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William Frary
b 1904; d 15 August 1953
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William Frary b 1904; d 15 August 1953; gardener, verger, beadle and carilloner until his death, and one of the Shrine's most valuable early helpers; one of the six carved heads in the Shrine church roof; the Pieta now fixed near his home by the garden entrance to St Anne's was raised in his memory and first placed near the Pilgrim Hall. (tribute in Our Lady's Mirror below)

William Frary William Frary and Miss Will William Frary
in his role as Shrine gardener 1950 © Tim Brown carrying the tea from the Sisters' kitchen [in Stella Maris] across to the refectory in the Pilgrim Hall with 'Miss Will' (assistant matron at St Hilary's) 1950 © Tim Brown as handyman repairing the Halifax altar 1951 © Tim Brown
William Frary William Frary William Frary
same year (1952) - different processions
as Beadle leading the WhitMonday procession (left) and the Translation anniversary procession in October
the Pieta as first erected in his memory in the Shrine garden near his house: later moved to the wall near St Anne's entrance

from Our Lady's Mirror Summer Number 1953


It is with very great grief we have to tell our readers of the death of Mr William Frary; known to so many pilgrims and visitors to the Shrine just by his Christian name, for he was everyone’s friend, and all lovers of Walsingham were his friends. For over thirty years he had been a regular server and M.C. at the Parish Church of S. Mary; one of the first members of the S.O.L.W., and from the time of the rebuilding of the Holy House he had been Beadle, Gardener and Carillonneur. William was always at hand and ready for any call at any time, for time did not matter to him so long as he was doing “a job” for the Shrine or anything or anyone connected with it. Our loss is irreparable, not only because he was a devoted and loyal worker, but also a personal and valued friend to so many. Since he was a young man of seventeen he had been most regular in his personal religion, and a real defender of the Faith in our village. Many souls have been helped over difficult stiles by him, and he will be long remembered and loved. He leaves his wife and two daughters, to whom our deepest sympathy is extended in their great bereavement. William died, as he wished, on Our Lady’s Assumption.

His body was brought into the Pilgrimage Church on the morning of Tuesday, August 18th, and rested in front of the High Altar until after Vespers, which were said at 6.30 when the coffin was removed to the chapel of S. Anne (that of the S.O.L.W.) where it remained until the next morning. The cortège left the Pilgrimage Church, which William loved so much, at 9.15 and proceeded down the High Street to S. Mary’s Church. Four of the Guardians walked beside the coffin, Father Patten and two cantors walking in front and leading the psalms; the Beadle’s mace draped in black was carried immediately behind the coffin. At the church the office was said and a Requiem Mass sung by the Parish Priest. After the absolutions the burial followed immediately. We have full confidence that Our Lady will aid him by her prayers and we ask all our readers to add their intercessions and good works so that he may soon pass into the joys of the beatific vision.

Jesu mercy. Mary help.

Bessie L Frary his wife, died 1978; Dame of the Order of Our Lady of Walsingham 1964-78.

from Walsingham Review Number 65 August 1978

BESSIE FRARY — An Appreciation

How many of us in Walsingham will miss Bessie, who, in a quiet way, did so much for others! For a long time after her husband died she carried on bravely with the work in the Pilgrim’s Refectory, a work which they had done together, and this was no easy task. She was very much loved by all her friends, and also by the pilgrims — many of whom, having stayed at her home when in Walsingham, asked to go back there again next time they came. After Bessie had given up the Refectory work, she spent many hours at home packing up ‘Walsingham Reviews’, ready to be sent off.

Her services to the Shrine were valued, and she was made a Dame of the Order of Our Lady of Walsingham. Bessie’s life in her home and church was perhaps a hidden one, a life of patient love, courage, and steadfastness; an example and a strength to all of us. She never failed to be present at the 7.30 a.m. Mass on Sundays, and was able to receive Holy Communion through her illness, until the end. May she rest in peace.
Written by the Priory of Our Lady, Walsingham.

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