the seal of the medieval priory
The Guardians' Insignia; and group photographs


Fr PattenThe Guardians of the Shrine were formed as a College in 1931 but their distinctive insignia only gradually evolved.

The Master's silver gilt chain (seen on the left) was presented by Fr Fynes-Clinton in 1933. The next item to be acquired was the blue mantle, the design based on that of a Fraternity in Bruges. They were not worn until 7 November 1938, the day of the first installation of Guardians. This is why in pictures of the great procession on 6 June earlier that year for the opening of the new Shrine Church the lay Guardians are seen walking in everyday suits.

The stars were struck in 1947. These are in silver gilt for full Guardians and gilt for the Honorary and Emeritus.

The arms of the College are in the centre and the star is worn on a black and white ribbon. On less formal occasions, when mantles are not worn, the star is still worn over ordinary priest or lay clothes, at Walsingham and at any functions connected with the Shrine.

The inscription on the star reads:
CUSTOS S DOMUS D N DE WALSINGHAM
CUSTOS S[ANCTAE] DOMUS D[OMINAE] N[OSTRAE] DE WALSINGHAM

or for Honorary Guardians:

CUSTOS HON S DOMUS D N DE WALSINGHAM
CUSTOS HON[ORARIUS/ORARIA] S[ANCTAE] DOMUS D[OMINAE] N[OSTRAE] DE WALSINGHAM

At some time in the past one batch of new medals was incorrectly struck, and a few of the full Guardians' silver stars have the HON in their wording.

Below: Three group photographs have been taken,
fifty-one years apart - 1955 and 2006, and in 2011.


Guardians group 1955
The College of Guardians 1955

Guardians group 2006
The College of Guardians 2006 © Graham Howard

Some of the Guardians at the Episcopal ordination of Bishop Martin Warner in York Minster 2010 © Jo Parkinson

College of Guardians 2011
The College of Guardians 2011 © Graham Howard

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