Little Walsingham (also known just as Walsingham) village is a step back in time with its timber framed and Georgian faÁade buildings. Itís an inviting and interesting place to walk around, even without its religious connections, which are Roman Catholic and Anglican. The village is a present day place of pilgrimmage for both groups.
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The Anglican shrine of Our Lady of Walsingham was constructed in 1931 in a green space with gardens. Elmham House at Friday Market Place was a grammar school, established in 1639. It retains its original oak panelling and now serves as accommodation for present day pilgrims. Two historic inns are in the village center.
The religious emphasis began when Richeldis de Faverches, lady of the manor, had a number of visions of the holy house at Nazareth where Gabriel announced the birth of Jesus. Whereupon, she built a replica as seen in her dreams. This later became a part of an Augustinian priory church and monastery, founded c1153. The queens and kings of England from 1226 (Henry III) until 1511 made pilgrimages to the priory. During the dissolution of the monasteries c1538, the priory was destroyed. The 20th century Anglican Shrine church contains a replica of the holy house.
The priory ruins, set in beautiful grounds on the edge of the village, include a crypt, refectory, east window arch, west porch, and two holy wells. Woodland and parkland walks can be enjoyed.
After being used for various purposes including a cow shed, the 14th century Slipper chapel was restored, and people began to return to the area on pilgrimage. The chapelís name was changed in 1934 to the Roman Catholic National Shrine of our Lady. In the chapel is a statue of our lady of Walsingham and stained glass windows. Another chapel named the Holy Ghost was added to the chapel in 1938.
The Shirehall museum is located in what was the outer precinct of the priory. In the middle of the 18th century until 1970, a courthouse occupied the site. It houses displays on the priory and contains the original courthouse and prisonersí cells.
Little and Great Walsingham are located on minor roads off the B1105 and north of the A148 in north Norfolk.
Website for the Anglican and the Catholic church pilgrimages and Elmham house: Walsingham
Tel. 01328 820510
Anglican Shrine of Our Lady of Walsingham
Walsingham, Norfolk NR22 6BW
Tel. 01328 820255
Fax. 01328 824206
Accommodation office Tel. 01328 820239
Catholic Shrine: The National Shrine of Our Lady
Walsingham, NR22 6EG
Tel. 01328 820 217
Note: Little Walsingham is a very busy place during times of pilgrimage, Easter to October. To avoid the large crowds, visit at other times. Full details of events are on the website.