My 2022 pilgrimage took me from home in south Wales to the Shrine of Our Lady at Walsingham in Norfolk and then on to the cathedral at Bury St Edmunds, a walk that took me just over four weeks. Having started out in hilly Monmouthshire, I then crossed the Forest of Dean before making my way across the north of the Cotswolds and eventually to the busy town of Northampton. I then headed towards the fenland country of the east of England, visiting the cathedral city of Peterborough and then the ancient port of King’s Lynn before arriving at Walsingham. Another week’s walking south took me to Bury St Edmunds in the county of Suffolk, my final destination.
As always, I not only passed through beautiful, rural landscapes but also some fascinating urban centres. Most importantly, I was able to visit a variety of churches, not only of different denominations but also in all sorts of contrasting circumstances.
Above all, pilgrims such as myself journey to Walsingham and Bury St Edmunds because of the very special stories which are commemorated and celebrated there. At the former, it’s the vision given to local lady, Richeldis de Faverches, in the eleventh century in which she was instructed to build a replica of the Holy Family’s house at Nazareth; at the latter it’s the martyrdom in the ninth century of Edmund, the King of East Anglia. Captured in battle by Viking raiders, he refused to renounce his Christian faith and was cruelly killed.