Robin becomes surprise addition to the flock at historic castle church

The robin living in S. Mary's Church, in Portchester Castle.''  Picture: Robert English
The robin living in S. Mary's Church, in Portchester Castle.'' Picture: Robert English
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A CHURCH has had a surprise addition to its flock – a tame robin.

Julie Vaughan, left, and Judy Keith-Smith who work in the Tea Rooms at St Mary's Church at Portchester Castle.  ''Picture: Steve Reid (110320-805)

Julie Vaughan, left, and Judy Keith-Smith who work in the Tea Rooms at St Mary's Church at Portchester Castle. ''Picture: Steve Reid (110320-805)

The bird has become a familiar sight at St Mary’s Church in Portchester Castle over the past few weeks.

Reverend Charlie Allen first spotted the robin when there was heavy snowfall at the beginning of December last year.

Since then it has kept on coming back – and has become a big hit, with people visiting just to take photographs of it flying around the historic building. Mrs Allen said: ‘It’s just so wonderfully tame.

‘It moved in when we had that cold snap.

‘It will occasionally fly outside but comes back in again.

‘It’s very at home. We have put bird seed and water out for it.’

Some visitors have been coming into the church after visiting the nearby Castle Bakery Tea Rooms, and have saved little bits of cake to feed the robin.

Mrs Allen said the robin has also been enjoying services at the church and soaking up attention from the locals – but could be quite loud.

‘It’s wonderfully noisy,’ she said.

‘If there’s a service going on it will be right in the middle making as much racket as it can. It’s astonishingly tame.

‘It eats out of people’s hands. People are delighted.

‘For weddings it’s been wonderfully touching and poignant and even for funerals it’s lightened the atmosphere.’

Mrs Allen added: ‘We’ve probably had more photos taken of the robin, even at weddings

‘We’ve had a lot of photographers coming in.

‘The regular congregation are all quite at ease with him flying around during a service and looking at the hymn sheets.

‘A lot of people that come into the tea rooms come into the church just to have a look at him.

‘He’s probably the most friendly robin in Portsmouth – and probably the most fed too.

‘Some people are coming in and saving some cake for the robin.

‘I don’t know a lot about birds but robins are generally a bit more tame.

‘But this one is just lovely to have around.

‘It’s become quite a fixture.’