We will drive to the shrine (3 hours drive), have lunch, then small groups organise their own pilgrimages. After visiting the shrine and ruins, we will go to the beach if the weather is good, and on the way back to Netherhall we shall stop off for fish and chips for dinner.
10am: Depart Netherhall (first part of the rosary prayed in the car)
1pm: Arrive at the Catholic shrine (Houghton St Giles, Norfolk, Little Walsingham, Walsingham NR22 6AL). Pray the main part of the rosary here, then have lunch altogether. After lunch people can walk in to Little Walsingham an see the ruins of the old abbey.
4:30pm: Meet back at the car and drive to Wells-next-the-Sea (15 minutes drive) to go swimming or play volleyball on the beach.
6:30pm: Drive to Swaffham (30 minutes) to get dinner at the fish and chips shop “Mother Hubbards” (91 Market Pl, Swaffham PE37 7AQ) (third part of the rosary prayed in the car)
7pm: Drive back to Netherhall (getting back by 10pm)
The Shrine of Our Lady at Walsingham was established in 1061 when, according to the text of the Pynson Ballad (c 1485), Richeldis de Faverches prayed that she might undertake some special work in honour of Our Lady. In answer to her prayer, the Virgin Mary led her in spirit to Nazareth, showed her the house where the Annunciation occurred, and asked her to build a replica in Walsingham to serve as a perpetual memorial of the Annunciation.
This Holy House was built and a religious community took charge of the foundation. Although we have very little historical material from this period, we know that with papal approval the Augustinian Canons built a Priory (c 1150). Walsingham became one of the greatest Shrines in Medieval Christendom.
In 1538, the Reformation caused the Priory property to be handed over to the King’s Commissioners and the famous statue of Our Lady of Walsingham was taken to London and burnt. Nothing remains today of the original shrine, but its site is marked on the lawn in “The Abbey Grounds” in the village. After the destruction of the Shrine, Walsingham ceased to be a place of pilgrimage. Devotion was necessarily in secret until after Catholic Emancipation (1829) when public expressions of faith were allowed.
In 1896 Charlotte Pearson Boyd purchased the 14th century Slipper Chapel, the last of the wayside chapels en-route to Walsingham, and restored it for Catholic use. In 1897 by rescript of Pope Leo XIII, the sanctuary of Our Lady of Walsingham was restored with the building of a Holy House as the Lady Chapel of the Catholic Church of the Annunciation, King’s Lynn.