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To offer a bibliography of 'Walsingham', even a select one, is a daunting task. Which of the many Walsinghams - the devotion, the shrines, the village, medieval, modern ...

A major bibliography is in preparation, but for the present our main priority is to get as many of the archive documents and photographs on to the website as possible. Therefore this list will not appear for some while, but the archivist is always happy to answer enquiries about books of Walsingham interest.

Other core books on differing aspects of Walsingham include:

P J Goodrich, Walsingham, its History and its Shrine (1937)

H M Gillett, Walsingham, The History of a Famous Shrine (1946)

J C Dickinson, The Shrine of Our Lady of Walsingham (1956: reprinted 2011)

Leonard E Whatmore, Highway to Walsingham (1973)

Claude Fisher, Walsingham, A Place of Pilgrimage for all People (1983)

Arthur Bond, The Walsingham Story (1988)

Elizabeth Ruth Obbard, The History and Spirituality of Walsingham (1995)

Peter Rollings, Walsingham: England's Nazareth (1998)

Elizabeth Ruth Obbard, Every Pilgrim's Guide to Walsingham, 'England's Nazareth' (2007) [based on her two earlier books - the one listed above and A Walsingham Prayer Book]

For anyone interested in the wider history of Walsingham the collection of papers, entitled WALSINGHAM: Pilgrimage and History (1999) (ISBN 0 9502167 6 3), is worth reading. The papers were first presented at the Centenary Historical Conference of the Roman Catholic National Shrine in March 1998. As well as papers on the medieval shrine and modern Roman Catholic developments, there are substantial articles on the history of the village. The final paper by Fr Peter Cobb on the development of modern-day pilgrimage details very succinctly the modern history of both shrines.

The transactions of a similar Historical Conference held in March 2011 have just been published. WALSINGHAM: Richeldis 950 Pilgrimage and History (2012) (ISBN 978-0-9502167-8-2) The content is similar to that described in the above paragraph, with the final paper being given by Bishop Lindsay Urwin on 'Walsingham Today and Tomorrow'.

Bruno Scott James, Asking for Trouble (1962)

The autobiography of Father Bruno Scott James, Walsingham's first Roman Catholic priest and first custodian of the Slipper Chapel since the Reformation, has many references to the village and to both Shrines, in particular in Chapters 7 and 16.

John E Barnes, George Ratcliffe Woodward 1848-1934, Priest, Poet and Musician (1996)

The biography of another famous vicar of Walsingham (1882-88) has only two references to Fr Patten, and his fame derived from his carol compositions and revival of plainsong, not from the village; but his vicarage was where Fr Patten later lived and in Chapter 3 we can picture life there in the 1880s. There is also a photograph of Dr Woodward playing the euphonium outside the vicarage. The author was also a former vicar of Walsingham.
review by Fr Peter Cobb


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the library today: © Graham Howard

the library © Graham Howard

The picture at the top of the page is of a corner of the Library [still in St Augustine's] that Fr Patten created, after many appeals for books to be donated by readers of Our Lady's Mirror: above is a modern-day photograph taken by Graham Howard before the current refurbishment.


Fifty years on Graham Howard published a book commemorating in words and pictures the fiftieth anniversary of the fire which almost destroyed the parish church on 14 July 1961:

A Fire in Walsingham
(2011) (ISBN 978-0-9568842-0-6)



SOME OF THE BEST-KNOWN BOOKS ABOUT THE SHRINE ARE: A corner of the Library that Fr Hope Patten created

England's Nazareth, A History of the Holy Shrine of Our Lady of Walsingham
written by Donald Hole in 1939, extensively revised by Colin Stephenson and others in later years and with eight editions in all

Colin Stephenson, Walsingham Way (1970) and Merrily on High (1972)
the first is a history of the Shrine and biography of Fr Patten, and the
second the autobiography of the author, who was his successor as Master of the Guardians and Administrator (these were both reprinted in 2008, with new Prefaces to each written by Fr Gordon Reid)

John Barnes, Alfred Hope Patten (1983); originally published by the Church Literature Association as number 5 in their 'Oxford Prophets' series; reprinted later as a booklet

ed Peter Cobb, Walsingham (1990) (ISBN 1 872971 00 8)
compilation of articles and photographs mainly from Our Lady's Mirror and The Walsingham Review recording the development of the Shrine

Martin Warner, Walsingham, An Ever-Circling Year (1996)

Michael Yelton, Alfred Hope Patten and the Shrine of Our Lady of Walsingham an illustrated biography (2006) (ISBN 9 781853 117534)

ed Philip North and John North, Sacred Space (2007)
eight essays exploring ideas that underlie the historic connections between place, holiness and travel: originally delivered as lectures at a series of study days in 2006 organised as part of the Shrine's 75th anniversary celebrations

Michael Yelton, Alfred Hope Patten: his life and times in pictures (2007)
some of the photographs that had to be left out of Yelton's major biography in 2006: there is also an introductory Short Life

ed Dominic Janes and Gary Waller, Walsingham in Literature and Culture from the Middle Ages to Modernity (2010) (978-0-7546-6924-1)

John Rayne-Davis and Peter Rollings, Walsingham: England's National Shrine of Our Lady (2010) (ISBN 978-0854397969)
a history, with spiritual reflections by Fr Rollings

Michael Rear, Walsingham: Pilgrims and Pilgrimage (2011) (ISBN 978-0-85439-811-9)
a comprehensive history of Walsingham from the pre-Christian era to the present day, by an author uniquely placed to write it

Gary Waller, Walsingham and the English Imagination (2011) (ISBN 978-1-4094-0509-2)

Bill Flint, Edith the Fair (2015) (ISBN 978-0-85244-870-0)
a personal view of the history of the foundation of the Walsingham Shrine, centred on the author's theory that Richeldis was Edith Swanneshals, wife of Harold Godwinson

[Professor] Ursula King, England's Nazareth: Pilgrimages to Walsingham during the Middle Ages and Today, was written as part (pages 527-541) of a publication by the Bayerisches Nationalmuseum in Munich to accompany a pan-European exhibition called 'Pilgrimage Knows No Frontiers' [Wallfahrt kennt keine Grenzen](1984)

Despite its having been described as "the best overview of Walsingham ever written", a copy of this paper only recently surfaced in the archives and seems little known elsewhere. For copyright reasons we cannot reproduce it on this website, but if anyone wishes to borrow our copy of the paper - we do not have the whole book - please contact the archivist.


Peter F Anson's memoirs, A Roving Recluse (1946), describe his time in Walsingham on pp 197-205.

Pinions [pen-name of Sister Mary Lioba], Wind on the Sand (1980) (ISBN 0-281-03753-1) subtitled 'The hidden life of an anchoress': a very detailed spiritual autobiography, including her time as an anchoress at Walsingham

Susan Signe Morrison, Women Pilgrims in Late Medieval England: Private Piety as Public Performance  (2000) (ISBN 0-415-22180-3). Chapter 1 deals exclusively with Walsingham.

Chapter 7 of Francis Penhale's Catholics in Crisis (1986) is entirely about Walsingham; notes and references are on pp 163-165.

There are several pages on Walsingham in Chapter 7 of Michael Yelton's Anglican Papalism (2005) (ISBN 1-85311-655-6), and it is referred to on pages 19-21 of the same author's Peter Anson: Monk, Writer and Artist (2005). Anson's 1931 drawing of the Holy House is on page 66.

Bishop Eric Kemp's published memoirs - Shy but not Retiring (2006) - contain references to Walsingham, although sadly the book has no index. See pp 246-247.

In This Sign Conquer (2006), a history of the SSC, has no index of places, but there are references to Walsingham throughout the book. The name index includes many well-known 'Walsingham' priests, but note that it does have errors and omissions.

People, Places and Things (2006) (ISBN 2101 6837[may be incorrect]), a souvenir book of photographs to commemorate the 75th anniversary of the Society of Mary. Many of them have Walsingham connections.

A Fair Young Curate (2007) (ISBN 978-0-9553361-0-2) is an annotated edition, by his son, of the diary of Fr Frank Wain for the year 1938. Pages 43-51 describe a week in Walsingham in July, giving the reader a glimpse of everyday life in the village and Shrine. The whole diary gives a vivid picture of ordinary church life at that time, alongside the growing national unease at the prospect of another Great War.

Michael Yelton, Outposts of the Faith (2009) (ISBN 978-1-85311-985-9), describing ten country parishes where the Anglo-Catholic movement flourished, has references throughout to Walsingham, and to many of its Guardians, priests and people.

Michael Yelton, The Twenty One: An Anglo-Catholic Rebellion in London, 1929 (2009) (ISBN 978-0-9550714-5-4) detailing the principled stand of 21 Catholic priests in London (five of whom were later to become founding Guardians of the Shrine) against the Bishop's Directions in the aftermath of the rejection of the 1928 Prayer Book.

Michael Farrer, One Part of London: Aspects of Anglo-Catholicism in Camden (2009) (ISBN 978-0-9550714-6-1) contains passing references to Fr Patten and many others connected with Walsingham.

James Rattue, Something Other Than We Are: an informal history of Catholic ideals in the Church of England (2009) ( ISBN 095446334x - the number printed on the back of the book is incorrect) A succinct reading of the changing fortunes of the Catholic position in the Church of England from Henry VIII to the present day, thus including many mentions of Walsingham and of priests and people connected with it.

Philip Corbett and William Davage, Defend and Maintain (2009) (ISBN 978-0-85191-328-5). A history of the Church Union, 1859-2009: passing references to people connected with Walsingham, and many mentions of Lord Halifax, a founding Guardian and the Union's sometime President.

John Gunstone, Lift High the Cross (2010) ( ISBN 978-1-85311-817-3) This history of the Anglo-Catholic Congresses between the wars includes references to priests and laymen later closely connected with Walsingham, although the index does not include all their names.

A T John Salter, The Anglican Papalist: A Personal Portrait of Henry Joy Fynes-Clinton (2012) (ISBN 978-0-9560565-2-8) This biography of one of the greatest benefactors of the Shrine describes his part, with Fr Patten and Sir William Milner, in restoring it, and mentions many Guardians. It is the first detailed account of the strong Orthodox links with the Shrine in its early days.