The first Pilgrim Hymn
written by Sir William Milner and used until rewritten by Fr Stephenson in 1959:
this version is as printed in the first Pilgrims' Manuals: 42 verses [1-21 left; 22-42 right]


Sing the glories of Mary, celestial-crowned,

All-loving, all-lowly, o'er women renowned.
Ave, Ave, Ave, Maria ! Ave, Ave, Ave, Maria !

Chant the story, full wondrous, how Nazareth's Home
For England was builded in Walsingham's combe.
Ave, Ave, Ave, Maria ! Ave, Ave, Ave, Maria !

’Twas when Edward Confessor ruled over our land,
The saintly, the gracious, 'neath God's high command,
Ave, Ave, Ave, Maria ! Ave, Ave, Ave, Maria !

To Richeldis, a matron full blameless in life,
Who sought for the Star that leads safe through our strife.
Ave, Ave, Ave, Maria ! Ave, Ave, Ave, Maria !

Our Lady, all-clement, was pleased to appear,
And her voice, sweetly sounding, Richeldis did hear :
Ave, Ave, Ave, Maria ! Ave, Ave, Ave, Maria !

" I come now to ask you, dear daughter of mine,
On the lands of your fathers to build me a shrine :
Ave, Ave, Ave, Maria ! Ave, Ave, Ave, Maria !

" See, build from this model my arms now enfold —
'Tis Nazareth's homestead, more precious than gold,
Ave, Ave, Ave, Maria ! Ave, Ave, Ave, Maria !

" Where Jesus, my Lord, on my bosom once laid ;
Thrice holy the house where his baby feet played.
Ave, Ave, Ave, Maria ! Ave, Ave, Ave, Maria !

"And this shrine's dedication the honour shall tell
Of that mystical season when came Gabriel,
Ave, Ave, Ave, Maria ! Ave, Ave, Ave, Maria !

" To announce unto me that on Christmas' fair morn
Of my womb should the Lord of redemption be born.
Ave, Ave, Ave, Maria ! Ave, Ave, Ave, Maria !

"And the spot that I choose where the House shall arise,
By a sign shall be plainly revealed to your eyes."
Ave, Ave, Ave, Maria ! Ave, Ave, Ave, Maria !

Next morn when Richeldis went abroad in the meads
With her chaplain conversing, and saying her beads,
Ave, Ave, Ave, Maria ! Ave, Ave, Ave, Maria !

Lo ! springs bright as crystal burst forth from the plain
Where but now the green pastures unbroken had lain.
Ave, Ave, Ave, Maria ! Ave, Ave, Ave, Maria !

"The sign that was promised see, father, revealed!
O God, for thy goodness our thanks now we yield,"
Ave, Ave, Ave, Maria ! Ave, Ave, Ave, Maria !

Thus in joy quoth the matron. Forthwith goodly store
Of oak-trees was hewn, and of rushes galore.
Ave, Ave, Ave, Maria ! Ave, Ave, Ave, Maria !

Right soon the good timbers in order were laid,
And the walls, newly rising, stood forth in the glade.
Ave, Ave, Ave, Maria ! Ave, Ave, Ave, Maria !

When lo ! in the night came a bright angel-band,
And the work was completed by Mary's own hand.
Ave, Ave, Ave, Maria ! Ave, Ave, Ave, Maria !

In the morn when the builders to work did proceed,
They found not the chapel, half built, in the mead :
Ave, Ave, Ave, Maria ! Ave, Ave, Ave, Maria !

For garnished, completed, from where it had been
Full ten score of paces translated 'twas seen :
Ave, Ave, Ave, Maria ! Ave, Ave, Ave, Maria !

In wonder they stood and in awe at this sight,
As they gazed on the fruits of that wonderful night.
Ave, Ave, Ave, Maria ! Ave, Ave, Ave, Maria !

And there, where Our Lady had founded it sure,
The chapel for centuries long did endure.
Ave, Ave, Ave, Maria ! Ave, Ave, Ave, Maria !

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Came pilgrims in thousands, this wonder to view,
To praise our dear Lady, her help to pursue.
Ave, Ave, Ave, Maria ! Ave, Ave, Ave, Maria !

The Canons of Austin its guardians became,
And a glorious Minster their labour did frame :
Ave, Ave, Ave, Maria ! Ave, Ave, Ave, Maria !

Then lofty was builded God's altar of grace ;
And hard by the Lord's dwelling, his Mother had place :
Ave, Ave, Ave, Maria ! Ave, Ave, Ave, Maria !

And the shrine was with heavenly radiance dight,
With gold and with gems as the firmament bright :
Ave, Ave, Ave, Maria ! Ave, Ave, Ave, Maria !

Here stood the fair image, miraculous styled,
Of Mary, soft cradling her glorious Child.
Ave, Ave, Ave, Maria ! Ave, Ave, Ave, Maria !

Here for love of their Mother, their vows for to pay,
Came the faithful, nor ever went empty away ;
Ave, Ave, Ave, Maria ! Ave, Ave, Ave, Maria !

Here the sick and the suff'ring, invoking her aid,
At the shrine, in the waters, full often were laid :
Ave, Ave, Ave, Maria ! Ave, Ave, Ave, Maria !

And Mary her Son in high heaven besought,
And many a healing miraculous wrought ;
Ave, Ave, Ave, Maria ! Ave, Ave, Ave, Maria !

And many the graces and favours bestowed
On those who in faith took the pilgrimage road.
Ave, Ave, Ave, Maria ! Ave, Ave, Ave, Maria !

And last came a king and his virtuous queen
To pray that their bed might be blessed with a wean ;
Ave, Ave, Ave, Maria ! Ave, Ave, Ave, Maria !

Who, alack, on the shrine cast his covetous eyes
And the gold that shone fairer than stars of the skies.
Ave, Ave, Ave, Maria ! Ave, Ave, Ave, Maria !

The order went forth : and by impious hands
That shrine was despoiled, and stolen the lands ;
Ave, Ave, Ave, Maria ! Ave, Ave, Ave, Maria !

But his soul did repent, when he came for to die,
And to Walsingham's Lady for mercy did cry.
Ave, Ave, Ave, Maria ! Ave, Ave, Ave, Maria !

Yet though all seemed as ended, the Dark Ages through
Faithful hearts turned to Mary to offer their due :
Ave, Ave, Ave, Maria ! Ave, Ave, Ave, Maria !

Though no more stood the shrine so resplendent to see,
A thin stream of pilgrims still sought grammercy.
Ave, Ave, Ave, Maria ! Ave, Ave, Ave, Maria !

Till at last, when full measure of penance was poured,
In her Shrine see the honour of Mary restored :
Ave, Ave, Ave, Maria ! Ave, Ave, Ave, Maria !

Again 'neath her image the tapers shine fair,
In her children's endeavours past wrongs to repair.
Ave, Ave, Ave, Maria ! Ave, Ave, Ave, Maria !

Again in her House her due honour is taught :
Her name is invoked, her fair graces besought :
Ave, Ave, Ave, Maria ! Ave, Ave, Ave, Maria !

And the sick and the maimed seek the pilgrimage way,
And miraculous healing their bodies display.
Ave, Ave, Ave, Maria ! Ave, Ave, Ave, Maria !

Oh Mother, give heed to the prayer of our heart,
That your glory from here never more may depart.
Ave, Ave, Ave, Maria ! Ave, Ave, Ave, Maria !

Now to God the All-Father, and Son, with due praise,
And life-giving Spirit, thanksgiving we raise.
Ave, Ave, Ave, Maria ! Ave, Ave, Ave, Maria !

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