What to See in England
By Gordon Home
Public Domain Books
THE PRIORY OF OUR LADY OF WALSINGHAM
=How to get there.=–Train from Liverpool Street or St. Pancras. Great Eastern Railway. =Nearest Station.=–Walsingham. =Distance from London.=–133 miles. =Average Time.=–Varies between 4 and 5-1/2 hours. Quickest train 3 hours 50 minutes.
1st 2nd 3rd =Fares.=–Single 19s. 7d. ... 10s. 3d. Return 33s. 3d. ... 20s. 6d.
=Accommodation Obtainable.=–"Black Lion Hotel,” “Abbeygate Temperance Hotel,” etc.
The ruins of the famous priory are now included in the extensive grounds of Walsingham Abbey, the property of Mr. Henry Lee Warner. Visitors have permission to see these ruins on Wednesdays and Fridays, by application at the lodge of the abbey.
Walsingham is a pretty village 5 miles from Wells-on-Sea. It possesses a noble church in the Perpendicular style, an ancient town pump, and two wishing wells, which were formerly believed to possess miraculous powers, for the legend is that they sprang from the ground at command of the Virgin. Walsingham was an important place for many centuries, for it contained the famous shrine of the Virgin, or, as it was called, “Our Lady of Walsingham.” This far-famed chapel of the Virgin was founded by Ricoldie, the mother of Geoffrey de Faverches. When Geoffrey set out on a pilgrimage to Jerusalem, he granted to God and St. Mary, and to Edwy, his clerk, the chapel which his mother Ricoldie had built at Walsingham, with other possessions, requesting him to found a priory there. It became one of the richest in the world. From the very commencement there was an unceasing flow of pilgrims from all nations to it. Several kings and queens of England, and among them Henry VIII., paid their devotions there. Erasmus, who visited the priory in 1511, derided its enormous wealth. Parts of the road leading to this priory are known to this day as the “Walsingham Way” and the “Palmer’s Way.” It is said more pilgrims came to Walsingham than to the shrine of St. Thomas à Becket at Canterbury. The monks taught the people that the “Milky Way” pointed to the shrine. Hence the Norfolk people called it the “Walsingham Way." This shrine was destroyed at the dissolution of monasteries in 1539.
[Illustration: Rev. W. Martin, Walsingham. EAST WINDOW OF THE PRIORY AT WALSINGHAM.]