Winifred Bennett remembers the village from before Fr Patten's coming in 1921: her father owned The Beeches, the house that was later bought for the hospice (now Stella Maris House), and she continued to live on elsewhere in the village.
We were only in one way more modern than today : we had arrived by train, having left Liverpool Street Station at 5.15 p.m. and got out at Walsingham itself at 9.10 p.m., our coach having been shunted on to a local train at a tiny station en route. Walsingham was also better off in the matter of shops than it is today. Its two markets having been long done away with, good little shops where you could buy useful things had taken their place. The Black Lion was there, as it had been for several hundred years and there were some eight other inns as well, which have been closed down one by one till only three remain.
loss to Walsingham was the old fair — a real one, kept at the beginning
of our local Holy Day which was in Walsingham Corpus Christi. I once asked
the old gipsy who was in charge how they knew when to come to Walsingham
as the feast had no fixed date. His reply was : "Well, it's not the
Thursday after Whit-Monday, it's the Thursday after that". I, like
all the small children, loved the fair and deeply regretted its passing.
Though they did not realise it was so, it was the last old link between
the secular life of the town and the days when the Church's calendar guided
their lives in all civic as well as secular matters.