Wednesday, 5 March 2014

Walsingham Windows

And so to Walsingham in Norfolk. All very odd, and I'm dyed-in-the-wool C of E. The oddest thing for me is that the Shrine to Our Lady of Walsingham is in fact Anglican. This is the Church of England so high it must have rocketed over the border into full-on Catholicism. The streets are permeated with the smell of incense and elderly spinsters in nun-style headscarves staring beatifically into the distance as they stand blocking up parking spaces. We were looking for shriney things, and quickly found a dusty shop window filled with plaster saints. My companion photographed one with an enormous £11.50 price tag round Joseph's neck, and we wandered into the Abbey grounds. Well, not exactly wandered, we had to negotiate a lady having trouble with the till who took eight pounds off us to look at snowdrops and a ruined arch.The actual Shrine place was more interesting, if very disturbing. A pale brick building that looks like a bus station in Romford hides a garden full of bricked and gilded stations of the cross and a perfect set of three crucifixes on a grassy knoll. It was with relief that we saw these cleansing fluids on a dusty window sill as we fled to Brancaster and two big plates of whitebait.


Philip Wilkinson said...

Have to talk to you about this place. I must say I found it very peculiar too.

Stephen Barker said...

I have never understood High Church Anglicans, why don't they go and be Catholics and be done with it. I always find visiting High Church CofE churches uncomfortable, they do not feel right.
I was surprised in one church to see a notice saying that they did recognize the split from Rome and believed that the CofE should rejoin the Catholic church under the leadership of the Pope.

Peter Ashley said...

Ah, well, here we go. For me I'd rather be in a draughty church with plain glass in the windows. Clutching the 1662 Prayer Book of course.