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Norfolk holidays: How exploring a holy site that drew kings can be a heavenly experience 

The sight of 29 nuns shuffling on their knees along a village street might strike some as odd. Not me. I live on the Peddars Way, a Norfolk pilgrim route from Thetford, past Swaffham and Fakenham and thence on to Walsingham.

It’s hard today to believe that this tranquil cluster of hamlets, barely inland from the Norfolk coast, was once among the four holiest destinations in all Christendom.

When, in 1061, a Saxon noblewoman called Richeldis de Faverches saw a vision of the Virgin among these fields of poppies, she erected a shrine. Drawn to it over the centuries were emperors and Plantagenet kings, including Henry VIII and Catherine of Aragon, who prayed for a son. She was unlucky. Henry’s eye lit upon Anne Boleyn.

Magnet for pilgrims: Shrine of Our Lady of Walsingham in the charming Norfolk hamlet of Little Walsingham

Drawn to the Shrine of Our Lady of Walsingham over the centuries were emperors and kings, including Henry VIII

The resulting break from Rome wrought here a particular savagery. Its two monastic houses were ransacked, their Marian altars smashed and shrines stripped of centuries of kingly offerings of gold. 

A sub-prior and choristers were hanged, drawn and quartered for rebelling against the dissolution of the monasteries.

Norfolk went into a shock from which it has never really recovered, as this anonymous ballad written at the time laments:

The sight of 29 nuns shuffling on their knees along a village street might strike some as odd. Not me. I live on the Peddars Way, a Norfolk pilgrim route from Thetford, past Swaffham and Fakenham and thence on to Walsingham.

It’s hard today to believe that this tranquil cluster of hamlets, barely inland from the Norfolk coast, was once among the four holiest destinations in all Christendom.

When, in 1061, a Saxon noblewoman called Richeldis de Faverches saw a vision of the Virgin among these fields of poppies, she erected a shrine. Drawn to it over the centuries were emperors and Plantagenet kings, including Henry VIII and Catherine of Aragon, who prayed for a son. She was unlucky. Henry’s eye lit upon Anne Boleyn.

Magnet for pilgrims: Shrine of Our Lady of Walsingham in the charming Norfolk hamlet of Little Walsingham

Drawn to the Shrine of Our Lady of Walsingham over the centuries were emperors and kings, including Henry VIII

The resulting break from Rome wrought here a particular savagery. Its two monastic houses were ransacked, their Marian altars smashed and shrines stripped of centuries of kingly offerings of gold. 

A sub-prior and choristers were hanged, drawn and quartered for rebelling against the dissolution of the monasteries.

Norfolk went into a shock from which it has never really recovered, as this anonymous ballad written at the time laments:

The sight of 29 nuns shuffling on their knees along a village street might strike some as odd. Not me. I live on the Peddars Way, a Norfolk pilgrim route from Thetford, past Swaffham and Fakenham and thence on to Walsingham.

It’s hard today to believe that this tranquil cluster of hamlets, barely inland from the Norfolk coast, was once among the four holiest destinations in all Christendom.

When, in 1061, a Saxon noblewoman called Richeldis de Faverches saw a vision of the Virgin among these fields of poppies, she erected a shrine. Drawn to it over the centuries were emperors and Plantagenet kings, including Henry VIII and Catherine of Aragon, who prayed for a son. She was unlucky. Henry’s eye lit upon Anne Boleyn.

Magnet for pilgrims: Shrine of Our Lady of Walsingham in the charming Norfolk hamlet of Little Walsingham

Drawn to the Shrine of Our Lady of Walsingham over the centuries were emperors and kings, including Henry VIII

The resulting break from Rome wrought here a particular savagery. Its two monastic houses were ransacked, their Marian altars smashed and shrines stripped of centuries of kingly offerings of gold. 

A sub-prior and choristers were hanged, drawn and quartered for rebelling against the dissolution of the monasteries.

Norfolk went into a shock from which it has never really recovered, as this anonymous ballad written at the time laments:

The sight of 29 nuns shuffling on their knees along a village street might strike some as odd. Not me. I live on the Peddars Way, a Norfolk pilgrim route from Thetford, past Swaffham and Fakenham and thence on to Walsingham.

It’s hard today to believe that this tranquil cluster of hamlets, barely inland from the Norfolk coast, was once among the four holiest destinations in all Christendom.

When, in 1061, a Saxon noblewoman called Richeldis de Faverches saw a vision of the Virgin among these fields of poppies, she erected a shrine. Drawn to it over the centuries were emperors and Plantagenet kings, including Henry VIII and Catherine of Aragon, who prayed for a son. She was unlucky. Henry’s eye lit upon Anne Boleyn.

Magnet for pilgrims: Shrine of Our Lady of Walsingham in the charming Norfolk hamlet of Little Walsingham

Drawn to the Shrine of Our Lady of Walsingham over the centuries were emperors and kings, including Henry VIII

The resulting break from Rome wrought here a particular savagery. Its two monastic houses were ransacked, their Marian altars smashed and shrines stripped of centuries of kingly offerings of gold. 

A sub-prior and choristers were hanged, drawn and quartered for rebelling against the dissolution of the monasteries.

Norfolk went into a shock from which it has never really recovered, as this anonymous ballad written at the time laments:

The sight of 29 nuns shuffling on their knees along a village street might strike some as odd. Not me. I live on the Peddars Way, a Norfolk pilgrim route from Thetford, past Swaffham and Fakenham and thence on to Walsingham.

It’s hard today to believe that this tranquil cluster of hamlets, barely inland from the Norfolk coast, was once among the four holiest destinations in all Christendom.

When, in 1061, a Saxon noblewoman called Richeldis de Faverches saw a vision of the Virgin among these fields of poppies, she erected a shrine. Drawn to it over the centuries were emperors and Plantagenet kings, including Henry VIII and Catherine of Aragon, who prayed for a son. She was unlucky. Henry’s eye lit upon Anne Boleyn.

Magnet for pilgrims: Shrine of Our Lady of Walsingham in the charming Norfolk hamlet of Little Walsingham

Drawn to the Shrine of Our Lady of Walsingham over the centuries were emperors and kings, including Henry VIII

The resulting break from Rome wrought here a particular savagery. Its two monastic houses were ransacked, their Marian altars smashed and shrines stripped of centuries of kingly offerings of gold. 

A sub-prior and choristers were hanged, drawn and quartered for rebelling against the dissolution of the monasteries.

Norfolk went into a shock from which it has never really recovered, as this anonymous ballad written at the time laments:

The sight of 29 nuns shuffling on their knees along a village street might strike some as odd. Not me. I live on the Peddars Way, a Norfolk pilgrim route from Thetford, past Swaffham and Fakenham and thence on to Walsingham.

It’s hard today to believe that this tranquil cluster of hamlets, barely inland from the Norfolk coast, was once among the four holiest destinations in all Christendom.

When, in 1061, a Saxon noblewoman called Richeldis de Faverches saw a vision of the Virgin among these fields of poppies, she erected a shrine. Drawn to it over the centuries were emperors and Plantagenet kings, including Henry VIII and Catherine of Aragon, who prayed for a son. She was unlucky. Henry’s eye lit upon Anne Boleyn.

Magnet for pilgrims: Shrine of Our Lady of Walsingham in the charming Norfolk hamlet of Little Walsingham

Drawn to the Shrine of Our Lady of Walsingham over the centuries were emperors and kings, including Henry VIII

The resulting break from Rome wrought here a particular savagery. Its two monastic houses were ransacked, their Marian altars smashed and shrines stripped of centuries of kingly offerings of gold. 

A sub-prior and choristers were hanged, drawn and quartered for rebelling against the dissolution of the monasteries.

Norfolk went into a shock from which it has never really recovered, as this anonymous ballad written at the time laments:

The sight of 29 nuns shuffling on their knees along a village street might strike some as odd. Not me. I live on the Peddars Way, a Norfolk pilgrim route from Thetford, past Swaffham and Fakenham and thence on to Walsingham.

It’s hard today to believe that this tranquil cluster of hamlets, barely inland from the Norfolk coast, was once among the four holiest destinations in all Christendom.

When, in 1061, a Saxon noblewoman called Richeldis de Faverches saw a vision of the Virgin among these fields of poppies, she erected a shrine. Drawn to it over the centuries were emperors and Plantagenet kings, including Henry VIII and Catherine of Aragon, who prayed for a son. She was unlucky. Henry’s eye lit upon Anne Boleyn.

Magnet for pilgrims: Shrine of Our Lady of Walsingham in the charming Norfolk hamlet of Little Walsingham

Drawn to the Shrine of Our Lady of Walsingham over the centuries were emperors and kings, including Henry VIII

The resulting break from Rome wrought here a particular savagery. Its two monastic houses were ransacked, their Marian altars smashed and shrines stripped of centuries of kingly offerings of gold. 

A sub-prior and choristers were hanged, drawn and quartered for rebelling against the dissolution of the monasteries.

Norfolk went into a shock from which it has never really recovered, as this anonymous ballad written at the time laments:

The sight of 29 nuns shuffling on their knees along a village street might strike some as odd. Not me. I live on the Peddars Way, a Norfolk pilgrim route from Thetford, past Swaffham and Fakenham and thence on to Walsingham.

It’s hard today to believe that this tranquil cluster of hamlets, barely inland from the Norfolk coast, was once among the four holiest destinations in all Christendom.

When, in 1061, a Saxon noblewoman called Richeldis de Faverches saw a vision of the Virgin among these fields of poppies, she erected a shrine. Drawn to it over the centuries were emperors and Plantagenet kings, including Henry VIII and Catherine of Aragon, who prayed for a son. She was unlucky. Henry’s eye lit upon Anne Boleyn.

Magnet for pilgrims: Shrine of Our Lady of Walsingham in the charming Norfolk hamlet of Little Walsingham

Drawn to the Shrine of Our Lady of Walsingham over the centuries were emperors and kings, including Henry VIII

The resulting break from Rome wrought here a particular savagery. Its two monastic houses were ransacked, their Marian altars smashed and shrines stripped of centuries of kingly offerings of gold. 

A sub-prior and choristers were hanged, drawn and quartered for rebelling against the dissolution of the monasteries.

Norfolk went into a shock from which it has never really recovered, as this anonymous ballad written at the time laments:

The sight of 29 nuns shuffling on their knees along a village street might strike some as odd. Not me. I live on the Peddars Way, a Norfolk pilgrim route from Thetford, past Swaffham and Fakenham and thence on to Walsingham.

It’s hard today to believe that this tranquil cluster of hamlets, barely inland from the Norfolk coast, was once among the four holiest destinations in all Christendom.

When, in 1061, a Saxon noblewoman called Richeldis de Faverches saw a vision of the Virgin among these fields of poppies, she erected a shrine. Drawn to it over the centuries were emperors and Plantagenet kings, including Henry VIII and Catherine of Aragon, who prayed for a son. She was unlucky. Henry’s eye lit upon Anne Boleyn.

Magnet for pilgrims: Shrine of Our Lady of Walsingham in the charming Norfolk hamlet of Little Walsingham

Drawn to the Shrine of Our Lady of Walsingham over the centuries were emperors and kings, including Henry VIII

The resulting break from Rome wrought here a particular savagery. Its two monastic houses were ransacked, their Marian altars smashed and shrines stripped of centuries of kingly offerings of gold. 

A sub-prior and choristers were hanged, drawn and quartered for rebelling against the dissolution of the monasteries.

Norfolk went into a shock from which it has never really recovered, as this anonymous ballad written at the time laments:

The sight of 29 nuns shuffling on their knees along a village street might strike some as odd. Not me. I live on the Peddars Way, a Norfolk pilgrim route from Thetford, past Swaffham and Fakenham and thence on to Walsingham.

It’s hard today to believe that this tranquil cluster of hamlets, barely inland from the Norfolk coast, was once among the four holiest destinations in all Christendom.

When, in 1061, a Saxon noblewoman called Richeldis de Faverches saw a vision of the Virgin among these fields of poppies, she erected a shrine. Drawn to it over the centuries were emperors and Plantagenet kings, including Henry VIII and Catherine of Aragon, who prayed for a son. She was unlucky. Henry’s eye lit upon Anne Boleyn.

Magnet for pilgrims: Shrine of Our Lady of Walsingham in the charming Norfolk hamlet of Little Walsingham

Drawn to the Shrine of Our Lady of Walsingham over the centuries were emperors and kings, including Henry VIII

The resulting break from Rome wrought here a particular savagery. Its two monastic houses were ransacked, their Marian altars smashed and shrines stripped of centuries of kingly offerings of gold. 

A sub-prior and choristers were hanged, drawn and quartered for rebelling against the dissolution of the monasteries.

Norfolk went into a shock from which it has never really recovered, as this anonymous ballad written at the time laments:

The sight of 29 nuns shuffling on their knees along a village street might strike some as odd. Not me. I live on the Peddars Way, a Norfolk pilgrim route from Thetford, past Swaffham and Fakenham and thence on to Walsingham.

It’s hard today to believe that this tranquil cluster of hamlets, barely inland from the Norfolk coast, was once among the four holiest destinations in all Christendom.

When, in 1061, a Saxon noblewoman called Richeldis de Faverches saw a vision of the Virgin among these fields of poppies, she erected a shrine. Drawn to it over the centuries were emperors and Plantagenet kings, including Henry VIII and Catherine of Aragon, who prayed for a son. She was unlucky. Henry’s eye lit upon Anne Boleyn.

Magnet for pilgrims: Shrine of Our Lady of Walsingham in the charming Norfolk hamlet of Little Walsingham

Drawn to the Shrine of Our Lady of Walsingham over the centuries were emperors and kings, including Henry VIII

The resulting break from Rome wrought here a particular savagery. Its two monastic houses were ransacked, their Marian altars smashed and shrines stripped of centuries of kingly offerings of gold. 

A sub-prior and choristers were hanged, drawn and quartered for rebelling against the dissolution of the monasteries.

Norfolk went into a shock from which it has never really recovered, as this anonymous ballad written at the time laments:

The sight of 29 nuns shuffling on their knees along a village street might strike some as odd. Not me. I live on the Peddars Way, a Norfolk pilgrim route from Thetford, past Swaffham and Fakenham and thence on to Walsingham.

It’s hard today to believe that this tranquil cluster of hamlets, barely inland from the Norfolk coast, was once among the four holiest destinations in all Christendom.

When, in 1061, a Saxon noblewoman called Richeldis de Faverches saw a vision of the Virgin among these fields of poppies, she erected a shrine. Drawn to it over the centuries were emperors and Plantagenet kings, including Henry VIII and Catherine of Aragon, who prayed for a son. She was unlucky. Henry’s eye lit upon Anne Boleyn.

Magnet for pilgrims: Shrine of Our Lady of Walsingham in the charming Norfolk hamlet of Little Walsingham

Drawn to the Shrine of Our Lady of Walsingham over the centuries were emperors and kings, including Henry VIII

The resulting break from Rome wrought here a particular savagery. Its two monastic houses were ransacked, their Marian altars smashed and shrines stripped of centuries of kingly offerings of gold. 

A sub-prior and choristers were hanged, drawn and quartered for rebelling against the dissolution of the monasteries.

Norfolk went into a shock from which it has never really recovered, as this anonymous ballad written at the time laments:

The sight of 29 nuns shuffling on their knees along a village street might strike some as odd. Not me. I live on the Peddars Way, a Norfolk pilgrim route from Thetford, past Swaffham and Fakenham and thence on to Walsingham.

It’s hard today to believe that this tranquil cluster of hamlets, barely inland from the Norfolk coast, was once among the four holiest destinations in all Christendom.

When, in 1061, a Saxon noblewoman called Richeldis de Faverches saw a vision of the Virgin among these fields of poppies, she erected a shrine. Drawn to it over the centuries were emperors and Plantagenet kings, including Henry VIII and Catherine of Aragon, who prayed for a son. She was unlucky. Henry’s eye lit upon Anne Boleyn.

Magnet for pilgrims: Shrine of Our Lady of Walsingham in the charming Norfolk hamlet of Little Walsingham

Drawn to the Shrine of Our Lady of Walsingham over the centuries were emperors and kings, including Henry VIII

The resulting break from Rome wrought here a particular savagery. Its two monastic houses were ransacked, their Marian altars smashed and shrines stripped of centuries of kingly offerings of gold. 

A sub-prior and choristers were hanged, drawn and quartered for rebelling against the dissolution of the monasteries.

Norfolk went into a shock from which it has never really recovered, as this anonymous ballad written at the time laments:

The sight of 29 nuns shuffling on their knees along a village street might strike some as odd. Not me. I live on the Peddars Way, a Norfolk pilgrim route from Thetford, past Swaffham and Fakenham and thence on to Walsingham.

It’s hard today to believe that this tranquil cluster of hamlets, barely inland from the Norfolk coast, was once among the four holiest destinations in all Christendom.

When, in 1061, a Saxon noblewoman called Richeldis de Faverches saw a vision of the Virgin among these fields of poppies, she erected a shrine. Drawn to it over the centuries were emperors and Plantagenet kings, including Henry VIII and Catherine of Aragon, who prayed for a son. She was unlucky. Henry’s eye lit upon Anne Boleyn.

Magnet for pilgrims: Shrine of Our Lady of Walsingham in the charming Norfolk hamlet of Little Walsingham

Drawn to the Shrine of Our Lady of Walsingham over the centuries were emperors and kings, including Henry VIII

The resulting break from Rome wrought here a particular savagery. Its two monastic houses were ransacked, their Marian altars smashed and shrines stripped of centuries of kingly offerings of gold. 

A sub-prior and choristers were hanged, drawn and quartered for rebelling against the dissolution of the monasteries.

Norfolk went into a shock from which it has never really recovered, as this anonymous ballad written at the time laments:

The sight of 29 nuns shuffling on their knees along a village street might strike some as odd. Not me. I live on the Peddars Way, a Norfolk pilgrim route from Thetford, past Swaffham and Fakenham and thence on to Walsingham.

It’s hard today to believe that this tranquil cluster of hamlets, barely inland from the Norfolk coast, was once among the four holiest destinations in all Christendom.

When, in 1061, a Saxon noblewoman called Richeldis de Faverches saw a vision of the Virgin among these fields of poppies, she erected a shrine. Drawn to it over the centuries were emperors and Plantagenet kings, including Henry VIII and Catherine of Aragon, who prayed for a son. She was unlucky. Henry’s eye lit upon Anne Boleyn.

Magnet for pilgrims: Shrine of Our Lady of Walsingham in the charming Norfolk hamlet of Little Walsingham

Drawn to the Shrine of Our Lady of Walsingham over the centuries were emperors and kings, including Henry VIII

The resulting break from Rome wrought here a particular savagery. Its two monastic houses were ransacked, their Marian altars smashed and shrines stripped of centuries of kingly offerings of gold. 

A sub-prior and choristers were hanged, drawn and quartered for rebelling against the dissolution of the monasteries.

Norfolk went into a shock from which it has never really recovered, as this anonymous ballad written at the time laments:

The sight of 29 nuns shuffling on their knees along a village street might strike some as odd. Not me. I live on the Peddars Way, a Norfolk pilgrim route from Thetford, past Swaffham and Fakenham and thence on to Walsingham.

It’s hard today to believe that this tranquil cluster of hamlets, barely inland from the Norfolk coast, was once among the four holiest destinations in all Christendom.

When, in 1061, a Saxon noblewoman called Richeldis de Faverches saw a vision of the Virgin among these fields of poppies, she erected a shrine. Drawn to it over the centuries were emperors and Plantagenet kings, including Henry VIII and Catherine of Aragon, who prayed for a son. She was unlucky. Henry’s eye lit upon Anne Boleyn.

Magnet for pilgrims: Shrine of Our Lady of Walsingham in the charming Norfolk hamlet of Little Walsingham

Drawn to the Shrine of Our Lady of Walsingham over the centuries were emperors and kings, including Henry VIII

The resulting break from Rome wrought here a particular savagery. Its two monastic houses were ransacked, their Marian altars smashed and shrines stripped of centuries of kingly offerings of gold. 

A sub-prior and choristers were hanged, drawn and quartered for rebelling against the dissolution of the monasteries.

Norfolk went into a shock from which it has never really recovered, as this anonymous ballad written at the time laments:

The sight of 29 nuns shuffling on their knees along a village street might strike some as odd. Not me. I live on the Peddars Way, a Norfolk pilgrim route from Thetford, past Swaffham and Fakenham and thence on to Walsingham.

It’s hard today to believe that this tranquil cluster of hamlets, barely inland from the Norfolk coast, was once among the four holiest destinations in all Christendom.

When, in 1061, a Saxon noblewoman called Richeldis de Faverches saw a vision of the Virgin among these fields of poppies, she erected a shrine. Drawn to it over the centuries were emperors and Plantagenet kings, including Henry VIII and Catherine of Aragon, who prayed for a son. She was unlucky. Henry’s eye lit upon Anne Boleyn.

Magnet for pilgrims: Shrine of Our Lady of Walsingham in the charming Norfolk hamlet of Little Walsingham

Drawn to the Shrine of Our Lady of Walsingham over the centuries were emperors and kings, including Henry VIII

The resulting break from Rome wrought here a particular savagery. Its two monastic houses were ransacked, their Marian altars smashed and shrines stripped of centuries of kingly offerings of gold. 

A sub-prior and choristers were hanged, drawn and quartered for rebelling against the dissolution of the monasteries.

Norfolk went into a shock from which it has never really recovered, as this anonymous ballad written at the time laments:

The sight of 29 nuns shuffling on their knees along a village street might strike some as odd. Not me. I live on the Peddars Way, a Norfolk pilgrim route from Thetford, past Swaffham and Fakenham and thence on to Walsingham.

It’s hard today to believe that this tranquil cluster of hamlets, barely inland from the Norfolk coast, was once among the four holiest destinations in all Christendom.

When, in 1061, a Saxon noblewoman called Richeldis de Faverches saw a vision of the Virgin among these fields of poppies, she erected a shrine. Drawn to it over the centuries were emperors and Plantagenet kings, including Henry VIII and Catherine of Aragon, who prayed for a son. She was unlucky. Henry’s eye lit upon Anne Boleyn.

Magnet for pilgrims: Shrine of Our Lady of Walsingham in the charming Norfolk hamlet of Little Walsingham

Drawn to the Shrine of Our Lady of Walsingham over the centuries were emperors and kings, including Henry VIII

The resulting break from Rome wrought here a particular savagery. Its two monastic houses were ransacked, their Marian altars smashed and shrines stripped of centuries of kingly offerings of gold. 

A sub-prior and choristers were hanged, drawn and quartered for rebelling against the dissolution of the monasteries.

Norfolk went into a shock from which it has never really recovered, as this anonymous ballad written at the time laments:

The sight of 29 nuns shuffling on their knees along a village street might strike some as odd. Not me. I live on the Peddars Way, a Norfolk pilgrim route from Thetford, past Swaffham and Fakenham and thence on to Walsingham.

It’s hard today to believe that this tranquil cluster of hamlets, barely inland from the Norfolk coast, was once among the four holiest destinations in all Christendom.

When, in 1061, a Saxon noblewoman called Richeldis de Faverches saw a vision of the Virgin among these fields of poppies, she erected a shrine. Drawn to it over the centuries were emperors and Plantagenet kings, including Henry VIII and Catherine of Aragon, who prayed for a son. She was unlucky. Henry’s eye lit upon Anne Boleyn.

Magnet for pilgrims: Shrine of Our Lady of Walsingham in the charming Norfolk hamlet of Little Walsingham

Drawn to the Shrine of Our Lady of Walsingham over the centuries were emperors and kings, including Henry VIII

The resulting break from Rome wrought here a particular savagery. Its two monastic houses were ransacked, their Marian altars smashed and shrines stripped of centuries of kingly offerings of gold. 

A sub-prior and choristers were hanged, drawn and quartered for rebelling against the dissolution of the monasteries.

Norfolk went into a shock from which it has never really recovered, as this anonymous ballad written at the time laments:

The sight of 29 nuns shuffling on their knees along a village street might strike some as odd. Not me. I live on the Peddars Way, a Norfolk pilgrim route from Thetford, past Swaffham and Fakenham and thence on to Walsingham.

It’s hard today to believe that this tranquil cluster of hamlets, barely inland from the Norfolk coast, was once among the four holiest destinations in all Christendom.

When, in 1061, a Saxon noblewoman called Richeldis de Faverches saw a vision of the Virgin among these fields of poppies, she erected a shrine. Drawn to it over the centuries were emperors and Plantagenet kings, including Henry VIII and Catherine of Aragon, who prayed for a son. She was unlucky. Henry’s eye lit upon Anne Boleyn.

Magnet for pilgrims: Shrine of Our Lady of Walsingham in the charming Norfolk hamlet of Little Walsingham

Drawn to the Shrine of Our Lady of Walsingham over the centuries were emperors and kings, including Henry VIII

The resulting break from Rome wrought here a particular savagery. Its two monastic houses were ransacked, their Marian altars smashed and shrines stripped of centuries of kingly offerings of gold. 

A sub-prior and choristers were hanged, drawn and quartered for rebelling against the dissolution of the monasteries.

Norfolk went into a shock from which it has never really recovered, as this anonymous ballad written at the time laments:

The sight of 29 nuns shuffling on their knees along a village street might strike some as odd. Not me. I live on the Peddars Way, a Norfolk pilgrim route from Thetford, past Swaffham and Fakenham and thence on to Walsingham.

It’s hard today to believe that this tranquil cluster of hamlets, barely inland from the Norfolk coast, was once among the four holiest destinations in all Christendom.

When, in 1061, a Saxon noblewoman called Richeldis de Faverches saw a vision of the Virgin among these fields of poppies, she erected a shrine. Drawn to it over the centuries were emperors and Plantagenet kings, including Henry VIII and Catherine of Aragon, who prayed for a son. She was unlucky. Henry’s eye lit upon Anne Boleyn.

Magnet for pilgrims: Shrine of Our Lady of Walsingham in the charming Norfolk hamlet of Little Walsingham

Drawn to the Shrine of Our Lady of Walsingham over the centuries were emperors and kings, including Henry VIII

The resulting break from Rome wrought here a particular savagery. Its two monastic houses were ransacked, their Marian altars smashed and shrines stripped of centuries of kingly offerings of gold. 

A sub-prior and choristers were hanged, drawn and quartered for rebelling against the dissolution of the monasteries.

Norfolk went into a shock from which it has never really recovered, as this anonymous ballad written at the time laments:

The sight of 29 nuns shuffling on their knees along a village street might strike some as odd. Not me. I live on the Peddars Way, a Norfolk pilgrim route from Thetford, past Swaffham and Fakenham and thence on to Walsingham.

It’s hard today to believe that this tranquil cluster of hamlets, barely inland from the Norfolk coast, was once among the four holiest destinations in all Christendom.

When, in 1061, a Saxon noblewoman called Richeldis de Faverches saw a vision of the Virgin among these fields of poppies, she erected a shrine. Drawn to it over the centuries were emperors and Plantagenet kings, including Henry VIII and Catherine of Aragon, who prayed for a son. She was unlucky. Henry’s eye lit upon Anne Boleyn.

Magnet for pilgrims: Shrine of Our Lady of Walsingham in the charming Norfolk hamlet of Little Walsingham

Drawn to the Shrine of Our Lady of Walsingham over the centuries were emperors and kings, including Henry VIII

The resulting break from Rome wrought here a particular savagery. Its two monastic houses were ransacked, their Marian altars smashed and shrines stripped of centuries of kingly offerings of gold. 

A sub-prior and choristers were hanged, drawn and quartered for rebelling against the dissolution of the monasteries.

Norfolk went into a shock from which it has never really recovered, as this anonymous ballad written at the time laments:

The sight of 29 nuns shuffling on their knees along a village street might strike some as odd. Not me. I live on the Peddars Way, a Norfolk pilgrim route from Thetford, past Swaffham and Fakenham and thence on to Walsingham.

It’s hard today to believe that this tranquil cluster of hamlets, barely inland from the Norfolk coast, was once among the four holiest destinations in all Christendom.

When, in 1061, a Saxon noblewoman called Richeldis de Faverches saw a vision of the Virgin among these fields of poppies, she erected a shrine. Drawn to it over the centuries were emperors and Plantagenet kings, including Henry VIII and Catherine of Aragon, who prayed for a son. She was unlucky. Henry’s eye lit upon Anne Boleyn.

Magnet for pilgrims: Shrine of Our Lady of Walsingham in the charming Norfolk hamlet of Little Walsingham

Drawn to the Shrine of Our Lady of Walsingham over the centuries were emperors and kings, including Henry VIII

The resulting break from Rome wrought here a particular savagery. Its two monastic houses were ransacked, their Marian altars smashed and shrines stripped of centuries of kingly offerings of gold. 

A sub-prior and choristers were hanged, drawn and quartered for rebelling against the dissolution of the monasteries.

Norfolk went into a shock from which it has never really recovered, as this anonymous ballad written at the time laments:

The sight of 29 nuns shuffling on their knees along a village street might strike some as odd. Not me. I live on the Peddars Way, a Norfolk pilgrim route from Thetford, past Swaffham and Fakenham and thence on to Walsingham.

It’s hard today to believe that this tranquil cluster of hamlets, barely inland from the Norfolk coast, was once among the four holiest destinations in all Christendom.

When, in 1061, a Saxon noblewoman called Richeldis de Faverches saw a vision of the Virgin among these fields of poppies, she erected a shrine. Drawn to it over the centuries were emperors and Plantagenet kings, including Henry VIII and Catherine of Aragon, who prayed for a son. She was unlucky. Henry’s eye lit upon Anne Boleyn.

Magnet for pilgrims: Shrine of Our Lady of Walsingham in the charming Norfolk hamlet of Little Walsingham

Drawn to the Shrine of Our Lady of Walsingham over the centuries were emperors and kings, including Henry VIII

The resulting break from Rome wrought here a particular savagery. Its two monastic houses were ransacked, their Marian altars smashed and shrines stripped of centuries of kingly offerings of gold. 

A sub-prior and choristers were hanged, drawn and quartered for rebelling against the dissolution of the monasteries.

Norfolk went into a shock from which it has never really recovered, as this anonymous ballad written at the time laments:

The sight of 29 nuns shuffling on their knees along a village street might strike some as odd. Not me. I live on the Peddars Way, a Norfolk pilgrim route from Thetford, past Swaffham and Fakenham and thence on to Walsingham.

It’s hard today to believe that this tranquil cluster of hamlets, barely inland from the Norfolk coast, was once among the four holiest destinations in all Christendom.

When, in 1061, a Saxon noblewoman called Richeldis de Faverches saw a vision of the Virgin among these fields of poppies, she erected a shrine. Drawn to it over the centuries were emperors and Plantagenet kings, including Henry VIII and Catherine of Aragon, who prayed for a son. She was unlucky. Henry’s eye lit upon Anne Boleyn.

Magnet for pilgrims: Shrine of Our Lady of Walsingham in the charming Norfolk hamlet of Little Walsingham

Drawn to the Shrine of Our Lady of Walsingham over the centuries were emperors and kings, including Henry VIII

The resulting break from Rome wrought here a particular savagery. Its two monastic houses were ransacked, their Marian altars smashed and shrines stripped of centuries of kingly offerings of gold. 

A sub-prior and choristers were hanged, drawn and quartered for rebelling against the dissolution of the monasteries.

Norfolk went into a shock from which it has never really recovered, as this anonymous ballad written at the time laments:

The sight of 29 nuns shuffling on their knees along a village street might strike some as odd. Not me. I live on the Peddars Way, a Norfolk pilgrim route from Thetford, past Swaffham and Fakenham and thence on to Walsingham.

It’s hard today to believe that this tranquil cluster of hamlets, barely inland from the Norfolk coast, was once among the four holiest destinations in all Christendom.

When, in 1061, a Saxon noblewoman called Richeldis de Faverches saw a vision of the Virgin among these fields of poppies, she erected a shrine. Drawn to it over the centuries were emperors and Plantagenet kings, including Henry VIII and Catherine of Aragon, who prayed for a son. She was unlucky. Henry’s eye lit upon Anne Boleyn.

Magnet for pilgrims: Shrine of Our Lady of Walsingham in the charming Norfolk hamlet of Little Walsingham

Drawn to the Shrine of Our Lady of Walsingham over the centuries were emperors and kings, including Henry VIII

The resulting break from Rome wrought here a particular savagery. Its two monastic houses were ransacked, their Marian altars smashed and shrines stripped of centuries of kingly offerings of gold. 

A sub-prior and choristers were hanged, drawn and quartered for rebelling against the dissolution of the monasteries.

Norfolk went into a shock from which it has never really recovered, as this anonymous ballad written at the time laments:

The sight of 29 nuns shuffling on their knees along a village street might strike some as odd. Not me. I live on the Peddars Way, a Norfolk pilgrim route from Thetford, past Swaffham and Fakenham and thence on to Walsingham.

It’s hard today to believe that this tranquil cluster of hamlets, barely inland from the Norfolk coast, was once among the four holiest destinations in all Christendom.

When, in 1061, a Saxon noblewoman called Richeldis de Faverches saw a vision of the Virgin among these fields of poppies, she erected a shrine. Drawn to it over the centuries were emperors and Plantagenet kings, including Henry VIII and Catherine of Aragon, who prayed for a son. She was unlucky. Henry’s eye lit upon Anne Boleyn.

Magnet for pilgrims: Shrine of Our Lady of Walsingham in the charming Norfolk hamlet of Little Walsingham

Drawn to the Shrine of Our Lady of Walsingham over the centuries were emperors and kings, including Henry VIII

The resulting break from Rome wrought here a particular savagery. Its two monastic houses were ransacked, their Marian altars smashed and shrines stripped of centuries of kingly offerings of gold. 

A sub-prior and choristers were hanged, drawn and quartered for rebelling against the dissolution of the monasteries.

Norfolk went into a shock from which it has never really recovered, as this anonymous ballad written at the time laments:

The sight of 29 nuns shuffling on their knees along a village street might strike some as odd. Not me. I live on the Peddars Way, a Norfolk pilgrim route from Thetford, past Swaffham and Fakenham and thence on to Walsingham.

It’s hard today to believe that this tranquil cluster of hamlets, barely inland from the Norfolk coast, was once among the four holiest destinations in all Christendom.

When, in 1061, a Saxon noblewoman called Richeldis de Faverches saw a vision of the Virgin among these fields of poppies, she erected a shrine. Drawn to it over the centuries were emperors and Plantagenet kings, including Henry VIII and Catherine of Aragon, who prayed for a son. She was unlucky. Henry’s eye lit upon Anne Boleyn.

Magnet for pilgrims: Shrine of Our Lady of Walsingham in the charming Norfolk hamlet of Little Walsingham

Drawn to the Shrine of Our Lady of Walsingham over the centuries were emperors and kings, including Henry VIII

The resulting break from Rome wrought here a particular savagery. Its two monastic houses were ransacked, their Marian altars smashed and shrines stripped of centuries of kingly offerings of gold. 

A sub-prior and choristers were hanged, drawn and quartered for rebelling against the dissolution of the monasteries.

Norfolk went into a shock from which it has never really recovered, as this anonymous ballad written at the time laments:

The sight of 29 nuns shuffling on their knees along a village street might strike some as odd. Not me. I live on the Peddars Way, a Norfolk pilgrim route from Thetford, past Swaffham and Fakenham and thence on to Walsingham.

It’s hard today to believe that this tranquil cluster of hamlets, barely inland from the Norfolk coast, was once among the four holiest destinations in all Christendom.

When, in 1061, a Saxon noblewoman called Richeldis de Faverches saw a vision of the Virgin among these fields of poppies, she erected a shrine. Drawn to it over the centuries were emperors and Plantagenet kings, including Henry VIII and Catherine of Aragon, who prayed for a son. She was unlucky. Henry’s eye lit upon Anne Boleyn.

Magnet for pilgrims: Shrine of Our Lady of Walsingham in the charming Norfolk hamlet of Little Walsingham

Drawn to the Shrine of Our Lady of Walsingham over the centuries were emperors and kings, including Henry VIII

The resulting break from Rome wrought here a particular savagery. Its two monastic houses were ransacked, their Marian altars smashed and shrines stripped of centuries of kingly offerings of gold. 

A sub-prior and choristers were hanged, drawn and quartered for rebelling against the dissolution of the monasteries.

Norfolk went into a shock from which it has never really recovered, as this anonymous ballad written at the time laments:

The sight of 29 nuns shuffling on their knees along a village street might strike some as odd. Not me. I live on the Peddars Way, a Norfolk pilgrim route from Thetford, past Swaffham and Fakenham and thence on to Walsingham.

It’s hard today to believe that this tranquil cluster of hamlets, barely inland from the Norfolk coast, was once among the four holiest destinations in all Christendom.

When, in 1061, a Saxon noblewoman called Richeldis de Faverches saw a vision of the Virgin among these fields of poppies, she erected a shrine. Drawn to it over the centuries were emperors and Plantagenet kings, including Henry VIII and Catherine of Aragon, who prayed for a son. She was unlucky. Henry’s eye lit upon Anne Boleyn.

Magnet for pilgrims: Shrine of Our Lady of Walsingham in the charming Norfolk hamlet of Little Walsingham

Drawn to the Shrine of Our Lady of Walsingham over the centuries were emperors and kings, including Henry VIII

The resulting break from Rome wrought here a particular savagery. Its two monastic houses were ransacked, their Marian altars smashed and shrines stripped of centuries of kingly offerings of gold. 

A sub-prior and choristers were hanged, drawn and quartered for rebelling against the dissolution of the monasteries.

Norfolk went into a shock from which it has never really recovered, as this anonymous ballad written at the time laments:

The sight of 29 nuns shuffling on their knees along a village street might strike some as odd. Not me. I live on the Peddars Way, a Norfolk pilgrim route from Thetford, past Swaffham and Fakenham and thence on to Walsingham.

It’s hard today to believe that this tranquil cluster of hamlets, barely inland from the Norfolk coast, was once among the four holiest destinations in all Christendom.

When, in 1061, a Saxon noblewoman called Richeldis de Faverches saw a vision of the Virgin among these fields of poppies, she erected a shrine. Drawn to it over the centuries were emperors and Plantagenet kings, including Henry VIII and Catherine of Aragon, who prayed for a son. She was unlucky. Henry’s eye lit upon Anne Boleyn.

Magnet for pilgrims: Shrine of Our Lady of Walsingham in the charming Norfolk hamlet of Little Walsingham

Drawn to the Shrine of Our Lady of Walsingham over the centuries were emperors and kings, including Henry VIII

The resulting break from Rome wrought here a particular savagery. Its two monastic houses were ransacked, their Marian altars smashed and shrines stripped of centuries of kingly offerings of gold. 

A sub-prior and choristers were hanged, drawn and quartered for rebelling against the dissolution of the monasteries.

Norfolk went into a shock from which it has never really recovered, as this anonymous ballad written at the time laments:

The sight of 29 nuns shuffling on their knees along a village street might strike some as odd. Not me. I live on the Peddars Way, a Norfolk pilgrim route from Thetford, past Swaffham and Fakenham and thence on to Walsingham.

It’s hard today to believe that this tranquil cluster of hamlets, barely inland from the Norfolk coast, was once among the four holiest destinations in all Christendom.

When, in 1061, a Saxon noblewoman called Richeldis de Faverches saw a vision of the Virgin among these fields of poppies, she erected a shrine. Drawn to it over the centuries were emperors and Plantagenet kings, including Henry VIII and Catherine of Aragon, who prayed for a son. She was unlucky. Henry’s eye lit upon Anne Boleyn.

Magnet for pilgrims: Shrine of Our Lady of Walsingham in the charming Norfolk hamlet of Little Walsingham

Drawn to the Shrine of Our Lady of Walsingham over the centuries were emperors and kings, including Henry VIII

The resulting break from Rome wrought here a particular savagery. Its two monastic houses were ransacked, their Marian altars smashed and shrines stripped of centuries of kingly offerings of gold. 

A sub-prior and choristers were hanged, drawn and quartered for rebelling against the dissolution of the monasteries.

Norfolk went into a shock from which it has never really recovered, as this anonymous ballad written at the time laments:

The sight of 29 nuns shuffling on their knees along a village street might strike some as odd. Not me. I live on the Peddars Way, a Norfolk pilgrim route from Thetford, past Swaffham and Fakenham and thence on to Walsingham.

It’s hard today to believe that this tranquil cluster of hamlets, barely inland from the Norfolk coast, was once among the four holiest destinations in all Christendom.

When, in 1061, a Saxon noblewoman called Richeldis de Faverches saw a vision of the Virgin among these fields of poppies, she erected a shrine. Drawn to it over the centuries were emperors and Plantagenet kings, including Henry VIII and Catherine of Aragon, who prayed for a son. She was unlucky. Henry’s eye lit upon Anne Boleyn.

Magnet for pilgrims: Shrine of Our Lady of Walsingham in the charming Norfolk hamlet of Little Walsingham

Drawn to the Shrine of Our Lady of Walsingham over the centuries were emperors and kings, including Henry VIII

The resulting break from Rome wrought here a particular savagery. Its two monastic houses were ransacked, their Marian altars smashed and shrines stripped of centuries of kingly offerings of gold. 

A sub-prior and choristers were hanged, drawn and quartered for rebelling against the dissolution of the monasteries.

Norfolk went into a shock from which it has never really recovered, as this anonymous ballad written at the time laments:

The sight of 29 nuns shuffling on their knees along a village street might strike some as odd. Not me. I live on the Peddars Way, a Norfolk pilgrim route from Thetford, past Swaffham and Fakenham and thence on to Walsingham.

It’s hard today to believe that this tranquil cluster of hamlets, barely inland from the Norfolk coast, was once among the four holiest destinations in all Christendom.

When, in 1061, a Saxon noblewoman called Richeldis de Faverches saw a vision of the Virgin among these fields of poppies, she erected a shrine. Drawn to it over the centuries were emperors and Plantagenet kings, including Henry VIII and Catherine of Aragon, who prayed for a son. She was unlucky. Henry’s eye lit upon Anne Boleyn.

Magnet for pilgrims: Shrine of Our Lady of Walsingham in the charming Norfolk hamlet of Little Walsingham

Drawn to the Shrine of Our Lady of Walsingham over the centuries were emperors and kings, including Henry VIII

The resulting break from Rome wrought here a particular savagery. Its two monastic houses were ransacked, their Marian altars smashed and shrines stripped of centuries of kingly offerings of gold. 

A sub-prior and choristers were hanged, drawn and quartered for rebelling against the dissolution of the monasteries.

Norfolk went into a shock from which it has never really recovered, as this anonymous ballad written at the time laments:

The sight of 29 nuns shuffling on their knees along a village street might strike some as odd. Not me. I live on the Peddars Way, a Norfolk pilgrim route from Thetford, past Swaffham and Fakenham and thence on to Walsingham.

It’s hard today to believe that this tranquil cluster of hamlets, barely inland from the Norfolk coast, was once among the four holiest destinations in all Christendom.

When, in 1061, a Saxon noblewoman called Richeldis de Faverches saw a vision of the Virgin among these fields of poppies, she erected a shrine. Drawn to it over the centuries were emperors and Plantagenet kings, including Henry VIII and Catherine of Aragon, who prayed for a son. She was unlucky. Henry’s eye lit upon Anne Boleyn.

Magnet for pilgrims: Shrine of Our Lady of Walsingham in the charming Norfolk hamlet of Little Walsingham

Drawn to the Shrine of Our Lady of Walsingham over the centuries were emperors and kings, including Henry VIII

The resulting break from Rome wrought here a particular savagery. Its two monastic houses were ransacked, their Marian altars smashed and shrines stripped of centuries of kingly offerings of gold. 

A sub-prior and choristers were hanged, drawn and quartered for rebelling against the dissolution of the monasteries.

Norfolk went into a shock from which it has never really recovered, as this anonymous ballad written at the time laments:

Weep, weep, O Walsingham