Our Lady's Mirror

Summer 1937

Ruins of the Franciscan Friary
At last the L.N.E.R. is beginning to realise that there is such a place as Walsingham on their line. Not that they are proposing to run non-stop trains to England’s Nazareth – but they are issuing a leaflet as follows: ADDITIONAL TRAINS Wednesdays only Commencing 7th July. NORWICH To WALSINGHAM (For the Shrines and Priory) WELLS Now many who cannot manage to spend a night can come from London by the 9.45 from Liverpool Street or by catching the 12.51 from Wymondham, and spend about three and a half hours in Walsingham; ample time to make the Little Pilgrimage – or even join in part of an organised visit. It is interesting to note that the L.N.E.R. state that the purpose of this arrangement is to make it possible to visit “the Shrines”. A proposal was made to the Committee of the S.Y.A. that they should have an Altar in the Sanctuary at Walsingham, which was enthusiastically accepted, thus making a fourth. The very small Chapel of the Ascension has therefore been assigned to the Association. The patronage will be decided later. This Chapel is at the extreme East End of the South aisle and will be immediately opposite the present Altar of the Holy Cross to the West. The number of private pilgrims and visitors to the Shrine is very much less this year than it has been since 1935. The whole of the East coast seems to be suffering from the effects of the Coronation and there are much fewer visitors at the seaside resorts in these districts. We were warned of the possibility of this last year, by agents in Cromer. IMPORTANT NOTICE People living outside this place are responsible for a FALSE RUMOUR which is going about, that Walsingham is one of those fortunate – or more likely unfortunate – places in which there are wealthy people who support lavishly the funds of the Church and Shrine, and that anything we need has only to be asked for in order to be given. This report is doing much harm to our financial status and naturally causing people to close their purse strings. It is ABSOLUTELY UNTRUE: there is no person or persons living at or in the neighbourhood of Walsingham who are in any way outstanding supporters of either the Shrine or Parish Church. The Clergy Fund and Church Expenses have no large contributors, and depend entirely on small sums. The Shrine, too, is dependent entirely for its upkeep and buildings on the gifts of pilgrims and visitors and gets no appreciable financial help from Walsingham at all. Of course we do what we can, but in every case it is quite small as most of the little money we can give has naturally to go first to the Parish Church, and here I wish to emphasis the fact that even the upkeep of the Parish Church itself and the services depend very largely upon the generosity of the summer visitors. True it is that we have had some substantial donations toward the Shrine Building Fund, as everyone knows, but in every case all these gifts have come from men living outside not only Walsingham but even the county. Spreaders of rumours of this kind do untold harm to any parish and especially to a work such as is being done at the Shrine, so that it has become absolutely essential for me to make a categorical denial and to say quite definitely that there is NO SHADOW OF TRUTH IN THE REPORT. THE BUILDING The walls of the extension are rising quickly, all the foundations are in. The Chapels on the North Side, those of the Sorrowful Mysteries, and the East End, together with the Sacristy and Sacristan’s Room are about 5ft. 6 high (August 5th) while the heating chamber is almost completed. The back of the bell tower is creeping up too, this is to contain the Chapel of the Resurrection; so we can see the outer walls of the Scouts; the Milner Chantry; SS. Hugh and S. Patrick’s; Priest Associates; the Clinton Chantry; the Resurrection; the S.Y.A. (Ascension) and the Coming of the Holy Ghost Chapels. The South wall is also coming along rapidly. We do wish someone would give the price of the cloister abutting on that side (£300) so that these walls could be completed and finished off, it would make all the difference; it would make a splendid memorial to someone. Those parts of the ancient foundations which run under the Chapel have been cased in cement about two feet below their base, and surrounded with a cement floor about 5ft 6 above which will be the floor of the new Nave. We could go no lower as water is within 18 inches of this level. Those foundations which will remain outside the new buildings are the poorest part of the remains – very very meagre and only a few courses left. At present they are covered in wood and corrugated iron sheeting. articles: 'Coronation', reprinted from S Clare's Monstrance illustrations: two photographs of the new building in progress; Enid Chadwick's drawing of the ruins of the Friary [above]