Our Lady's Mirror

Autumn 1953

Insignia of the Dames of Our Lady of Walsingham
We miss William [Frary] more and more, and it seems almost impossible not to find him in the Shrine or grounds. I am sure all old Walsingham pilgrims are remembering him constantly in their prayers. The restoration and adaptation of cottages to form a new wing to the College is going on slowly. It is a very big job, as the walls are found to be in a really rotten condition and the roof – well, it’s a miracle the whole row hasn’t collapsed like a pack of cards! In fact, since writing the last paragraph, just as the men working on the clearing of rubble had moved away preparatory to going to lunch, a stretch of the outside wall of two floors came down without a moment’s warning and it is marvellous that anyone escaped. We trust that this will be the one and only excitement of this kind. The new Hostel for those at work from S. Hilary’s is in occupation. The house is situated in the High Street and several years ago belonged to us, and was known as SS. Michael and George. Before that in pre- reformation days it was part of a pilgrim hostel and known as the Dower. We have been happy in securing Mr and Mrs Shepherd to run it for us. Mr and Mrs Shepherd belong to Walsingham and have always been keen church people. The opening of this Hostel is a great venture of faith, but it is a development which has been in our minds ever since the Children’s Home was opened. The Shrine and Pilgrimage Offices have moved from the High Street into the Common Place, and the Administrator (who is Parish Priest) has his office there as well, so that all the Administrative work is under one roof. It promises to be a great improvement. We are at the moment, however, labouring under a great handicap, as we cannot get the telephone put on – try as we do; we are told they are too busy and are occupied on the aerodromes. It seems civilians have to be neglected; very unsatisfactory. We think it may be of interest to pilgrims who so frequently use the Parish Church when visiting Walsingham over the weekends, that a great scheme of restoration has been declared to be of pressing importance. The lead of the roof is in a sorry condition; the watch beetle is in the roof; the stone mullions to the windows are disintegrating and the walls are in a very bad state. The parishioners are faced with a problem which it is difficult for them to solve at the moment, and your prayers are asked for our guidance in this matter. The Knights Gate Café is up to let and will be free in March; the present tenants are leaving to settle in Canada. We want therefore, some practising Catholics in full sympathy with the Shrine to fill the vacancy. It means hard work, as the Café has to be open on pilgrim nights till late, etc. The good-will of the business has to be bought and the house rented. Do our readers know of any suitable people for this? It can be a real help and assistance to visitors and pilgrims. For some years it has been the desire of the Guardians of the Shrine to confer a small decoration of honour on those ladies who have been conspicuous in their work and devotion for the Sanctuary of the Holy Mother of God. There are a great number of friends who have helped in all kinds of ways with the restoration of the Shrine and its works from the beginning; these are gratefully remembered, but the Dames of Our Lady of Walsingham - who are never to be more than twelve living members - are among those who have voluntarily given of their time or substance, and in outstanding ways benefited the Holy House in a conspicuous way. These ladies are elected by the Chapter and are to be invested in the Pilgrimage Church when possible; if not, the Master of the College of Guardians or one of the Fellows will visit and perform the investiture elsewhere. On Monday July [misprint for June] 29th, the feast of SS Peter and Paul, being the first evening of the Summer Chapter of the Guardians of the Holy House, the first investiture was held in the Pilgrimage Church when the Reverend Mother of S Saviour's Priory, Haggerston, Mrs Ferrier and Miss E M Chadwick received the decoration. In September Miss H Loddiges, coming from Sussex, was also invested, and in the same month the Master went to Maidenhead to admit Miss Doyle-Smithe ... but she was too unwell to receive him at that time. articles: 'Afflighem'; C E Douglas, 'Richard Whittington'; C H H, 'A forgotten Norwich martyr'; Leonard, SSF, 'Three shrines of Our Lady in Rome'; 'The Relics of S Hugh of Lincoln'; L H M S, 'Church goods in the Walsingham parish churches in 1368' photographs: insignia of the Dames of Our Lady of Walsingham [above]; Bishop O'Rorke; three photographs in and around the Shrine; two photographs connected with shrines in Rome; three photographs connected with S Hugh of Lincoln