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The shrine of S Vincent
in the Sanctuary
click on picture to enlarge
Spring & Summer & Autumn 1933
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The Shrine has been visited by only one Guardian (excepting those who live here) this quarter, and that was Father Elton Lury early in the New Year. Several Priest Associates however have been on pilgrimage and have offered the Holy Sacrifice.
A very precious donation is a deed issued by the last Prior of Walsingham, Richard Vowell, conveying certain lands. It is dated July 30 [correctly 31], 1537, and has the seal of the Priory attached. This deed was drawn up the year before the dissolution and just two months after the execution (martyrdom?) of Nicholas Myleham for resisting the attempt to put down pilgrimages.
The Centenary Choir Building Fund - Readers of the Mirror have not done their bit towards this much-needed extension yet. We hope it is that the Friends of Walsingham have been waiting for 1933 actually to arrive before making their thank-offerings for the Catholic Revival; that you all intend to do whatever you can we are confident, but what we would like is a letter promising to send us such and such a sum by such and such a date.
As promised in the last number we give a picture of the new feretory or shrine of S Vincent, the Deacon and Martyr, which has been set up in the outer Church of the Sanctuary, on the north side of the altar of the Annunciation. As readers know, the holy relics, consisting of an arm bone and an ampulla with some remains of the Martyr's blood, were given to Father Patten some years ago with the letters of authentication by the permission of the Bishop of Assisi, together with some other relics of famous early martyrs. These were all enclosed and sealed in a black ebony and silver feretory. This reliquary was opened and the smaller relics transferred to other expositories, while that of S Vincent was re-enclosed in its original case; these were all re-sealed by Bishop O'Rorke and the necessary authentication added to the letters of the Bishop of Assisi.
The Relics of our Saint had been lent by Fr Patten to the Guild of S Vincent at the parish church, where they have been venerated for several years. They are now, still in the original reliquary of ebony, enclosed in the new feretory.
The shrine stands on a base coloured a dark green emblazoned with shields of those intimately connected with Walsingham. At the west end are the arms of S Vincent, D.M., and the family of Brett, the donors. On the south side are the arms of Sir William Milner, the donor of the land on which the present Sanctuary of Our Lady stands, Edward the Confessor, who was the lord of the manor when the Holy House was first erected, and Henry III, the first of the long line of royal pilgrims recorded to have visited the Shrine. At the east end are the shields of Walsingham and the first Administrator, while on the north we have those of S Augustine whose canons were the guardians of England's Nazareth for close on four hundred years. The next is a badge in a shield representing the Holy House; and the last on the base is the shield of the Clares, who were the patrons of the Priory and incidentally founders of the Franciscan house in the town. Over the base is a wooden cover, similar to that depicted in Mr Charles Walls' Shrines of British Saints for the shrine of the Venerable Bede; indeed ours was entirely suggested by the picture. This cover is painted in a dark green and is covered with a pall of silk. It is raised by means of a rope and pulley and rings attached to four iron posts which terminate in sockets for candles. When this cover is raised the actual shrine is revealed. It is beautifully made and is in colour and much gold leaf. There is a carved ridge on the top terminating in two crockets carved and gilded. At each corner there are pinnacles also carved and crocketed On the east end is a panel with the figure of the saint holding his gridiron and a palm branch; he is vested in an scarlet dalmatic; the back of this panel is diapered in gold and colour. At the west end the panel depicts Our Blessed Lady and the Holy Child vested in a similar way.
On the sides are other panels containing heraldry repeating the shields of the base: the Holy House, S Vincent and Brett, and on the other side S Vincent, Walsingham and Brett.
The west end is made in the form of a door and the whole of the south side wall can be removed to enable the relics to be exposed for public veneration. This was done of course on the feast of S Vincent after the parish mass, when many came to seek the Martyr's intercession.
Round the base is the inscription; "This feretory has been made in honour of Saint Vincent the Deacon and Martyr, and in memory of Lincoln Brett upon whose soul may God have mercy."
'Customs observed in some shrines of Our Lady in Belgium'