My 2019 pilgrimage took me from home, across the midlands of England to the ancient cathedral of Lichfield and then through the English counties of Staffordshire and Shropshire and back into Wales. I then walked on to Llandeilo in west Wales, which was one of the first Christian centres in early medieval Wales. From there I walked home across the hilly Brecon Beacons region and then through the Welsh valleys towns of Merthyr Tydfil, Tredegar and Brynmawr.
My route took me across very different landscapes, ranging from the great city of Birmingham to the quiet forests of mid Wales. As on my previous pilgrimages, I visited churches as I went and prayed in them wherever possible. However my pilgrimage this year was, above all, inspired by the story of a book – the St Chad Gospels- which is one of the most treasured possessions of Lichfield Cathedral.
This very early copy of the Gospels was in the possession of the cathedral by the late 11th century but had, previous to that, been at the ancient church of St Teilo in Llandeilo for about two centuries. My walk from Lichfield to Llandeilo re-traced, albeit in reverse, the route by which this book may have been taken from Wales where the same volume is known as the Llandeilo or St Teilo Gospels. A story of dispute and dissension but also of a great, shared heritage.