Our Lady's Mirror

Autumn 1958-Winter 1959

one of the last photographs of Fr Patten
Autumn 1958-Winter 1959 Number Winter Number 1958 Spring-Summer Number 1958
This number is a memorial number to Fr. Hope Patten, to whom everything connected with the revival at Walsingham, including the founding and editing of Our Lady’s Mirror, owes its existence. There have been Requiem Masses offered for Fr. Patten throughout the world, too numerous to be able to give a complete list, but mention must be made of the Requiem at S. Magnus the Martyr, London Bridge: the Annunciation, Bryanston Street: S. Alban the Martyr, Birmingham: and reports are still coming in from overseas, from America and even from the heart of Basutoland where there is a shrine of Our Lady of Walsingham. All this shows the enormous impact that Fr. Patten’s life-work made on the Anglican Communion as a whole. The secular press paid splendid tribute to him, particularly the TIMES and the EASTERN DAILY PRESS. It was a pity that the CHURCH TIMES could not resist a shabby little scratch amongst much that was sensible and good. However they hastily drew in their claws and said they were aiming at another target, but even their admirers felt that they had harmed only themselves. It is sad to have to record that the Congregation of S. Augustine has come to an end. After Fr. Patten’s death, only Brother John Augustine and Brother Joseph were left and they decided to carry on until the end of the pilgrimage season and then quietly seek dispensation from their vows. Brother John (now a priest) stays on to look after the Shrine while there is no resident administrator, and Brother Joseph is leaving in October. I am sure all pilgrims who have benefited from the faithful ministrations of this gallant little Community will wish to express their thanks and appreciation for all they have accomplished. It is the end of a work well done, and however the Shrine may be staffed in the future we hope they may live up to the standards already set. Another departure after Christmas will be Mr Kenneth Condon, who has been organist at the Shrine for some years and to whom we extend our thanks and good wishes. It is in no sense of disrespect to Fr. Patten that the Guardians have chosen for his successor as Master someone as unlike him as possible, but rather a recognition that Fr. Patten was unique, and to try and reproduce him would be an impossible task. Fr. Colin Stephenson, who becomes Master of the College of Guardians, was ordained in 1939 and has spent his whole ministry in Oxford, except for the years 1942-48 when he served as a Chaplain R.N.V.R. He is a far more boisterous personality than Fr. Patten and, having lived a lot of his life amongst sailors and undergraduates, has a somewhat more worldly bias. He was one of a small party who composed the first organised walking pilgrimage to Walsingham in 1936 led by Fr. Kenrick and having amongst their number Fr. J.G. Leonard (father of the present Bishop of Thetford). He was given lodgings with Mr and Mrs Shepherd in the Market, and the latter remembers that Master John watching her make the bed and seeing a Rosary under the pillow, said ‘What a funny man, to play with beads!’. Since then he has paid many visits to Walsingham, particularly after the War when he was disabled, and first walked without crutches there. He was elected a Guardian in 1953 and Registrar in 1957. The new Master writes: "Father Patten has left us with a great and important task, and I know only too well already how much depends on every lover of Walsingham pulling their weight and I am sure you will not fail in this. Already I have experienced the wonderful support of your prayers; please continue this charitable work, as I cannot do without them. You must not expect me to be like Fr. Patten; I am not as holy, not as wise and not as imaginative, but all I can say is that I will do my best to serve God and Our Lady and to care for the interests of all pilgrims to the Shrine. When you are tempted to criticise, please remember the notice over the piano in the Wild West Saloon: ‘Don’t shoot the pianist; he’s doing his best'". The main memorial to Fr. Hope Patten will be an attempt to build up the vital Endowment Fund, without which his work is bound to suffer. An Appeal will be issued shortly. Please do your best to spread it as widely as possible! On September 21st Brother John Augustine Shepherd, born and bred in Walsingham, was ordained priest in Norwich Cathedral. The new Master of the College of Guardians, Fr. Stephenson, and the Senior Priest Guardian, Fr. Fynes-Clinton, joined in the laying-on of hands. On September 23rd he sang his First Mass in the Shrine Church, and amongst the servers were Fr. Lingwood and Fr. Oswald S.S.F., both natives of this remarkable village which has produced so many Vocations. After the Mass there was a Breakfast in the Refectory and I think everyone felt how happy Fr. Patten must be at the fulfilment of this Vocation which he had seen and fostered from boyhood. Fr. Derrick Lingwood Remembers A fire in the Oxford Store Inn which I could see from the house in which I was born is my first recollection of Walsingham, and during the 1914/18 War of a Zeppelin coming over the house and dropping bombs not far from the village. Our Vicar, in his enthusiasm to give thanks for victory, caused the church bells to be rung before the official announcement had been made, and for this he was brought to the local Court, which sat and still does sit in Walsingham on the first Monday in each month, where he was fined, much to the annoyance of the parishioners. The pattern of our worship seemed at this time to be an eight o’clock service on Sunday, following alternately by a Sung Eucharist or Solemn Mattins. I used to go with my mother to Evensong, and because of my regular attendance I was asked to sing in the choir. When Fr. Reeves decided to leave Walsingham the services were taken by a different priest each Sunday, coming mostly from Norwich. One priest, after having said the Last Gospel to himself while the congregation sang a hymn, left the altar before the end of the hymn; we thought this very High Church and most reprehensible. It was a long time before we could get a new vicar; many came to look but turned it down. The living at this time was in the hands of the Lee-Warners, and when it seemed almost hopeless to get anyone to become vicar of Walsingham because of its small stipend and three churches, the previous incumbent asked a past colleague of his, Fr. F. E. Baverstock, if he knew of anyone. Fr. Baverstock had at one time had a Fr. Hope Patten as his deacon and curate, and knowing that this young priest had a great devotion to the Mother of God he recommended him. From early childhood Our Lady had been an especial friend of this young priest, and at his ordination he had prayed that when he was offered a living he might be offered a church which had for its patron the B.V.M. And then he was offered Walsingham. The difficulties were enormous and he was three months making up his mind. At last he decided to leave the matter to the head of the Cowley Fathers at Oxford, and so he went to seek an interview; when he got there he was told that the Superior was conducting a retreat and could not be seen. This, thought Fr. Patten, was his answer. The good Fathers gave him some tea and at the end of the table was a priest who seemed to resemble the Superior so closely that Fr. Patten asked who he was. The reply came; it was the Superior who had had to come into the house on a business matter. Fr. Patten tackled him and was told: “I am in the middle of conducting a retreat; there is no time now”. Again this looked like an answer and he would not have to undertake this impossible task; a great weight seemed to be lifted from his shoulders. But as he was taking his leave the Superior sent a message say “Tell that priest to walk with me to the station; we can discuss things as we go,” and as they walked through the streets of Oxford the Cowley Father heard all the pros and cons, and without a moment’s hesitation said, “You will send a telegram accepting”. And so we had a new vicar, and in those early days what a vicar he was! With his good looks and charming personality he was a welcome visitor in every house, and at that time he was a persistent visitor. The services, the Calendar, his teaching, were all based on the Book of Common Prayer, and he set himself out not only to win the village people for Christ but also the neighbouring clergy. This he did by organising conventions, and the local clergy were invited to the Vicarage for the inside of a week at a time, and such excellent teachers as the late Fr. A. H. Baverstock and Fr. Monahan (later Bishop of Monmouth) expounded the Faith. The servers and choir were invited to the Vicarage every Friday evening, and the village was electrified by the rags which we had in the house and grounds. I was taken out of the choir at this time and made a boat-boy as it was said I made the other boys sing out of tune! It was not many months before the Blessed Sacrament was reserved in S. Mary’s; at a later date, when the Bishop of Norwich maintained that Reservation was forbidden in the Diocese, being in his view illegal in the Church of England, Fr. Patten replied: “From my earliest days I have never lived in a place where the Blessed Sacrament was not reserved; since I have been a priest I have never worked in one without it, and now that I am an incumbent I would not”. Nothing more could be said of this unless the Bishop wanted a head- on-collision, which apparently he did not. Also, as soon as our new priest arrived he was making enquiries at the British Museum about the ancient image of Our Lady of Walsingham, and on seeing a copy of the seal of the Priory which depicts the image, he decided to have a facsimile carved and set up in the Lady Chapel of the parish church. This was carved by a Carmelite nun. On July 6th of the year following his induction all was ready for the blessing and the first stage in the restoration of the Shrine. Many of the local clergy were there and a number of parishioners when Fr. A .H. Baverstock blessed the image and it was set up on its bracket looking toward the Priory from whence the original one had been taken away in 1538. Fr. Archdale King preached the sermon (this priest has since changed his allegiance; he is the author of many learned books on the different rites of Christendom). After the setting-up of the image, had to come the first pilgrimage. This was organised by the old League of Our Lady. The secretary had had very little experience in organising pilgrimages and it would appear that any person writing for particulars was listed as intending to make the pilgrimage, with the result that Fr. Patten was told to expect forty people. At that time the only place for feeding was at the Black Lion and meals were ordered there; beds were provided in the village houses, and the great day arrived. The Parish Priest of Walsingham, with a few parishioners, went to meet the train in great excitement, and imagine their surprise when there stepped out of the train a very tall priest and a small woman. “Where are the other thirty-eight pilgrims?” everyone exclaimed. The reply came: “We have not seen any others; as far as we know, we are the pilgrimage!” But even here the hand of God could be seen; Fr. Patten went round to his parishioners and said: “Forty pilgrims were expected, food has been provided, it must not be wasted; you must make the pilgrimage.” Thus the idea and experience of pilgrimage was brought back to Walsingham people. The next thing was to get Sisters working in the parish and to get a hospice for pilgrims opened when occasion offered. Mother Sarah of Horbury, where the Convent of S. Peter then was, saw the possibilities at Walsingham and sent three Sisters (I believe it was) and they took up their residence in the Vicarage Cottage. At first of course they were received by us villagers with suspicion, but among their number was a saint, Sister Veronica, and she, together with Sisters Grace Helen and Marguerite, soon won our hearts. It was not long before the Sisters moved into ‘The Beeches’ in Holt Road, changing its name to the Hospice of Our Lady. This house, besides one in Knight Street (later called S. Augustine’s), some old cottages and a barn came into the market, and these were bought by Mr William Milner, as he then was. The old barn, now the pilgrims’ refectory, had been used as a Salvation Army Citadel and at the time the property was acquired it was a Friends’ Meeting House. Many letters passed between the Bishop of Norwich and the “Friends”, as they were not particularly pleased to be asked to vacate the property. In the beginning of the restoration of the pilgrimage the week-end gatherings had not then become popular and the yearly pilgrimages consisted of two two-day mid-week pilgrimages, one organised by the League of Our Lady and one by the Catholic League, with perhaps a local one from Norwich towards the end of the year. On the Wednesday evening of those two pilgrimages, Bishop O’Rorke would always come over from Blakeney to sing Pontifical Vespers, take part in the procession round S. Mary’s Churchyard and give Benediction. These ‘goings-on’ attracted people from far and wide and the procession was witnessed by hundreds from the surrounding villages. After the service Bishop O’Rorke went into the Pilgrims’ Refectory and each pilgrim was presented to him. The restoration of devotion to Our Lady of Walsingham was helped enormously by this good Bishop; he had a great love of Our Lady and he backed up Fr. Patten’s work in every way. The Bishop of Norwich went so far as to ask him to stop going over to the pilgrimages at Walsingham and told him “They only want you because you are a Bishop; if you were just a parish priest you would not be invited”. To which Bishop O’Rorke replied: “Be that as it may” and said that Almighty God had magnified Mary and he proposed to follow His example. During the central day of the two-day pilgrimage a tea-party was always given by Fr. Patten on the Vicarage lawn, and in those leisurely days the pilgrims were charmed by his sense of humour and by the certainty of his vocation to restore some of the glories of Walsingham, which he communicated to all. During the Prayer Book controversy many Priests’ Meetings were held in Walsingham and I learned much from the discussions which I was allowed to attend as a layman. At that time the Bishop of Norwich was a frequent visitor to the Vicarage as he too was violently opposed to the proposed Prayer Book, only from a different point of view. I remember thinking what strange bedfellows they made. Dr Pollock said jokingly afterwards that he and Fr. Patten were instrumental in getting that book rejected. From 1922 to 1931 the restoration grew steadily and pilgrims and visitors came in increasing numbers. Many of the latter were shocked by what they saw and wrote and told the Bishop so in no uncertain terms. During one of the debates in the House of Lords when he was making a speech, someone called out: “What about Walsingham? Put your own house in order”. Many famous people visited the Shrine in the parish church, including Dr Hensley Henson, the Bishop of Durham. He wrote to the Evening Standard afterwards, saying that it was quite natural that Walsingham should once again become a place of pilgrimage, but he deplored the revival of pilgrimage as it brought crowds of both sexes together, which too often led to deplorable results! I remember he was very scathing about the Pilgrimage Hymn, which caused Fr Patten much laughter. He wrote: “The pitiful rubbish of the Walsingham Pilgrimage Hymn could only be termed as a part of a pageant; as an act of religion it would be profane”!! With all this going on the Bishop of Norwich felt he must do something about it. How mysterious are the ways of the Almighty! There is no doubt in my mind that God the Holy Spirit was using the Bishop to get the Holy House reconstructed. One day, then, the Bishop descended on the parish; we were all told to pray. The Bishop, after walking round the church, was heard to mutter “It is far worse than I thought” over and over again, and said that the services must be brought more into line with the B.C.P; the Shrine of Our Lady, all the statues and the Stations of the Cross must go. Fr. Patten replied that in regard to the Shrine of Our Lady he thought he could meet the Bishop; he said the original shrine never was in the parish church – it was always in a church by itself and he would see if some friends of his could build a chapel to house the statue. But with regard to the other things, they were common to every Catholic church in the Diocese and he could not agree to do as the Bishop asked without calling a meeting of all the Catholic clergy in the Diocese. This, the Bishop thought, was not at all a good thing to do, and agreed that the other possibility had better be explored first. So off Fr. Patten went to London and met several friends and to them he put the situation. Could they lend £1,000 to rebuild in Walsingham a copy of the Holy House? They all agreed that it must be done and that they would lend this sum. Mr. Romilly Craze, the architect, was next consulted and he was instructed to prepare a plan of the Holy House from the dimensions of the old one, only this time it was to have two chapels at one end and a porch. While preparing this plan, he remembered the conversation he had had with Fr. Patten and his saying what a pity it was that there was not the money to build the covering chapel, using the measurements given by William of Worcester of the building which stood in Walsingham from 1061 to 1538. So he made a second drawing showing the Holy House with its covering chapel which would, he estimated, cost something over £2,000 to build. I remember so well these plans arriving (Sir William Milner was staying with us at the time) and all of us saying what a pity it was that there was not the money to complete this scheme. Next morning when we were having breakfast, St William said: “Pat, we must have that covering building and I will lend the money”, to which Fr. Patten replied: “No, you must not do this; you may lose your money”. I think this was the only time I remember Fr. Patten having to be pushed to do a thing; my life up till then had been spent in holding him back because of the lack of money and I often told him how tired he must get of my always putting the brake on, to which he replied with that winning smile of his, that it was necessary to have this restraint if we were to build solidly. Sir William had to become quite annoyed, saying: “Well really, Pat, it is my money and if I lose it I lose it, but it will not be lost”. So the building was ordered and it was not very long before all this borrowed money had been paid back. There seemed to be no difficulty about where to build as the obvious place was the kitchen garden of the Hospice; it was near to the Priory grounds. While the working drawings were being prepared Fr. Patten was praying that if it was God’s Will that this Holy House should again be built in Walsingham the same sign might be given as was vouchsafed to Richeldis, namely water. So the site was trenched, and a few feet down we found a cobbled courtyard, which Fr. Patten and others maintained was the courtyard of the burial ground of the Augustinian Canons. During the digging of another hole the sign was given by the Almighty – water burst forth; the diggers had hit on a disused well, and on examination it was found to be of Saxon origin and had evidently been intentionally blocked with clay, and at the bottom of the well were found shoe-soles of apparently mediæval pilgrims. Here indeed was the answer to prayer, and it was therefore decided to enclose the well in the new building. Everything was ready on October 15th 1931, when it was blessed by Bishop O’Rorke. After he had sung the Mass in the parish church, the statue of Our Lady of Walsingham was solemnly translated to its new home amid the rejoicing of thousands of people. This indeed gave a great impetus to the revival, and from that time the week-end pilgrimage started to grow and before long this building was found to be quite inadequate to accommodate the pilgrims desiring to come, so again plans were got out for a large building at the west end. These plans were printed and left about at the entrance to the Shrine, and one day this bore fruit, for again at breakfast Fr. Patten thrilled us all by saying that in his post was a letter from a priest sending £4,500 odd towards the new building. Working drawings were commenced and as these took shape so did the size of the building; there was no need now to persuade Fr. Patten to embark on the project, and in the end it cost over £12,000. I need say nothing about modern developments; they are all well known. In this restoration Fr. Patten was fortunate indeed to be able to draw on so many willing helpers. In due time the Horbury Sisters, who had become the Sisters of S. Peter’s, Westminster, gave way to the Sisters from S. Saviour’s Priory, Haggerston who, encouraged by Fr. Patten, have built their own Convent and Chapel. To the Sisters of whatever Order, Fr. Patten was deeply conscious of the debt he owed. One of the things which was very dear to his heart was the Children’s Home, and during the War years this Home (transferred from S. Hilary, Cornwall during the troubles there) was housed in the Vicarage and he therefore came into very close contact with it. He was intensely interested in the children, particularly when it was time for them to go out into the world, and the majority of them returned to him often for help and advice. I suppose I knew him better than anyone because I lived with him for nearly thirty-two years. It is to him I owe my priesthood; without him I could never have realised my vocation. Like all great outstanding men he had his great gifts and great failings. I remember an archaeologist staying with us, and one day he said: “I am sorry for you, my boy, living with a genius”. He was a very kind man; he never told one of their faults, he just looked at one and that was enough. He never held an inquest; the look was sufficient. His was a very lovable nature; very shy and utterly genuine. I suppose his greatest failing was not being able to see another person’s point of view; to him black was black and white white – there were no shades in between. In the working out of what he believed to be his vocation he was ruthless with himself and also, if they stood in the way of the fulfilment of that vocation, ruthless with others. He had no money sense whatever and yet he was a big enough man to hand over all his money matters to another and for many years he did not even see his cheque book from one year’s end to another. Even to the day of his death I doubt whether he ever knew where his income came from or how much it was. If there had not been others to look after him he would have given every penny he earned away. My life with him was indeed a happy time, for the most part in complete harmony; latterly we drifted apart in our ideas, but for me there was always a great affection for him coupled with heartfelt thanks for all he did for me. I tried to repay this in a small way be staying with him for over twenty years as a priest. He was a wonderful companion to have a holiday with; his knowledge of buildings and shrines in Europe was wide, and as a young man I learned much from him on our journeys together. When I was ordained, that pleasure had to be denied us as one or other of us had to hold the fort. We who loved him can show our love by taking the work into which he put so much a stage further. The Church on Earth is poorer for his loss – I was going to say, the Church of England, but that would be only half the truth: he was not a Church of England man as such, his loyalty was to a wider conception of the Church, to the Catholic Church of Christ, to the Church of S. Hugh (his well-loved patron) and yet at the same time to the Church of S. Charles, King and Martyr. The Saints were very real people to him, and often when he had been exhausted with work and dropped off to sleep in his chair, those who were present would hear described in vivid detail such an event as the martyrdom of S. Thomas of Canterbury: but that is another story! The Death and Burial of Father Patten Monday, August 11th, was to have been an historic day for the Shrine of Our Lady of Walsingham, but no one suspected quite how historic it would turn out to be. It was the date fixed for the first Episcopal Pilgrimage and although only five prelates had found themselves free to make the pilgrimage it had in fact commanded a far wider interest and goodwill amongst the episcopate. As the invitation had been issued in the name of the Guardians of the Shrine, twelve of them had come on pilgrimage to act as hosts to the bishops. Tea was served on the lawn of the College enclosure and the visitors were welcomed by the Administrator and the various people who work for the Shrine. It was one of those rare good summer days and the sun shone brightly as Fr. Hope Patten moved amongst the guests, as he has done many times during the last thirty-seven years as increasing numbers of pilgrimages have flocked to the remote Norfolk village chosen by Our Lady herself to be England’s Nazareth. The pilgrims made their first visit to the Holy House shortly before the evening Devotion, and several of them stayed on to say the Rosary and to join in the Intercessions. Dinner had been arranged in the Knight’s Gate Café, recently re-opened under new management and bidding fair to appear in the Good Food Guide. Fr. Patten presided at a very happy gathering, sitting between the two U.M.C.A. Bishops of Zanzibar and South-West Tanganyika. He was discussing with great interest and animation the possibility of having a chapel in the Shrine particularly devoted to the Church Overseas. It was a very hot evening and the meal was only just finished in time to get ready for the Service in the Shrine, and because of the heat both the Guardians and the bishops were a little reluctant to vest, the bishops in copes and mitres and the Guardians in their velvet mantles. There was the usual procession with candles around the Shrine garden, the bishops having some difficulty with their mitres and the overhanging branches of the trees. The pilgrim hymn, telling the story of the founding of the Shrine, was sung, with its constantly repeated ‘Ave’, and it was afterwards remembered that Fr. Patten was singing fervently although a photograph taken at the time shows his face tense and drawn and obviously already suffering pain. Back in the Shrine the heat was intense, but Fr. Patten gave Benediction and sang the Collect without faltering, a thing which he had been unable to do for some time, since failing health and eyesight had made it difficult for him to conduct public worship. As usual he carried the Host back to the Tabernacle in the upstairs chapel behind the High Altar and with a characteristic gesture arranged the curtains of the Tabernacle before turning and collapsing. There were very few people who realised that the celebrant had not returned to the sacristy; in fact he had been helped down the stairs and over to his cottage. The congregation dispersed, but many lingered on in the Shrine, and suddenly those outside and within were startled by the bell of the Shrine ringing slowly and ominously – it was announcing to the village and to the pilgrims that the parish priest who had laboured amongst them for thirty-seven years and who had restored the ancient glories of Walsingham had ended his earthly life. The doctor, who had been called, had just told him that he must stay in bed and that he would not be able to say Mass next day; a few minutes after the doctor left he again collapsed and died. At the sound of the bell people began to come back, and soon the Shrine Church was crowded. Fr. Stephenson, the Registrar, made a short announcement saying that this was a most historic moment with the passing of the man who more than any other had been responsible for the rebuilding of the Holy House and the spreading of devotion to Our Lady under her ancient title ‘of Walsingham’. The De Profundis was then recited, and it was stated that all Masses next day would be of Requiem. In the College things went on so calmly and unemotionally that it might have been thought to have been pre-arranged. The Bishops said that they were quite content to fade out, but the Guardians were most emphatic that the one thing Fr. Patten would have wanted above all others was that the pilgrimage should go on without interruption. The Sisters came at once to lay out the body and some of the Guardians assisted in vesting the Master of the College in a red velvet chasuble which he had himself chosen for his burial. As the Feast of the Assumption was so close it was decided that his obsequies must begin the following evening, and even at the late hour the Times was contacted so that a notice could go in the next day. All the Bishops said Masses of Requiem in the Holy House and the Priest Guardians in their own chapels. Fr. Fynes-Clinton, the senior Priest Guardian, sang a Solemn Requiem with the Bishops sitting in choir. They then performed their other acts of pilgrimage – Stations, Intercessions and Sprinkling – at the times previously appointed, and left Walsingham that afternoon as each of them had a tight schedule of engagements. That evening at the very time when twenty-four hours earlier the Pilgrimage Procession was about to take place, the body was carried into the Shrine Church with the coffin open, and Vespers of the Dead was sung, pilgrims and villagers filing past to sprinkle Holy Water, so making a last act of homage to a dearly-loved and respected priest. Next morning a High Mass of Requiem with Absolutions was sung by Fr. Stephenson, who as Registrar under the Constitution was bound to act as Master of the College until an election could take place. During the day priests began to arrive from all over England for the funeral, and from midnight onwards Masses were said in the Holy House at half- hourly intervals. At 11 a.m. the Procession started out from the Shrine; it was headed by between fifty to a hundred priests and the Bishop of Carpentaria, who had been staying in Norwich and was able to come and represent the Episcopate. The Sacred Ministers represented three generations of those who had found their vocations under Fr. Patten’s influence; the Celebrant was Fr. Lingwood, the Deacon Brother John Shepherd, C.S.A., and the Sub-Deacon Fr. Harbottle. Brother Joseph, the only other surviving member of C.S.A., carried the Holy Water. The coffin had his Guardian’s mantle and a stole and biretta upon it, while the Master’s chain of office was carried on a cushion behind. The bier was flanked by the Guardians, and behind came the family mourners, Sisters from the Convent, Dames of Our Lady of Walsingham with members of S.O.L.W., the children of S. Hilary’s Home and the villagers. Before leaving the Shrine, the Restorer’s body was carried for the last time through the Holy House. As the procession moved down the village street, the psalms from the Burial Office and the Gradual Psalms were recited. It was a very moving sight to see the body of a parish priest who had served his parish faithfully for so long a period being borne with such devotion. As we turned from the street to the parish church, the bell could be heard tolling solemnly. S. Mary’s is one of the large Norfolk churches, but already it was almost filled, and when the crowd following the bier arrived there were many who could not find seats but who had to stand at the back. The Vicar of Blakeney, who as Rural Dean represented the Diocese but who as successor to Bishop O’Rorke represented even more, to those who know, the story of the revival at Walsingham, read the Lesson from the Burial Office, standing on the Chancel steps. Then followed the Solemn Requiem Mass. Several of the servers had been boys when Fr. Patten first came to Walsingham, the majority never having known any other Vicar. Between the Mass and the Absolutions a panegyric was preached by one of the Guardians, Fr. Colin Gill, Vicar of S. Martin’s, Brighton. He spoke most movingly of the parish priest whose hands, now lying folded in death, had during his life brought so many blessings to this place. “Look around you,” he said, “and you will see everywhere in Walsingham the tokens of a great lover of Jesus and His Blessed Mother”. He spoke of the coming parish feast of the Assumption and the fact that in the mysteries of God He may well have taken the soul of His faithful priest in order that this year he might celebrate this great feast in the Courts of Heaven. He ended by pointing out that all that had been accomplished had not been done without sacrifice, and this had received the seal of Almighty God, for ‘the Lord loveth a cheerful giver’. During the Absolutions, the Guardians who had been sitting in choir, came down and stood around the bier. Finally the coffin was carried out through the magnificent south porch and to the grave which had been prepared near those of Fr. Baverstock (under whom he had served his title) and William Frary. The sun coming out from behind the clouds added to the sense of splendour and triumph which had marked every moment of this death and burial. People filed past the grave sprinkling Holy Water, but although the body of Fr. Alfred Hope Patten lies buried in the churchyard of the parish he served so devotedly, his spirit is still very much alive in this place where his great work has been done, and it can be said him as it was said of Sir Christopher Wren, ‘If you would see his memorial, look around you’. SERMON PREACHED BY THE BISHOP OF THETFORD In the Church of S. Peter Parmentergate, Norwich, at a Requiem for Fr. Patten The Funeral Oration of King David over Abner, as recorded in 2 Sam. 3.38, began “Know ye not that there is a prince and a great man fallen this day in Israel”. I am humbly proud of the privilege which is mine of trying to express the admiration and affectionate regard in which Fr. Hope Patten was held by thousands of people far beyond the confines of our County, our Country and our Communion. He was a priest of outstanding gifts and outstanding personality. He possessed, as we all know, great personal charm and a delicate and endearing sense of humour. He was one to whom all sorts and conditions of men and women, boys and girls, were instinctively drawn, and there was about him an almost visible aura of saintliness. No one could fail to take notice of him that he had been with Jesus – and in this, as in his uncompromising adherence to the full Catholic faith, his feet were clearly set in the Apostolic tradition. My earliest recollection of Walsingham as something more than a mediæval place of pilgrimage, was the description given me some twenty years ago by my father, who with another elderly priest, Fr. Kenrick, made a pilgrimage to Walsingham on foot, walking all the way from London – no mean feat at the age of 75! and I shall never forget how deeply moved he was by the experience, and how much he felt drawn towards Fr. Hope Patten. One cannot but believe that the revival of devotion to Our Lady of Walsingham is the work of the Holy Spirit and that Fr. Hope Patten was specially chosen as the instrument for the fulfilment of this Divine purpose. It is generally believed that 18 priests had refused the living before it was offered to him. In point of fact in 1921 Walsingham wasn’t a very attractive sphere of work, with its three churches and a benefice income of £197 a year. If he had pleased himself Fr. Hope Patten would have been the 19th to refuse, but his spiritual adviser said “Go”, and so to Walsingham he went, and for 37 years he has been, under God, the inspiration and mainspring in the creation of all that now exists outside the actual walls of the Parish Church. If you stand at the site of the Knight’s Gate, almost every building you see is the result of his work. Moreover as parish priest of Walsingham his interests and his achievements were as Catholic as his Faith. For in addition to the Pilgrimage Church and the Holy House, which will always stand as his memorial, the Sanctuary School, the children’s home, the Priory of St. Margaret, the pilgrims’ hostel and the College and much else were all the children of his begetting. It must of course be admitted that there are certain features at Walsingham which many well-disposed people find it hard to understand or appreciate, which they feel to be exotic and foreign to the traditional ethos of English Catholicism. Indeed one may legitimately wish that some things were other than they are, but only prejudice or an insensibility to spiritual realities can blind one to the atmosphere of devotion or to the essential wonder of a place in which every stone proclaims the reality of the unseen, and reflects the essence of adoration and selfless devotion to the Blessed Mother of our Lord. Now Our Lord never hesitated to use an amusing or even ludicrous illustration to press home a truth that He was proclaiming – there is His unforgettable comparison of the religious scrupulosity of the Pharisees to the man who having daintily removed a midge from his beaker of wine, lest he should eat anything unclean, proceeds to swallow a camel – a camel of all things with its supercilious nose, his knobbly legs and all. So I make no excuse for using two very worldly examples to illustrate what was surely the fundamental genius of Fr. Hope Patten. At the turn of the century, when horseless carriages were the expensive toys of millionaires, a great man took a mental leap into the future, he sensed or in some way foresaw that motor transport would become an everyday necessity and would satisfy a popular demand – neither of which had at that time in any way revealed their existence. He foresaw the need to set to work to whet the public appetite by making foolproof cars, which by new and ingenious methods of production, he was able to sell at a price within a poor man’s purse – and all of us who drive cars today owe a very great debt to Henry Ford – the father of “Motoring for the Masses”. On coming nearer home, Billy Butlin, another great man, saw in his mind’s eye the kind of holiday which multitudes of people would enjoy – the kind of holiday which would cater for whole families, or provide the necessary fellowship for lonely souls – and he, like Henry Ford, revealed to the masses a need of which they had been unconscious, and fostered a demand, which but for his genius in organising his particular brand of holiday camp would have remained unrecognised and unsatisfied. So in the same way, but on an infinitely higher plane, Fr. Hope Patten stands among the great benefactors of the spiritual life, as one who by his vision revealed to an innumerable company of Christian people the hunger in their souls for the Catholic Devotion to Our Lady and the healing power of childlike faith in prayer, and by his enterprise and constructive genius has created a centre of national pilgrimage on the site of an ancient and historic shrine. This Mass, which is a requiem for the repose of his soul, is also a Eucharist – a thanksgiving to Almighty God for the life and labours of one whose name will always be honoured as a devoted parish priest, and as a unique figure in the contemporary life of the Church. We rejoice in the legacy he has left the Church – the restoration of the ancient shrine of Our Lady of Walsingham and the renewal of her dignity and honour. And rejoice for him, that he saw the travail of his soul and that it was in the shrine itself that he received his call to enter into the inheritance of the saints in light. Eternal rest grant to him, O Lord, and let light perpetual shine upon him. The Printer and Staff of the Sutton Press, who have been privileged by association with Fr Patten for over twenty years, pay tribute to this remarkable man. We never met him "in the flesh", but his personality was so powerful that we knew him, nevertheless. We know that he burned himself out with sincerity and enthusiasm for his life's work. God rest his great soul! articles: Letter from the late Canon John Blake-Humphrey to his nephew about Fr Patten, 1926; Sir William Milner, 'Reminiscences'; photographs: one of the last photographs of Fr Patten [above]; studio [photographic] portrait of Fr Patten in his Master's regalia; the cortege at his funeral 14 August 1958; an early pilgrimage procession; Fr Colin Stephenson; First Mass group of Fr John Shepherd