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Walsingham Priory



  • Artists impression Walsingham Priory Norfolk

Other Information

  • Walsingham Priory originated in the reign of Edward the Confessor on the spot of a woman Richeldis de Faverches who claimed to have seen the Virgin Mary.
  • de Faverches built what was basically a wooden hut and contained her shrine inside it.
  • Gradually miracles started to be associated with the building and word of mouth spread drawing in pilgrims from far and wide along with their associated wealth.
  • Work by the Augustian Order began in about 1146 on a new building which was constructed around the original wooden shrine built by Richeldis de Faverches originally with the intention of protecting it from the elements.
  • It was considered the most important place of pilgrimage in England after Canterbury having been visted by every English monarch from Richard the First to Henry the Eighth showing just how important it was.
  • Walsingham Priory at its height was a gothic styled church 74 metres long and contained two central towers.
  • The centre of the shrine was the statue of the Virgin Mary with Christ on her lap which had stood in the Holy House. Other relics included what was alleged to be milk of the Virgin Mary.
  • On dissolution in 1538 the shrine was taken to London and burnt after the Prior accepted a pension of a then whopping 100 a year.
  • There are substantially less ruins with little showing above ground level than other great abbeys such as Glastonbury and Bury suggesting the King's wrath was particularly great in its destruction, perhaps as a response to local opposition which saw 10 locals executed for high treason.
  • Today all that remains of the main priory building is the eastern window bay of the church.
  • Many of the relics have been reproduced and pilgrims now visit them. Quite how one can reproduce a copy of the Virgin Mary's milk has never been explained. The nearby Slipper Chapel is now the Roman Catholic National Shrine.


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Augustinian Order

Reference Data

Reference No.
First Uploaded
Last Editorial Date

Building Location

Norfolk County Council
East Anglia
United Kingdom

Building Specification

Construction start date
Demolition Date

Roof Height (AGL)
37.00 *

Market Data

Primary Use
Place of Worship

Metres > Feet

* Estimated Height