“Churchwarden” black cat has served the church and congregation diligently for 18 years

CAT NEW AND VIEWS: A devout and elderly black cat has welcomed visitors and attended services at St Mary’s Church in Langham for about 18 years. His name is Jerry and his presence completely debunks any superstitions that anybody might have that black cats are associated with witches!

Jerry. Photo: Stephen Garner (believed)
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He is a complete charmer and a sign on the church door tells the congregation and visitors that he holds the ancient office of honorary church cat. I have called him a churchwarden for the fun of it but he kind of acts like one and I think he needs a title which is more important than church cat.

The real churchwarden, Stephen Garner, who has lived in Langham for over 30 years said that Jerry officially lives at nearby Langham Hall.

He said that he was two years old when he adopted the church as his second home. I believe his real name is Henry but as it often happens a cat’s name gets changed sometimes along the way. They also call him “J” and “G”.

On Sundays he is the first at the church and he makes his presence and arrival known with a charming little chirrup. It seems that he likes the company. This is to be expected. Domestic cats are very sociable nowadays and he wants to be around people. He likes to greet them and he does it warmly. Sometimes he accompanies people into the church and afterwards has a look around. He occasionally joins the service by sitting beside somebody or sitting on their lap.

The church that Jerry likes so much has featured in some of John Constable’s best-known paintings. It is a grade 1 listed building and has a long history. There was a church on the site in Saxon times. The original part of the church goes back to the early 12th century.

Visitors are kindly asked to make sure that he has not been locked inside the church before they leave. The church is in the Dedham Vale Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. Source: gazette-news.co.uk

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