Monday, September 22, 2008

Walsingham, Oh farewell!

Pray for the conversion of England.

From the Walsingham Project

Weep, weep, O Walsingham
Whose days are nights,
Blessings turned to blasphemies,
Holy deeds to despites.
Sin is where Our Lady sat,
Heaven turned into hell,
Satan sits where Our Lord did sway,
Walsingham, oh farewell!

England was not to remain merry for long. In 1538, twenty years after his last visit, Henry VIII saw to the proclamation of his Oath of Supremacy, thereby tearing England from the Holy See of Rome. The Protestant Revolution exploded on the continent. Needing funds, Henry turned and crushed any opposition from the monasteries and religious orders. Walsingham was one of the first to capitulate to the king's commands, and the canons who surrendered the Walsingham lands were awarded generous pensions. Only two canons refused. They were promptly martyred.

But Henry and Cranmer were not satisfied. Accusing the shrines of idolatry, the soldiers of the king pillaged the holy places of England and Wales, carting the statues and sacred articles back to London. In 1538, military divisions were sent into Walsingham to destroy it. The canons and Grey-Friars tried to defend the shrine, desperately pleading their immunity. All in vain. The priory was torn down, the buildings ravaged. The monks and canons who continued to resist were hung, drawn and quartered on a field now known as Martyr's Field.

* ~ * ~ *

In a happier vein:

Mary in Monmouth is a blog I've just discovered about the Christian history of Wales.

A site tracing the Catholic life and history of the Ancient Kingdom of Gwent, now known as Monmouthshire,UK from Silurian times. Linked to Mary in Monmouth download free from iTunes Store or RSS feed at end of this blog.Also MaryinMonmouth Group of Face book. Photographs of interesting places. Some Catechesis. Strength of site is in tracing obscure Gwentian saints and martyrs and digging out gems from forgotten sites.


Anonymous said...

I am a great lover of Walsingham and I am also a historian, and I don't think that misstatements and exaggerations serve the cause of Our Lad or Truth. The "Walsingham Project"'s account of the history of the shrine contains far too many. It would fail as an undergraduate essay! Just on this current page I note:
"the soldiers of the King": the pillaging was done by Cromwell's agents, not soldiers, and they likely included the very local people who had built or repaired the Shrine.
And there are records of only two men being martyred on the so-called Martyr's Field, a pair of (lay) choristers. Nor do we have records of all the "generous pensions"given to the capitulating canons--the prior, yes.

I recommend Dickinson's History of the Shrine (1956). Sober, careful, not (either accidentally or deliberately) inflammatory.

May Truth reign. Truth includes truths.

Hilary Jane Margaret White said...

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