The annual Carmelite pilgrimage to Walsingham has just been held. The next year's pilgrimage will be in June 2020. Date and programme to be announced.
A brief history of the shrine
The Shrine of Our Lady of Walsingham was established in 1061 when, according to tradition,
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. There she showed her the
house where the Annunciation occurred and asked her to build a replica Holy House in Walsingham
to serve as a perpetual memorial of the Annunciation.
Around 1130 a community of Augustinian Canons took charge of the growing shrine and
Walsingham soon became one of the foremost places of pilgrimage in medieval Europe.
At the Reformation the Priory property was seized and the famous statue of Our Lady of
Walsingham was taken to London and burnt. Nothing remained of the original shrine and
Walsingham ceased to be a place of pilgrimage.
However, in 1896 Charlotte Boyd bought the then derelict Slipper Chapel outside the village and in
due course it was restored for Catholic use, being declared the National Shrine of Our Lady in
1934. During this same period the vicar of Walsingham, Fr Alfred Hope-Patten, established an
Anglican shrine church in Little Walsingham with a new Holy House, holy well and pilgrim hospice.
Today a quarter of a million people visit the National Shrine every year and there is considerable
sharing of hospitality and devotions between Catholic and Anglican visitors.
Pope Francis has given the Catholic National Shrine of Our Lady at Walsingham a rare honour. The
shrine – specifically ‘the church of the Sanctuary’ – has been granted Minor Basilica status.