Keith Sisman Ramsey church of Christ Cambridge Peterborough England Pagan heathen walsingham norfolk catholic shrine slipper chapel British Bible School Corby boyns




According to Catholic tradition, Richeldis de Faverches is taken in spirit to Nazareth and asked by 'Our Lady' to build a replica, in Norfolk, of the Holy House of the Annunciation. The place chosen is Walsingham, next to the existing heathen place of worship and holy wells.

In 1150 Augustinian Canons build a Priory beside the 'Holy House'.

The Slipper Chapel was built as the last pilgrim chapel on the way to Walsingham in 1340.

Henry III in 1226 was the first monarch to visit the shrine. Edward I is recorded as coming 11 times. Edward II came in 1315, Edward III in 1361, King David of Scotland in 1364, Richard II and Queen Anne in 1383, Queen Joan in 1427, Edward IV in 1469, Henry VI in 1487 and the last English Monarch was Henry VIII.

During this time Walsingham was the fourth most important place of Roman Catholic pilgrimages, Rome, Jerusalem and Canterbury taking precedent. 

Red Mount Chapel is another superb example of a former heathen worship high place, being continued in the Roman Catholic tradition. The chapel, built in 1485 at the time of Henry VII, the first Tudor king, was a stopping-off place for pilgrims on their way to Walsingham, via the port of King's Lynn. Octagonal in shape, the chapel is very small, but having three floors. It is built on top of the artificial heathen mound, which may have been used for worship for hundreds of years. It is about twenty miles from Walsingham, which would have been reached via the Slipper Chapel.



The picture below show the remains of the Priory Church, Walsingham. Henry V111, in 1538 ordered the place destroyed, the Shrine was closed, and the statue taken to London with other images to be burnt. The Shrine and the Priory church were destroyed. The Slipper Chapel was used as a barn, a cow byre and as a workhouse, until it was rescued.




In this picture the remains of the Priory Church can be seen through an old arch, in between it is believed the Shrine would have stood.



In this picture the remains of the Priory Church can be seen with the remains of the holy wells being in the foreground, covered with mesh.  The Dutch scholar Erasmus visited Walsingham and left this description of the shrine "When you look in you would say it is the abode of saints, so brilliantly does it shine on all sides with gems, gold and silver… Our Lady stands in the dark at the right side of the altar, a little image, remarkable neither for its size, material or workmanship."



In 1896 Charlotte Boyd, an Anglican, buys the Slipper Chapel (below), a year or so later she converts to the Roman Catholic faith and gives the chapel to Downside Abbey. She dies in 1906. First post-reformation Catholic Mass is said in the Slipper Chapel on August 15th, 1934 and on the 19th August, Cardinal Bourne, led a pilgrimage of 10,000 people and declared the Slipper Chapel the Roman Catholic 'National Shrine of Our Lady'. Before a crowd, estimated between 10,000 and 20,000 the Papal Delegate, Archbishop O'Hara crowned the new statue of 'Our Lady of Walsingham' on 15th August 1954 re-establishing idol worship. In 1980 sadly the Anglican Archbishop of Canterbury visits the Slipper Chapel. The Anglican Bishop of Norwich prayed at the Slipper Chapel during his pilgrimage to mark 900 years of the Norwich Diocese.



In this picture the Slipper Chapel holy well complete with holy water can be seen.


Just in case pilgrims do not realise this is 'holy water' a cheap and nasty plastic laminated reminder sits on top! One can only wonder if the Pope was to make this better known that the strain on the British National Health Service could be taken away through the simple expedient of the miraculous curing power of 'holy water'!




A blast of heat from many burning 'votive candles' welcomes visitors to the Holy Spirit Chapel, housed within the Slipper Chapel.




The rear window of the Slipper Chapel.



In this picture the Shrine (on the left) and altar can be seen.




The altar.



Picture of the Shrine of Our Lady.



She even accepts petitions!



In this picture 'Our Lady of Walsingham' looks more like Dianna of Ephesus, or, Semiramis, wife of Nimrod with her crown and other regalia! Which presumably is from where the Roman Catholics borrowed her!