About the Collection

In 1988 Fr Peter Cobb asked Elizabeth Ralph, City Archivist of Bristol from 1936 to 1971, to examine the Shrine's archives. She was confronted with what constituted the miscellaneous collection at that time, piled together over many years, hugely duplicated, and from many sources. Out of this she created a simple outline catalogue. Since then more material has been added, and much lost. During his time as Master of the Guardians Fr Peter Cobb arranged for a retired archivist, who was also a long-time pilgrim, to take over the care and development of the collection. We try to expand the collection (especially to fill in gaps in series) to make its contents safer from the ravages of time and temperature and to make available here much of the information contained in the records. Our top priority is to secure and preserve what remain of the records to the end of the Second War, and next those of the period 1945-1958, until Fr Patten's death. Next come the succeeding decades for which there are serious gaps, until the 2000s, when Fr Peter Cobb collected contemporary material. Most of the post2000 material will probably have to wait for attention until another day.
Conservation We were fortunate to receive an anonymous donation of high-quality conservation materials for the archives. The archives have been reasonably well kept over the years, but of necessity they have been stored in whatever envelopes and covers were available at little cost (which in the long term would have a detrimental effect on the collection), and with no ongoing maintenance. The records will finally be kept in archival storge boxes and containers in the archive room, which is securely locked. The gift of conservation materials included high-quality acid-free storage boxes, polyweld storage sleeves in different sizes for photographs and fragile documents, thirteen sizes of acid-free paper envelopes, files made of acid-free cardboard, archival tape, brassed paper clips and many other stationery items as used in record offices. These enabled us to set up high conservation standards for years to come.
Alfred Hope Patten History of the medieval Priory at Walsingham The Restored Shrine Society of Our Lady of Walsingham Sanctuary School 1944-56 Order of Our Lady of Walsingham Home for retired priests Communities: Sisterhoods Priory of Our Lady Star of the Sea Priory of Our Lady Community of Our Lady of Walsingham Society of St Margaret Sister Benedicta Sister Mary Phillida of the Son of God College of St Augustine Pilgrimages Manuscript papers and lectures Shrine publications Miscellaneous printed material from 1926 Miscellaneous pamphlets and articles Roman Catholic publications
Miss Ralph's first comments in her report on the Shrine archives in the 1980s were: "The archives seem to consist mainly of records assembled by A. Hope Patten [until his death in 1958] together with information collected on two occasions in an attempt to write a biography of him.” This statement still represents the core elements of the collection, but in the intervening years more material has been added from a variety of sources, and some has been lost. Some was never collected - the years between about 1970 to 2000 are particularly badly served. We can be sure that some good material is missing. (see the Wants page) Her very simple list of classes (below) still remains a sound base for our own much-expanded cataloguing.
Please note that some titles represent only a few documents, others as much as several boxes: the inclusion of a subject in this list means that we hold something relating, but not its entire archive. top of page