Once I was a clever boy learning the arts of Oxford... is a quotation from the verses written by Bishop Richard Fleming (c.1385-1431) for his tomb in Lincoln Cathedral. Fleming, the founder of Lincoln College in Oxford, is the subject of my research for a D. Phil., and, like me, a son of the West Riding. I have remarked in the past that I have a deeply meaningful on-going relationship with a dead fifteenth century bishop... it was Fleming who, in effect, enabled me to come to Oxford and to learn its arts, and for that I am immensely grateful.

Monday 20 May 2024

An apology regarding the delay to the Marian Pilgrimage

Regular readers will have seen that I did not post yesterday or today. This is because eatly on Pentecost morning at about 3am after a shockingly viivid nightmare experience which I was attempting to understand I collapsed suddenly in my living room. Very fortunately I did not fracture my arthritic hips, or anything else, but I spent much of the next five or so hours wriggling across the floor to a chair to try to haul myself up, without final success. At 8.20am I phoned for help from the property manager and she called the paramedics. Since then I have been in hospital, Thr suggestion is that I was suffering from an infection which is now hopefully clearing.

Hospital gives one a lot of time in bed but it is not conducive to writing up these posts. Once I am home I wil resume these Marian posts, so the Pilgrimage will extend into June. At least none of us are attempting to do the Pilgrimage physically on the assigned day!

Saturday 18 May 2024

Marian Pilgrimage - Our Lady of Doncaster

The Pilgrimage remains in Yorkshire as it journeys south to Doncaster and the Carmeliteriary and to its statue of Our Lady of Doncaster.

I set out the history of the friary and of the devotion and its fate at the dissolution in my 2020 post which can be viewed at Our Lady of Doncaster

It also describes how in recent decades this devotion has been revived in the Catholic Church of St Peter’s Chains in the city centre.

May Our Lady of Doncaster pray for The King and all the Royal Family and for us all

Friday 17 May 2024

Marian Pilgrimage - Our Lady on Wakefield Bridge

The Pilgrimage now returns to Yorkshire and the remarkable survival that is the Chantry Chapel of Our Lady on Wakefield Bridge. Like Edmund Waterton I have more than a passing interest - pun intended - about the small chapel on the bridge into and out of Wakefield. 

I explain this and give a quite detailed account of the Chapel in my first post about it in 2020. That can be viewed at Our Lady on the Bridge at Wakefield

May Our Lady of Wakefield Bridge pray for The King and all the Royal Family and for us all

Marian Pilgrimage - Our Lady of Chester

Like the previous post in this series this is an addition to the original list, and derived from Waterton’s work. The statue of Our Lady of Chester stood in the south choir aisle of what was, until late in 1541, the abbey church of St Werbergh.
The statue stood by the head of the tomb of the local saintly hermit Goddesdald was apparently very popular and wrought many miracles.

According to a source cited by Waterton, it was believed on one occasion to have spoken and gestured. This was at a time when other local religious communities were disputing the claims of the Carmelites to be especially beloved of the Virgin on the basis that when any of the Carmelites’ friends fell ill that they all died. During a procession of the faithful organised by the Abbot of St Werbergh’s the statue extended its arm and addressed the passing Carmelites  saying “Behold my brothers, behold my brothers, behold my beloved and chosen brothers”

The not always very peaceful life of the fAndy can be read in VCH Cheshire vol iii (1980) at 

May Our Lady of Chester pray for The King and for all the Royal Family and for us all

Marian Pilgrimage - Our Lady of Brougham

Some miles away across the Fells on the northern border of Westmorland stand the still impressive ruins of Brougham Castle and it was after he had visited it in the 1540s that John Leland noted “About a dim from the castell there is a village called Burgham, and ther is a gret pilgrimage to our Ladye”. 

Waterton printed this statement in his list of statues, devotions and pilgrimages, but obviously could find nothing more. My fairly rudimentary search has not yielded anything. From what Leland says I think he must be referring to the old parish church of Brougham, which is at some distance from the village and castle. Known as Ninekirks it is dedicated to St Ninian, which suggests considerable antiquity, and the churchyard has yielded evidence of what appears to have been an early Christian monastic site. The church itself, which has some medieval grave slabs from its predecessor, was rebuilt in the 1650s by the formidable Lady Anne Clifford. It is believed, or claimed, to be one of only three churches to have been built in that sterile decade.

There are online websites about the church at 

Ninekirks from WikipediaSt Ninian's Church, Brougham, Cumbria

from Visit ChurchesNinekirks from Great English ChurchesSt Ninians Church Ninekirks steeped in Brougham history

from All things Brougham, Brougham St Ninian's Church from Visit Cumbria,  Brougham, St Ninian Ninekirk Church, Penrith, Cumbria from Britain Express and  Touching the lost past of Ninekirks from bitaboutBritain


Whatever the pilgrimage recorded by Leland it was clearly one in a series of events on a site long established for Christian worship.

 May Our Lady of Brougham pray for The King and all the Royal Family and for us all

Thursday 16 May 2024

Marian Pilgrimage - Our Lady of Furness

Both Jesmond and Furness are additions I have made to the original list, and in both instances there are remains of the medieval buildings.

The recorded story of the Shrne of Our Lady of Furness can be found at Our Lady of Furness

May Our Lady of Furness pray for The King and all the Royal Family and for us all

Marian Pilgrimage - Our Lady of Jesmond

The ruins of the pilgrim chapel at Jesmond in the suburb ms of Newcastle upon Tyne are still a focus for pilgrims and are a significant survival architecturally. My original post about the chapel and pilgrimage can be seen at St Mary’s Chapel Jesmond

May Our Lady of Jesmond pray for The King and all the Royal Family and for us all

Marian Pilgrimage - Our Lady of Bolton in Durham Cathedral

Beyond the Galilee in the choir of the cathedral at Durham was another much venerated statue of Our Lady - that of Our Lady of Bolton.

My two posts that discuss the statue can both be accessed from Marian Pilgrimage - Our Lady of Bolton in Durham Cathedral
May Our Lady of Bolton pray for The King and all the Royal Family and for us all