I'd been there previously looking for gravestones for a lady in Australia who was researching her family history. On that occasion I'd parked, taken my camera in a bag and opened the gate to the churchyard. A group of Jacob sheep appeared round the corner and made a beeline for me.I beat a hasty retreat! I made some enquiries and found where one of the churchwardens lived. Luckily he was at home (though I think it was his wife who was the church official) and took me back across the road to the church.He explained the sheep thought anyone with a bag was coming to feed them - that's why they were so eager to meet me...but they were harmless. I made sure I kept with him as we walked round looking at the names on the graves.
I found what I was looking for and a WW1 Memorial in the church, too, after shoving the sheep out of the porch.
When I returned to talk to a villager she fed them first! Because it is a large churchyard the sheep are the best and easiest way of 'mowing the grass', she told me. They are fed with special food, kept in a small building by the porch door. The new part of the churchyard has a fence round it as the sheep are partial to fresh flowers... I think I was told the sheep went to be shorn every summer - but this is 2006 and the article I wrote (which was published in a C of E magazine) has been tidied away in the roof space. Oh dear...
I wonder if they are still in the churchyard after the two hard winters we've had recently. Perhaps I'll go to see in a few months time.