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Report - - Porta Maria Shrine, Norfolk. June 2021 | Other Sites | 28DaysLater.co.uk

Report - Porta Maria Shrine, Norfolk. June 2021


RXQueen

28DL Full Member
28DL Full Member
Visited with @Chloe Explores and Zoe.

A rather marvellous little tiny church hidden away in the woods, very untouched and beautiful. Out the front stands railings and big locked gates but they serve no purpose as there is no continuation of the fence around the building.

I found it quite eerie outside but once inside it was fine, it’s that small we went in one at a time to take our photos. Inside there are chairs and pews, religious artefacts and a beautiful church organ, something about organs give me the creeps despite their splendour.

A lovely explore and a bit further on in the woods are a collection of cars slowly rotting away and being taken over by nature, these belonged to the man who built the Shrine. He apparently lived in the woods in a caravan surrounded by his cars until he passed away. I’ve attached a couple of photos Chloe found online about the Shrine.

History -

This Catholic shrine was built by Paul Hodác to give thanks for finding refuge from the Nazis after they invaded his native Czechoslovakia. He discovered Norfolk on holiday, spending time there from the early 1960s. The chapel, dedicated in 1975, is already beginning to be lost among the leaves and trunks

From https://norfolktalesmyths.com/tag/bittering/ :

It would not be incorrect to say that former forester Paul Hoda’c came to Britain the hard way – being chased by the Nazis more or less all the way from Czechoslovakia to England. It happened because of a blizzard of occurrences, all of them more or less out of his control – and it happened like this:

Paul was born in 1918 to a Catholic family in Czechoslovakia, enjoying a way of life which was utterly shattered in March, 1938, when Germany annexed Austria. Neighbouring Czechoslovakia immediately took fright and mobilised, and Paul was among the many hundreds of young men who signed up. Fate, however, intervened again when, a few months’ later, the Nazis invaded his country. Most of the local resistance was brushed aside, and he fled to Poland, being forced to make a highly dangerous border crossing, before finally joining the Czech Legion in that country.

But the fates had more in store. In September, 1939, Poland was also overrun, and this time the young Paul Hoda’c was forced to flee to Romania and then, eventually, to Beirut and France, where he again fought the advancing Germans. By the time France fell he was a Sergeant-Major, but he managed to escape to England.

By 1945 he was married to an English girl, and when the War was over they moved to Leamington Spa where he worked for many years at the Jaguar car factory. But two things always stayed with him – the love of his home country and the Czech forests where he had worked as a young man, and his religion, and both of them, some years’ later, finally came together in one place.

In the early 1970s Paul purchased a 10-acre piece of Norfolk woodland. Here, at weekends and during his holidays, when he ‘camped’ in a caravan parked under the trees, he rediscovered his connection with the forests of his youth, and also found something else – an authentic Roman road.

His plan was to built a chapel/shrine and erect a cross which, by dint of hard work during his free time, he duly did, by hand, using materials acquired by himself or donated by well-wishers. – And complete it he did, so successfully that the cross and the chapel, built on the Roman road, were officially consecrated in 1974. Since the shrine opened in 1983 there has been an annual Mass, and a plaque above the altar in the chapel was dedicated to Paul’s wife, Monica, who died in 1998.

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Calamity Jane

i see beauty in the unloved, places & things
Regular User
Great find. What a little gem. Really like this, even though its tiny. Nice articles too. :thumb
 

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