The Parish Churches of Ranworth with Panxworth,
South Walsham, Upton and Woodbastwick

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Saint Margaret, Upton

Saint Margaret of Antioch’s life is shrouded in mystery. She is said to have been born in Antioch in Pisidia, in the region that the Romans called Asia Minor that we now know as southern Turkey. Disowned by her own family, she was brought up by a Christian nurse and dedicated her virginity to God. Margaret is said to have been denounced as a Christian by a Roman prefect because she resisted his attempts to seduce her. She was brought to trial under the Emperor Diocletian and when she refused to worship pagan gods, she was first burnt and then boiled. Protected by her prayers and piety, she came to no harm but finally, she was beheaded in what would have been around 304 AD. One of the legends around Saint Margaret is that she was confronted by the devil in the form of a dragon that swallowed her. The cross she was carrying so irritated the inside of the dragon that Margaret was able to escape.

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St Margaret, also known as Marina, is celebrated on 20th July and is a patron saint of expectant mothers, women in childbirth and nurses. Although many of her legends are highly fanciful, Margaret reminds us of the many unknown martyrs that remained firm in their faith, despite persecution.

A flying bull, one of the fantastic scenes from the book of Revelation on St Margaret’s 14th century font - click for larger image

A flying bull, one of the fantastic scenes from the book of Revelation on St Margaret’s 14th century font

Dragon from Ranworth’s rood screen - click for larger image

Dragon from Ranworth’s rood screen