Bansfield BeneficeDiocese of St Edmundbury & IpswichChurch of England Benefice Scenes Benefice Scenes Benefice Scenes Benefice Scenes

Church News Volume 1, Issue 2

Dear friends,

Whatever direction you approach from, your journey is the same. The roads get narrower and the countryside more rural until at last you come to a small village in the north of Norfolk. It is a wonderful place, a place of pilgrimage by many thousands of people each year, continuing the tradition of many hundreds of years past.

Known as "England's Nazareth", the small village of Walsingham has been a place of pilgrimage since the eleventh century. Both Anglicans and Roman Catholics find in this place centres of devotion, renewal and hope.

The origins of pilgrimage devotion in Walsingham go back to 1061 when the Lady of the Manor of Walsingham, Richeldis de Faverches, had a vision in which she was taken to Nazareth and shown the house of the Annunciation, the place where Mary was visited by the Archangel Gabriel. Richeldis was instructed by the Blessed Virgin Mary to note the exact details of the house and to build a replica, which she did. In the 12th century it passed into the care of the Augustinian Canons who built an Priory there. Walsingham enjoyed a degree of royal favour with many kings coming on pilgrimage. But at the Reformation the shrine was suppressed and in 1538 the Augustinian Priory surrendered. The image of Mary was taken away and destroyed, pilgrimage ceased for nearly 400 years.

It was restored in the 1930's and now many thousands go on pilgrimage each year and visit both the Holy House and the Slipper Chapel.

What is the importance of Walsingham today? What draws people to this small village?

For me, I believe that Walsingham is a most holy place, a spot on earth where God is especially present. By the worship of Our Lord Jesus, through devotion to, and meditation upon, the life of His Mother, the prayers of thousands of faithful men and women, pilgrims to the Shrine, have added to the holiness of that place. Visiting Walsingham is to experience for yourself something of the mystery of the Incarnation as it touches our lives today. More especially it witnesses to the part that our Lord's Mother, Mary, plays in God's plan for our salvation, and her importance to the life of the Church today.

I would like to organise a day pilgrimage for the churches of the benefice to Walsingham. If you might be interested to find out more about this holy place please let me know. More details later.

Your friend and Vicar,

Rev'd Ian M. Finn

PS. Thankyou to those who supported the Vicarage Garden Party on Sunday 22nd August. £290 was raised for Benefice Funds.

News Letter Archive.

Last Modified Wednesday 25 May 2011