Important Dates in the Shrine's History
1061 Richeldis's vision of Our Lady, and the building of the Holy House c 1153 The Augustinian Priory of Walsingham was founded by Geoffrey de Faverches 1347-8 The Franciscan Friary was founded 1538 The Augustinian Priory of Walsingham was dissolved: the image of Our Lady was taken to London and probably burned there
Outline histories of pilgrimage at the Shrine from the earliest times are found in many of the books mentioned on the Bibliography page of this website. Both Michael Yelton, for his definitive biography of Fr Patten (2006; 2nd edition 2022), and Michael Rear for his comprehensive history of Walsingham from the pre-Christian era to the present day (2011; 2nd edn 2019), used the Shrine archives extensively: both books are excellent introductions to Fr Patten and his Restoration of the Shrine. Below is a timeline of key dates in the history and life of the restored Shrine.
1921, 19 January Fr Alfred Hope Patten was instituted to the living of Great and Little Walsingham with Houghton St Giles Fr Patten preferred to use his second Christian name of 'Hope' rather than Alfred. In the late Victorian era the name 'Hope' was found as a baptismal name for both boys and girls. Addressing him later as a priest, people would use 'Fr Patten', as in those days a priest's Christian name was not generally used. But his custom of signing and using 'A. Hope Patten' led to his name often being interpreted as a double-barrelled one without a hyphen*: 'Hope' as a Christian name, for men at least, had by then all but disappeared and was more thought of as a surname, hence the confusion in a name so frequently spoken and written about. (If he had been called Alfred John Patten the situation would never have arisen.) Consequently, after his death, he was increasingly referred to as 'Fr Hope Patten', and both forms have been in regular use. These websites use ‘Fr Patten’ throughout. In his book Vicars of Walsingham 1921- 2021 (pp 25-26 fn) Fr William Davage agrees that ‘Fr Patten’ is the proper use. A letter to Fr Patten from Dom Aelred Carlyle in 1911 addresses him as ‘Hope’. Opinion will probably always be divided! *In his Preface to the reprint of Fr Stephenson’s Walsingham Way his executor Fr Gordon Reid appears to have hyphenated the surname, but this was a publishing error. 1921 an image of Our Lady was carved, a copy of the figure on the seal of the medieval Priory 1922, 6 July this image of Our Lady was blessed by Fr Alban Baverstock and set up in St Mary’s, the parish church (note that one source gave this date as 6 July 1921, which is still occasionally found, perpetuated from that source, or even from Fr Patten’s occasional slip of the pen): Fr Patten’s own recollections of the day give proof, if any was needed, of the correct date) 1922, 24-26 October first organised pilgrimage to the Shrine 1924, 21 March The house called The Beeches in Holt Road and its grounds purchased for pilgrimage accommodation (the house being renamed the Stella Maris Hospice, now called Stella Maris House) 1925, 20 August Society of Our Lady of Walsingham founded 1926, January first issue of Our Lady's Mirror 1926 the house purchased in 1924 (above) was blessed 11 June 1926 as the ‘Hospice of Our Lady Star of the Sea’ 1928 first Pilgrims' Manual published 1931 formation of the first College of Guardians 1931 the Holy House [the Shrine] and its covering building were built 1931, 10 October the Shrine bells were Blessed and Baptised by Bishop O’Rorke 1931, 15 October the Holy House blessed, Mass said in it for the first time, and then the image of Our Lady was solemnly translated from the parish church to the Holy House: details of the Translation 1931 Priest Associates (or Priests Associate) of the Holy House founded: note that this date is sometimes given as 1927, the reason being that the phrase 'Priest Members of the Society' was used in a 1927 Our Lady's Mirror and was misinterpreted later as the foundation date of the PAHH: this error was copied as definitive in a 1958 OLM, and in turn taken and published by Fr Colin Stephenson in Walsingham Way, his biography of Fr Patten 1932, 11 February first formal meeting of the new College of Guardians, held in the Vestry Room of S Magnus by London Bridge (the Rector: Fr Fynes-Clinton) 1932, 15 October the first anniversary of the opening of the Holy House observed as the Feast of the Translation of Our Lady of Walsingham 1932, 19 October the Guardians meeting at Walsingham “do hereby form ourselves into the College of the Guardians of the Holy House and Sanctuary of Our Lady of Walsingham” under a newly-prepared formal constitution 1933, 19 July The Halifax Altar presented by Lord Halifax as an outside altar, was first used for the Oxford Movement Centenary Mass on this day; replaced 2005 by the Altar of the Mysteries of Light 1934 Enid Chadwick came to live in Walsingham; her first work for the Shrine was in 1935 1938, 6 June Whit Monday: the enlarged Pilgrimage [Shrine] Church was opened and blessed in the presence of crowds of pilgrims; a ‘Whit Monday’ (National) pilgrimage has been held ever since, although the date now linked to the Late May Bank Holiday; 1938 order of service 1939 children from St Hilary’s (Cornwall) Children’s Home taken in by Fr Patten, eventually settling in ‘The Falcons’, a house in Cleaves Drive, renamed St Hilary’s 1945, 21 May Orthodox Chapel dedicated by Bishop Sava of Grodno [sometimes wrongly dated 1944] 1947 The Sisters of the Society of St Margaret came to Walsingham 1952, 15 October the 21st anniversary of the Translation: legend has it that Fr Patten made a great observance of this 'birthday', as he called it, as he felt that he might not live to see the Silver Jubilee in 1956 1956, 13-15 October Celebrations for the Silver Jubilee of the Translation 1956 Fr Derrick Lingwood left Walsingham 1956 Hospice extension completed (the building on the village side of the arch, later replaced by the Milner Wing) 1956 Sisters’ new Convent buildings completed 1957, 9 February Sisters’ new chapel dedicated 1958, 11 August Fr Patten died 1958, 13 August Fr Patten's funeral 1959 new Comper reredos installed in the Holy House as a memorial to Fr Patten 1960 The Order of Our Lady of Walsingham founded 1961 The Walsingham Review replaced Our Lady's Mirror 1964 North Cloister of the Shrine Church built as a memorial to Fr Patten 1964, October Walsingham railway station and line closed 1965 Enid Chadwick painted the effigy of Fr Patten (on north side of the Shrine, near the well) 1967, March Second Refectory opened (a prefabricated building, where the Milner Wing is now) 1971 The date of the annual Whit Monday National Pilgrimage had to be linked to the secular Late May Bank Holiday, which does not always coincide with Whit Monday 1972 South Cloister added, to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Restoration of the Shrine in the parish church; also called the Jubilee Cloister 1977 St Hilary’s Children’s Home closed 1980 Archbishop Robert Runcie preached at the National Pilgrimage, the first Archbishop of Canterbury to visit the Shrine officially since Fr Patten’s Restoration 1985 St Joseph's Wing opened by the Duchess of Kent 1987 Enid Chadwick died 1990 Richeldis House opened by Mrs Graham Leonard (wife of the then Bishop of London) 1993 Stella Maris Hospice renamed Stella Maris House 2001 Third Refectory and Norton Room opened by Princess Alexandra 2002 Barn Chapel opened 2005 Blessing of the new Shrine Gardens (completely redesigned 2004 by Tessa Hobbs) 2005 Altar of the Mysteries of Light built in the Shrine Gardens, replacing the Halifax Altar 2006 The Quiet Garden opened (designed by Tessa Hobbs) 2006 Celebrations for the 75th Anniversary of the Translation 2008 Milner Wing built and in use 2009 Holt Road entrance gate named The Brandie Gate (Arch) in honour of Fr Beau Brandie 2009, 8 October Milner Wing and Welcome Centre officially opened by The Duke of Edinburgh 2011 Celebrations for the 950th Anniversary of the medieval foundation 2013 St Augustine’s restored, with the Eric Kemp Library and the Marian Library housed there 2018, 18 September The Ecumenical Covenant 2021, March The Covid pandemic, which started here in 2019, led to the launch of greatly-welcomed live- streaming of Shrine Prayers and some Shrine services, and, from May, of outdoor services and events (the first being the National Pilgrimage online) 2022, 6 July The Centenary of the Restoration of the Shrine celebrated top of page