Worshippers at the 8.00am service at St Mary’s Church, Portchester were recently distracted during their prayers by objects continually being dropped on the wooden floor of the north transept. On investigation it was discovered that a starling had got in and was going along the capitals of the pillars and the window sills pushing off over forty tea light candles that are placed there for evening services.

The irony of the occasion was not lost on the congregation – it was 29th October and we were commemorating ‘Reformation Sunday.’ At the height of the Reformation under King Edward VI in the 1550s, candles were removed from parish churches as being symbols of popery.

Our little iconoclastic Protestant visitor had wondered what the Church of England was becoming, and so decided he did not approve of candles.