Saturday 23rd July 1938
On arriving home I found a parcel from Mrs Lloyd, and from Walsingham
I hear I shall have to be put up in the village. Hope it doesn’t
mean there’s a pilgrimage on.
Departure 8.30, changed Birmingham & Fakenham only, arrived Walsingham
2.40 and a nice cup of tea! Everything here is marvellous – the
completed church is v. fine. And now there is a scheme for a priests’
college, to look after the shrine, retreatants, etc. The sister in charge
(Grace Helen, S.S.P.) explained how they are the original Horbury Sisters,
the remnant being S.Peter’s Chains. In the old days the Mirfield
students used to hike over on saints’ days for tea & vespers
at Horbury. She knew Fr Symonds very well. On the lawn was Fr Bristow,
[curate] of S. Chad’s, Longton. Besides him there were only a lot
of females, until Reynolds, the M.C. last night at Wednesbury, turned
up. Bristow is in my old room, 'neath the creaking sign, but I am bedded
out at the Page’s in the village. Notice the Roman Franciscans who
have descended upon the place. They have turned a couple of houses into
a hostel, and have bought a row of houses where they will build a church
when the lease is up.
Served Bristow at Mass in the Holy House itself. Then he had to go. Fr
Derek Lingwood took him as far as Fakenham, & I went with them. In
the Abbey grounds with Reynolds before lunch, EXPECTANS DUM DEFLUAT AMNIS
[waiting till the rain stopped], & afterwards to Sandringham Flower
Show – which was all very nice but very tiring. [The Latin is an
adapted quotation from Horace – Rusticus expectat dum defluat amnis
– the country bumpkin waits till the river stops flowing. Ep. I.ii.32.]
A jolly sight harder to get up today. Mr Page is a cheery little fat man,
who expects to hold a prolonged conversation about the weather at 7 o/c
a.m. – and to find out where I’ve been the day before! Mass
in the Parish Church. About 20 present, including the fellow who served
last year. A funny
little server today, with a piping voice & a local accent. There was
noise at the back like a decrepit steam roller making its way up the aisle,
& in came the proprietress of the Martyr café. She then sat
down & coughed as though about to pass out, but in the middle of the
morning she was dressed up to kill and doing 60 down the road, off &
away somewhere. In the afternoon by bike to South Creake, where is England’s
most beautiful church. 4 altars, including Nave Altar, Reservation, statues,
peal of bells, old woodwork - & no pews. A few chairs brought out
for the service suffice for the whole population of the village. [Added:
BEAUTIFULLY CLEAN]. Some of the others came by car. [Added: IE MRS &
MISS DANIELS AND “MONICA”.] Others walked. We
were back for tea – those who walked were NOT. There was a spare
seat in the car – after all my exertions getting the bike here,
I might just as well have left it behind! This morning the cubs who were
at Mass the other day were being shown round the shrine. They have two
cubmistresses, one of whom [Added: (A) ] is most attractive. They are
from Kenton (London) & their priest [Frank Johnson, Vicar of St Mary
the Virgin, Kenton, Middlesex] knew Sidney Cockburn [a student at the
College, a year behind FW and so about to be ordained deacon]. The cubmistresses
came to the Hospice after dinner too.
29th July. S.Martha
This afternoon to the cubs’ camp for tea – a very jolly time.
Fr Taylor, Fr Edwards: two awfully nice men; Audrey & somebody else:
& 20 boys. After tea & bread an’ marmalade (+ 2 cakes which
a lady in the village brought round warm from the oven), some of us went
fishing. The boys had dug for worms with a spade as big as themselves,
& we fastened one to a hook in a most gruesome manner. Needless to
say, we caught nothing, but we saw a lot of dace, some moorhens &
some nests, & got well stung with nettles. Johnny Creame became Red
Wolf, another White Feathers, & I Black Beetle because of my blazer.
Johnnie knew all about the Lamb of God on my badge. [The symbol of the
Community and College of the Resurrection] At dinner there was another
man – from Brighton. At the weekend some of us are going to make
a proper pilgrimage, & I am to conduct Stations of the Cross. In the
drawing room a musical lady tried to pick out the Walsingham Hymn on the
piano – from the musical statue & our singing! A short walk
round by the church, & so to bed at 10.30.
Sung Mass at the Parish Church (8 o/c). They sing the Saturday Mass of
Our Lady every Saturday in the
side chapel. Incense. One server. Reynolds departed, among general regret,
to catch the one o/c train to Wednesbury (Awful thought). Afternoon I
spent with the cubs, it was their sports, & a gorgeously hot day.
Little Johnnie didn’t run much – the sun affected him, so
we laid him in the shade, & I wet my hankie in the brook & he
loved to have it on his forehead. He’s not a strong boy, & Miss
Daniels thinks he won’t live long. She’s had experience &
says she can tell. He fainted at mass in the parish church last Sunday
– just after the Consecration – unwittingly preventing the
Kensitites from making a disturbance. He has a brother, but no sisters,
and “no animals”. Audrey was magnifique! At 5.45 we began
our pilgrimage with devotions in the Holy House before the usual intercessions
– conducted by Fr Patten himself. There were a lot of newcomers
arrived. At 7 o/c a whole crowd made their confessions – Fr Patten
merely said to me “Have you got a regular director?” So I
said “Yes” – “Anything you wish to ask about?”
– “No” - & that was all. After supper, we went to
the cubs Camp Fire singsong, & Mrs Daniels presented the prizes for
the sports. It was most excellently jolly. And now it’s far too
hot to sleep. At dinner I told Mrs D. that I always spoil it for myself
by wondering what they will be like in 20 years time - & she said,
very kindly & quietly “You mustn’t wonder”. Mem.
Don’t wonder, just thank God & worship the Christ child in them.
Lady, help of Christians, pray for us.
31st July ‘38
By the way – what a number of people with monocles I’ve suddenly
begun meeting – first the doctor at Great Barr – then the
priest at Wednesbury – then Mrs Brett, I see, has one for reading!
When wearing her veil and smoking, she looks just like a gipsy. Mass &
Communion at 8 this morning. At 10 o/c I conducted Stations – cotta
& purple stole– it was all very good. Audrey says Fr Taylor
didn’t let any of the cubs go into the Sepulchre. Just as well!
[In the garden at Walsingham is a model of the Empty Tomb.] Then the Parish
Mass at the church – absolutely packed. Again a great joy. The devotion
(as Reynolds said) could be cut with a spade. It was wonderful. Local
people too – not by any means all visitors. And Fr Patten preached
a delightful sermon. Asperged first. The cubs & their officers all
came. I sat behind them. Johnnie turned round – he says he wants
to keep my hanky. Podgy Tucker looked as tho’ about to faint, but
it turned out he was only asleep! I pointed out to some of them the Abbey
ruins – they hadn’t been in owing to the price (6d). They
will go back to school with new ideas of Henry VIII – what with
me & Fr Derek! Mrs & Miss Daniels are going to give me a copy
of The House of Prayer which belonged to their granny (cp Fr Biggart reading
it in my first retreat).
2.15 Fr Patten gave us a short talk in S.Anne’s chapel – new
idea – the Lady of the Manor. Then we sang Litany of Our Lady in
procession & were sprinkled etc. at the Holy Well. I helped with the
devotions, & again all was excellent. At Evensong – no sermon,
but Benediction afterwards – as one would expect, great devotion,
driving one back to realities. On the way back we said goodbye to the
cubs. I shook hands scoutwise with each one.
Tomorrow I shall get to Mass after all, as there is an early one. Then
Miss D will take me to Fakenham in the car (if it don’t break down)
& thus avoid the hour’s wait at Fakenham.
Audrey came round after supper (purposely not bringing Geoffrey, tho’
he was invited!) & we talked till nearly 11 o/c! Outside the “Martyrs’
memorial” I borrowed 5/- from Mr Williams, who keeps the Shrine
Token Shop. Audrey, you see, is not only a magnificent girl, but also
a good Catholic. At intercessions I gave in several: choirboys, Fr W’s
neuritis, & D.P.’s TB. Furthermore, I shall not forget my Pilgrimage
Intention – it is already being answered.
PS Fr Hope Patten’s theology was absolutely sound this afternoon.
Audrey’s birthday is 20th November.
Mass & Communion @ 7.30, a crowd of people besides the cubs. Audrey
& Geoffrey & Fr Edwards too. The Mass was said by Fr Taylor. Johnny
was at the back, but after a bit I looked down & there he was by my
side! What must be passing through his little head! I gave him the pad
from my kneeling chair – it wd have been screwmaticy for his knees
on the stones. White Feathers was just in front. They both said goodbye
again at the end of Mass. Did I mention White Feathers? I was Black Beetle
(because of my blazer, belt and shoes) and Johnny varied – but finally
decided on Red Wolf.
A quick breakfast, & by car to Fakenham, with a W’ham label
on my bag.