Pilgrimpace's Blog

parish pilgrimage
September 19, 2012, 4:14 pm
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I spent the weekend at the Shrine of Our Lady of Walsingham with folk from St Gabriel’s, Weoley Castle.

I’ve been going there on parish pilgrimages since I was small and it has a very special place in my heart.  The pattern of the weekend pilgrimage, beginning with services like Stations of the Cross in your own parish leading to the big corporate Masses, processions, healing and reconciliation, and sprinkling at the well give space for real encounter and growth.

walking the Holy Mile

only one of us was brave enough to walk barefoot

In the context of walking pilgrimages to places like Santiago, it is salutary to be reminded that going to a place of pilgrimage by car does not preclude a real experience of pilgrimage (although, as you can see, we did walk on Saturday afternoon).

time to relax

I am intrigued by a possible connection with the Knight’s Gate and Weoley Castle.  The legend tells that

in 1314 Sir Raaf Boutetout was fleeing from his enemies and prayed to Our Lady for rescue. Miraculously he and his horse passed through the wicket gate originally in this position to reach sanctuary in the Priory grounds beyond. A pilgrim badge showing knight, horse and gate was subsequently made to mark the event.

Joan de Botetourt owned Weoley Castle at the end of the century.  Is there any connection or am I being terribly unscholarly?  In any case there has been a devotion to Our Lady of Walsingham at St Gabriel’s for most of its history.

I was interested to see that The Bull welcomed Woeley Castle among the other parishes (which did not stop as seeking refreshment there).

These beautiful photos taken by Meenakshi give a flavour of the deeply refreshing time we had.

4 Comments so far
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Very interesting, Andy. I like Walsingham — in fact I posted about it some time ago (http://solitary-walker.blogspot.co.uk/2007/10/in-search-of-god-knows-what.html).

Comment by The Solitary Walker

thanks Robert – and really good to read your thoughts as well. I’ve walked there from London a few times when I was a student, although I don’t think this coincided with the old Walsingham Way,

“So crowded were roads that the stars, people say,

That shine in the heavens were called “Walsingham Way.”

I bought Michael Rear’s ‘Walsingham’ – I’ll look in it for information, I know there were a series of chapels and hospitals.

And we’re going again next year if you fancy it …


Comment by pilgrimpace

What a wonderful place!

Comment by Watching Seasons

Thanks – it is!


Comment by pilgrimpace

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