pointed us in the right direction. Even so, we stopped at a grocer and newsagent’s shop to check the directions and it was here that we heard the full tale. The shopkeeper and her family had been leading lights in the church for almost a lifetime and had seen numbers fall off. It was united with Christ Church, Belper at the bottom of the hill where some of the practices (e.g. the use of incense) were not considered best suited to St Faith’s (Belper, that is). In time, a plan was put forward to close St Faith’s and use the proceeds to fund a youth worker.

There is some debate as to whether the church has actually been sold, and to what purpose it will be put. While it is said that there is a covenant that it cannot be converted into living accommodation, the word on the street is that it might become a wine bar (though we felt it was too far from the town centre to be a realistic proposition).

One of the more curious aspects of the building is the apparent housing tacked on to the east end, which look for all the world like two houses. As it is so far from the convent (probably a couple of miles), we wondered whether some of the sisters lived in the houses and so were able to worship in the church.

The other interesting fact we picked up is that the ‘church’ is probably more active now than it had been for some years leading up to its closure. They recently held a well-attended Harvest service on the field opposite the church and have plans for other activities, too.'

The Raynors' photographs below show the church, and a poster giving evidence of the strong local support for the church.

Watch this space – or, if anyone hears more, please let us know.

 Room at the Inn for St Faith's!

A recent feature in the Sunday Telegraph brought to light a new church dedicated to our patron saint -  at  Dunswell, north of Hull. The church, a daughter church of St John, Newland, was damaged in the devastating floods to hit the area last summer. As a result, the congregation have for some months been worshipping in the Ship Inn at Dunswell.
The article reproduced below tells the story.  The church has its own website -
follow this link - which will also give access to other newspaper articles, with some equally dreadful headlines! 

The people of St Faith's, who will worship in their village hall and, of course, their local, over Christmas, hoped to be back in business in their church on January 13th, 2008.


Singing Saint Faith

January 8th, 2008

Thanks to ex-chorister Miriam Jones, we have discovered the existence of a hymn tune bearing the name of our patroness. It was written by George E. Lewis, believed to have been a one-time organist at our church, and is headed 'Hymn Tune and Double Chant'. The words of the well-known hymn, praying for peace and protection at night time, are by John Keble (17982-1866), founder of the Oxford college which bears his name. We await further enlightenment about Mr Lewis, and look foward to a 21st century revival of the opus, perhaps at a future Evensong!


Saint Faith's in retirement in East Yorkshire!

January 12th, 2008

A church dedicated to Saint Faith existed in the village of Leven, in the East Riding of Yorkshire, until its demolition in 1844. Information gathered from various websites tell us that this medieval church stood one and a quarter miles from the middle of the present village. The church, in use from 1350 to 1843, was probably preceded by an earlier wooden church of the same name. Although the church itself is no longer standing, the old graveyard is still there with tombstones which are still readable. The present Holy Trinity church in Leven was consecrated in 1845 on a site on the main road and beside an already established village. A pilgrimage is made each year by villagers from Holy Trinity to St Faith's where a short service is held. The old St Faith’s Rectory, sited on the Beverley road on the outskirts of the village, is now known as Abbeyfield House, a residential home for senior citizens. A settlement of flats and bungalows houses about 20 senior citizens, with a resident warden. The late, Mrs Kathleen Vickers, the mother of Mrs Angela Capper, wife of Fr Richard Capper, one time vicar of our St Faith’s in Great Crosby was a residen there up to the time of her death.

Further research reveals that there was a medieval fair held in Leven on St Faith’s Day, presumably then as now October 6th. The church, seemingly made of brick and boulders, is reported to have been in disrepair during the 16th and 17th century, and was largely demolished in 1844. It appears that the chancel remained for a time for funerals until the closing of the churchyard in 1876 and the demolition of the remaining part of the building in 1883.

The ‘new’ church in the village, contains part of a 9th century cross shaft, a late 13th-century font and the head of a 15th-century cross from the old St. Faith’s churchyard., as shown below. Finally, a separate source records the probable existence of a medieval holy well, now buried, in the vicinity of the old church.

Saint Faith's for the Future

Under the headline 'Makeovers breathe new life into village churches', the Daily Telegraph for March 22nd, 2008, featured rural churches which, faced with dwindling populations and congregations, are finding ways of surviving and diversifying.

Among them is our namesake church in the little village of Hexton, in Hertfordshire, about which the article simply says that they have 'built a kitchen and laid a new wooden floor, allowing the nave area to be used by playgroups, youth clubs and the local primary school. It has also hosted fashion shows, concerts and a farmers' market.' The article was accompanied by the photograph below.

Google search however reveals that they also have a website, which explains more about the perilous state from which the building has been rescued and its imaginative use. Part of its home page reads:

'St Faith's building has a fine East Window by Harry Stammers, two Georgian pulpits, and an 1820 organ. In 1947 two sides of the tower collapsed. In 1961 thieves stripped the lead off the roof. The nave deteriorated into a damp and seldom used space, though regular worship continued in the chancel. A restoration project began in 1994. In 2000 the whole village decided to refurbish the nave as both a church and a community centre. This was completed in 2006. Now the nave, known as St. Faith’s Community Centre, is in daily use by groups, the playgroup, the school (which has no hall) youth club and WI. St. Faith’s was among the twelve national prize winners for ‘The Best Church Building for the Future, 2005’.

It is great to hear of this success story, and we wish St Faith's, Hexton, every blessing for the future. Visit their website for more words and pictures.

Feature added March 26th, 2008.

Saint Faith's
with a Tin Roof!

The little Church of St Faith, Welsh Newton Common, in the Diocese of Hereford and close to the Welsh border, is likely to be the smallest of the churches dedicated to our patron.
Thanks to the Reverend Gillian George-Rogers, now of Monmouth but once of St Faith's, Llanishen (one of only two only known Welsh dedications),  we can add a page of words and pictures -
follow  THIS LINK  to see the building inside and out and to learn that small can certainly be beautiful! (online May 13th, 2008)

Saint Faith
Westminster Abbey

To mark the recent Royal Wedding in Westminster Abbey, we reproduce the photograph above and the text below, courtesy of the Abbey website.

Originally the walls of the Abbey would have been whitened and coloured in red lines with rosettes. A fragment of this design was seen in the early 20th century, hidden behind a blocked recess at the end of the wall passage in St Nicholas's chapel.
The most important wall paintings in the Abbey are from the late 13th century i.e. the figure of St Faith in her chapel and the figures of Christ with St Thomas and St Christopher in the south transept.
The series of 14th century paintings of the Apocalypse and the Last Judgement in the Chapter House are the most extensive.

St Faith: The six foot (two metre) high crowned figure of the saint stands on a corbel and beneath a canopy and is wearing a dark green tunic with a rose coloured mantle lined with fur against a rich vermilion background.
She holds a book and a grid-iron, the symbol of her martyrdom. The wall behind is dark green and the recess is painted with zig-zag red and white bands. The painting is in oil on a thin primed ground and can be dated c.1290-1300.
On the dado are a series of geometrical panels, with a crucifixion scene in the centre. To the north is a praying Benedictine monk with a Latin inscription slanting upwards towards the saint.
This can be translated as "From the burden of my sore transgressions sweet virgin deliver me; make my peace with Christ and blot out my iniquity". The painting was cleaned in the 1970s.'

May 1st, 2011

Saint Faith in Pembrokeshire

A chance discovery during a holiday in Dyfed is the church in the village of Lamphey, which also houses the impressive remains of Lamphey Palace, one of the palatial properties of the mediaeval Bishops of St Davids.
As the extracts below from websites show, the name of the place and the actual dedication of the church, vary considerably, and I have been unable to find out whether the ‘Faith’ element in the dedication refers to ‘our’ saint herself
or is merely derived from the description of the place as ‘The Church of faith'. It seems to be an active and well-maintained building, but locked doors prevented further investigation. 
Whatever the case, it seems to be the second establishment in Wales to bear the name of St Faith’s. As with all such unresolved puzzles, further information would be welcome.

A puzzling feature is the name. A sign in the village points to St Faith's and the church is so described on the 1st edition 25 inches : 1 mile map published in 1866. Samuel Lewis in his Topographical Dictionary (1833)
even derived the name of the village from the believed name of the Church - Llanffydd 'the Church of faith'. It was thought in 1786 to be the church of St Faith.
The current accepted designation is St Tyfai and St Faith.’ (contemporary website entry)

"LAMPHEY, called by the Welsh LLANFYDD, a parish in the hundred of CASTLEMARTIN, county of PEMBROKE, SOUTH WALES.. This place  takes its name from the dedication of its church to St. Faith,
The church, dedicated to St. Faith, was thoroughly repaired in 1826, partly by subscription . . . " [From A Topographical Dictionary of Wales (S. Lewis, 1833).]

May 25th, 2011

Saint Faith in St Andrew's...
Virgin or Virtue?

Thanks to Peter Stokes, of the church of St Faith and St Laurence, Harborne, Birmingham, we have been sent this photograph of a fine stained glass window in the south aisle of the Scottish Episcopalian church of All Saints, St Andrews.

The designer was Herbert Hendrie, who was a leading designer of stained glass in the early 20th century, and who also designed stained glass for Liverpool's Anglican Cathedral.

The church guide book, states that it was presented by a Mrs Maitland Heriot in memory of her two sisters Mary and Lilias, but has no mention of why she chose St. Faith. It dates from 1933 or shortly afterwards.

It is interesting and challenging to see that the dedication is to 'Faith' rather than to 'our' saint. It's possible that the figure represents the abstract figure of Faith as a charity (cf Hope, Love) rather than the saint herself, but there are no other windows there to prove or disprove this.

The legend below reads 'O happy saints for ever blest/In that dear home how sweet your rest'  - which may point in our direction, or simply refer to the dedicatees of the window. The figure's hands shelter what looks like a flame, perhaps of martyrdom, and the surrounding and supporting figures and ornamentation  have a wealth of symbolism, including the self-sacrificing pelican of Corpus Christi, a crown (martyrdom again?), what looks  like a phoenix rising from the flames (likewise martyrdom?), white (virginal?) flowers and a heart seemingly on fire.

Experts in saintly symbolism may be able to clarify the further significance of these symbols; meanwhile it is we trust acceptable to associate this intriguing window with St Faith, in what would be her most northerly British outpost.

Visit the All Saints website on

Added October 6th, 2011, the Feast of Saint Faith, Virgin and Martyr

The oldest Saint Faith's?

Thanks to Sally Noakes for coming across the ancient church described and picture below. At some thousand years old, it is certainly one of the oldest dedications we have discovered. And, as with so many dedications, there is no word in the 'brief history' reproduced below as to why St Faith should have been chosen in this quiet corner of Gloucestershire.
(October 23rd, 2011)

St Faith's is described as a Chapel of Ease, long attached to St Michael's church, Guiting Power some five miles away to the north-west. However Guiting Power did have an earlier 11th century Saxon church (revealed in 1990s excavations) near by the present church which could account for the origin of the connection between Guiting Power and Farmcote. FARMCOTE, originally, FERNECOTE, is derived from FERN ,and COED, meaning a wood. The Domesday Book states that the manor was held by a Norman overlord Goizenboded, and the hamlet of Fernecote was attached to Guiting Power.

The Chapel of Ease, dedicated to St Faith, is possibly a Saxon, certainly an early Norman building near to 1000 years old. The beautiful timbers of the roof are those placed by the Norman builders. Entrance is by the south door which is late Perpendicular, with spandrels bearing the Tudor Rose, and on the pillar on the left can just be seen a Mass Dial. The church now consists of a Norman nave only, for the east end is now a flat wall showing only the Chancel arch with its curious leaning pillars and round-headed arch, which is possibly Saxon, or of 11th century date. Foundations were examined in 1891 and that showed that there had been a small, semi-circular chancel. The north wall has a good Early English lancet window with external mouldings and hood-mould, and there is a two-light Perpendicular window at the west end. There is a Norman font and also a small early Norman double bellcote. Furnishings: we note the 17th century Communion rails (with Victorian restoration), the pulpit with its sounding board and the clerk's desk, all of the same date.

The Communion table has a thirteenth century stone mensa with the consecration crosses at each corner and in the centre. This stone would have been removed at the Reformation and was replaced on this 17th century oak frame or table in the 1891 restoration. To the left of the altar is a fine canopied tomb with the recumbent figures of Henry and Mary Stratford. The figures are wearing Elizabethan dress of about 1590 date.
The Stratford family, who owned at various times the Manor Farmcote from 1320, produced some noted men: John Stratford was Lord Regent of England during the reign of Edward II. He was appointed Archbishop of Canterbury in 1333 and also became Lord Chancellor and Lord High Treasurer. He died in 1348 and his body lies in Canterbury Cathedral. His brother Robert Stratford was Bishop of Chichester. On his death in 1362 he was interred in Chichester Cathedral. Ralph Stratford, who died in 1354, was Bishop of London and was buried in Westminster Abbey. In the churchyard is the tombstone of the Reverend George Brereton Sharpe, who effected the restoration of Guiting Power Church of St Michael and was Vicar here 1900-1915.

Turning right from the churchyard and continuing down the lane, the old Manor House of the Stratford family is seen. It was restored during the 19th century but retains some earlier features, notably the 17th century doorway with the Stratford coat of arms above. From Farmcote one can look over Bredon, the plain of Avon and Severn to the Malvern Hills, and beyond them into Herefordshire, even to Wales. Turning left out of the churchyard, a walk down the rough track will bring you to Hailes Abbey, and yet another walk over the fields along the Cotswold Way will take you to Beckbury Camp near Coscombe, an Anglo-Saxon encampment.

St Faith's,
Newton-in-the Willows,

This grade II* listed former parish church, now redundant and deconsecrated, was built in the 14th century. The tower was added in the 15th century. By 1848 'its appearance [had] been much injured by stucco on the walls, and by late repairs', and it was restored and the chancel entirely rebuilt in 1858 by William Slater. 
    The last, eventful chapter in its history is told in the anonymous narrative below, culled from Google (where else?). The book it refers to is a fascinating read in itself, but of course especially so the chapter about ‘our’ church


  “A few years ago a friend gave me a copy of The Last Englishman - Byron Rogers' biography of J. L. Carr. A Yorkshireman, Carr was a primary school headmaster from Kettering who had great success late in his life as a novelist and publisher of eccentric small books.
    One chapter of the biography deals with Carr's attempt to save the Mediaeval church of St Faith's at Newton - Newton in the Willows, if you prefer its more romantic name - near Geddington. When he discovered it in the 1960s it was in the process of being closed down by the diocese of Peterborough. The fittings were moved to other churches or stolen by intruders and the interior was further damaged by archaeological excavations.
    Thanks to Carr's efforts the building was saved and is now a field centre, run by a charitable trust. I approached it across the fields from Geddington last Saturday and found everything padlocked when I arrived.
    Newton was also the site of a great house owned by the Treshams,  but the only thing left from that estate is the 17th century dovecote near the church.
    There is another, darker story from Newton in the Willows: the story of the Newton Rebels: 1607 was just a few years into the reign of James I. Times were hard. Harvests had been poor, the weather bad, and the population was growing. Food was expensive and hard to come by. The enclosure of common land by local landowners, especially the Treshams of Rushton, a notorious Roman Catholic family – hard up since the involvement of  Frances in the Powder Treason only two years earlier - and their cousins at Newton, was the last straw.
    Trouble had been building up in Northamptonshire since May Eve, probably after a few drinks to celebrate May Day, a traditional festival which also marked the beginning of the season when animals had been permitted to graze on the common land in nearby Rockingham Forest.
Discontent spread across north Northamptonshire, and to Leicestershire and Warwickshire throughout May. The events at Newton were the culmination of the Midlands Revolt when King James feared that after hearing reports of 3000 at Hillmorton in Warwickshire and 5000 at Cotesbach in Leicestershire, the situation was becoming out of control. A gibbet was set up in the city of Leicester as a warning not to get involved. It was torn down by the people.
    The protesters called themselves diggers and levellers – terms that would be more familiar when heard again in the Civil War. Over 1000 peasants gathered from Rockingham Forest - men, women and children - led by Captain Pouch. He was a tinker whose real name was John Reynoldes. He claimed to have authority from the kingdom of Heaven and to have a pouch which contained "that which shall keep you from all harm". Following the events of 8 June, it was found to contain nothing more than a piece of green cheese.
    The armed bands formed of local men were reluctant to be involved and the gentry had to rely on their own servants to support them. The rebels refused to obey the orders to disperse, and continued to pull down hedges and fill in the enclosing ditches. The King's proclamation was read twice. Still the rebels refused to give way.
    Finally, the gentry and their troops charged, and over 40 peasants were killed. Prisoners were taken, imprisoned in St Faith's Church, and the ringleaders tried, hanged and quartered. Their quarters were hung in towns across Northamptonshire as a clear message.
    At St Faith's today there is a memorial to the men who were executed: May their souls rest in peace.”

January 1st, 2014
... a story of decay, a novelist's campaign, and a dark chapter in its earlier life

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