Norfolk Myth - The friendly ghost of Brother Pacificus of Ranworth Broad

Picture (c) by John Ashley Photography

Picturesque Ranworth Broad is said to be haunted by a friendly ghost who goes by the name of Brother Pacificus. Only the early bird may catch a glimpse of this ghostly monk, as the majority of sightings have taken place at dawn, though he has also been sighted on quiet summer evenings once or twice over the years. 
Wearing his habbit he is observed rowing a small boat across the broad with a little dog standing in the prow.

The story goes that during the 1530ís the brothers of nearby St. Benetís Abbey undertook the work of restoring the rood screen of the church of St. Helens at Ranworth. Brother Pacificus was entrusted with the task so early each morning Brother Pacificus would row his boat across the broad from the Abbey to the church in order to carry out the restoration work on the screen.  He was always accompanied by his little dog. At the end of the day he would return by the same route.

One evening upon his return to the Abbey Brother Pacificus found to his horror that his brother monks had been murdered, by the Kings troopers as part of the dissolution of the monasteries, ordered by Henry VIII. Devastated Brother Pacificus remained in the ruins of his beloved Abbey living like a hermit. When he died the local residents buried him in the churchyard of St. Helens.

The church of St. Helens of Ranworth has served its villagers for over 900 years and is well worth a visit not only to see the restored rood screen but also to climb the church tower itself, where a wonderful view of the broads can be seen. Who knows you might see Brother Pacificus as he rows his little boat over the broad, towards the church, with his small dog standing in the prow.