Somewhere in an English village — amid the cul-de-sacs and pubs, vegetable patches and garden gnomes, the GP’s surgery and the miniature steam railway — lies the spot where the Virgin Mary came down from heaven.
Walsingham, Norfolk, is a sleepy place (though not as sleepy as the neighbouring village of Great Snoring). Nonetheless, it was here in 1061 that the Virgin supposedly appeared to Richeldis de Faverches, a Saxon noblewoman. Mary instructed her to build a replica of the house at Nazareth where archangel Gabriel had brought the news that she was to bear the Son of God.
You might wonder if there were more urgent prophecies to relate to a Saxon in the England of 1061 — but, in any case, the noblewoman set about following her instructions. It is said that one night, while she prayed, the building materials she had provided miraculously assembled themselves into the “Holy House” of Walsingham.
For half a millennium, Walsingham thrived as a centre of pilgrimage, alongside Jerusalem, Rome and Santiago. English kings came to pray here. The Milky Way became known as “The Walsingham Way” because its celestial sweep recalled the movement of pilgrims towards the bright star of its shrine. Walsingham, so the saying went, was “England’s Nazareth”.
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Somewhere in an English village — amid the cul-de-sacs and pubs, vegetable patches and garden gnomes, the GP’s surgery and the miniature steam railway — lies the spot where the Virgin Mary came down from heaven… https://t.co/pWEzTvkEYH
— FT Weekend (@ftweekend) May 24, 2022