Fr Colin Stephenson, Fr Patten's successor as Administrator, remembered the first foot pilgrimage in 1935
Outside the Shrine, which was only a small chapel, a young priest was waiting to welcome us — occupying his time by saying his Office. It was Father Derrick Lingwood. The Holy House seemed a fitting end to the 130 miles walk we had accomplished for it was dark and mysterious and full of an atmosphere which I had never before experienced. After supper we were taken to the Vicarage and met Fr. Hope Patten who wanted to hear about every detail of our journey. He gave us whisky to drink and while the priests talked of the tiresomeness of bishops and the way to circumvent their machinations my youthful eyes devoured all the pious adornments of Fr. Patten's room, including a big statue of St. Hugh of Lincoln which I later discovered started life as St. Philip Neri; the painted-out beard gave him a very odd chin.
I went to
bed that evening tired but very happy. I was staying in the Market Place
with Mr. and Mrs. Fred Shepherd. They had a small boy who, when his mother
found a rosary in my bed said "what a funny man to play with beads".
He grew up and became Father John Shepherd.
|photograph from the archives|