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					AN221 Dr. Fenella Cannell                                              26/03/2010
Walsingham Field Notes Write-up
Chloe Evans
                            Walsingham Write Up


The Experience of the Trip as a ‘Pilgrimage’
What stands out in my mind was the journey to Walsingham, I was acutely aware of
the spatial and physical changes that were occurring around me. There was a stark
contrast between the obnoxiousness of London and the calming atmosphere in
Walsingham. I felt rather claustrophobic in London as the dense buildings seemed to
tower over you and block out the light,. The modern architecture is cold and dark that
creates an ominous presence. There is a type of nervous energy that radiates out of
London that comes from the thousands of people wandering through the streets
amongst the thousands of cars and bicycles. There is a never-ending constancy of
everything, nothing ever sleeps. While travelling on the coach, I could feel that the
urgency that London conveyed began to weaken as the buildings and cars began to
spread out. I could feel that I was losing touch with the core or centre and moving
further and further away to some peripheral place. Entering Walsingham I felt that we
had „arrived‟ somewhere totally different. The atmosphere was calm, quiet and
serene.


There was a subtlety in Walsingham that was missing in London, everything was
more peaceful and still. The red bricked houses emphasised the warmth of the area.
Everything was much smaller in Walsingham; the houses, roads, shops and the entire
village. The village seemed strangely familiar as it has a quaint charm that resembled
the villages that I had visited as a child. The Anglican shrine itself was contradictory
in its presentation as the architecture of the area infused modern and old architectural
designs. The shrine was placed amongst modernist garden landscaping with
minimalist designs and carefully manicured gardens. This juxtaposes against the
rustic and more authentic feel of the village with its cobble stoned houses and winding
streets and alleyways. Nevertheless, I felt that the modern aesthetics did not detract
from the potency of the shrine, it seemed to have a power over people that changes
the way they acted, becoming more reflective and sombre in their mood and actions.
Both to those who had and had not have a religious affiliation with Walsingham felt at
least a calmness that was not present with them in London.




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AN221 Dr. Fenella Cannell                                              26/03/2010
Walsingham Field Notes Write-up
Chloe Evans
Interviews: Anglican Shrine Shop
I conducted my interviews with a group of other students. We took turns asking
questions and either wrote down or recorded the conversations. We visited the
Anglican shrine shop twice, once on the Saturday and once again the following day.
We interviewed the staff at the shop on both days and their responses to similar
questions varied greatly. The staff that was working on Saturday had a stronger belief
in miracles, while those on working on Sunday were more cautious to admit their
sightings and acceptances of any miracles.


The Anglican shrine shop has a Tudor revival style exterior which helps to emphasise
the „cosiness‟ of the village. The shop front windows are painted navy blue which
contrasts against the warmth of the shop lighting from inside. The shop windows are
filled with religious artefacts: rosaries, idols, cups, statues, models, decanters and
prayer cards. As I went inside the shop I could see that this cluttering of religious
artefacts spread throughout the whole store, overcrowding each other. On the right
hand side of the store there was a whole wall dedicated to different types of rosaries
and religious jewellery. Above the rows upon rows of rosaries were crosses and idols.
At the far left of the shop were theological books and a church supplies section. I was
quite surprised to see the quantities of religious artefacts in one small shop, and more
surprised still that there were many idols that would be more fitting for a Catholic
shrine shop. In the background there was soothing music of harps playing melodic
pieces that seemed to create a calming ambience in the shop. However, juxtaposing
this calmness were the busy customers wandering throughout the shop. Children from
a large Irish family were running from one stall to another, picking rosaries, trinkets
and prayer cards and shouting to their mother from across the room, “Muum, can I
have this? I like this, ooh this is pretty!” The children‟s excitement seemed to fill the
small store with a youthful energy.


As soon as they left I went over to speak with one of the shop assistants, she was an
elderly nun who spoke with a type of graceful authority. I asked what were the most
popular items in the shop, she replied “Everything is popular; the holy water and the
prayer cards”. She then continued the conversation to the topic of healing:




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AN221 Dr. Fenella Cannell                                            26/03/2010
Walsingham Field Notes Write-up
Chloe Evans
“People come here for a reason; to get healed, you see this lady here?” She points to
the other shop assistant, “You know, she used to be lame, but not she can walk.
Miracles do happen. She was immobilised, so we prayed and now you can see she can
walk.”


An elderly lady came into the shop, she seemed to know the nun very well, as they
chatted and spoke about people in the village. She had first visited Walsingham fifty
six years ago and has been returning to it ever since. The nun inquired her about her
trip to the hospital and she replied quite confidently, “I‟m clear now.” The Nun turned
to me and said, “See, another one.” The elderly lady looked at me and said, “Yes, I‟m
healed from Cancer now”.


Sunday Interview
The following day my group and I returned to the Anglican shrine shop, the following
are excerpts from a recorded interview, I have made sure to anonymise all of the
informants.


On Sunday the rain and the wind seemed to detract people from going out so the shop
was much quieter than the day before. A different woman was at the till; she was a
mild mannered middle aged woman. The same calming music is playing in the
background.


Where do most of the pilgrims come from? Here (UK) or abroad?


Mostly this country I would think. They come and spend a week or a weekend
throughout summer periods, because we have accommodation for them. They come
for a few days, and absorb the atmosphere. But they are mostly from this country I
would think.


What do you think is special about Walsingham?


What‟s special about it? Well, the whole feel about it. There is such a lovely peaceful
feel. Its almost tangible, especially in the middle of the winter, it‟s beautiful, you can
almost reach out and touch it. It‟s just lovely.

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AN221 Dr. Fenella Cannell                                                26/03/2010
Walsingham Field Notes Write-up
Chloe Evans

Are you a Christian?


Yes


Have you been to a pilgrimage?


No, well… I have done the Walsingham pilgrimage once because every year they
have what they call the national pilgrimage, its one day and we get masses and masses
of people flooding in through the day. So I have done that years ago, but I never
thought that I come and work here. But it‟s a good place to work, you meet a lot an
awful lot of lovely people. To me, that‟s the most important thing about working here,
the people are just lovely.


Are you planning to go on another national pilgrimage again?


Well, no because I work at the national pilgrimage. And I‟m not really interested in
going to other pilgrimages; obviously there are lots of other pilgrim sites. But I can‟t
say that I‟m really interested in that. I like working here, I like being here. It‟s a good
place. What are you doing here? Are you doing a project?


We are researching pilgrimage experiences. What you think about it and things
like that. The pilgrimage experience basically.


Oh right, so we have a big selection of books actually. People just come for the books.
But most of the pilgrims tend to come and buy rosaries and they buy crosses,
crucifixes, and we have just started these icons, they are quite popular too. They are
very orthodox.


The manager walks in, he is a man in his late thirties with a happy disposition.
These girls are doing a project and they would like to know what you think of the
village as someone who lives here.




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AN221 Dr. Fenella Cannell                               26/03/2010
Walsingham Field Notes Write-up
Chloe Evans
Manager: Ooooooooooooh you‟re asking the wrong wire, I‟m not even an
Englishman, I only moved down recently. hahahaha


When did you move?


Manager: A year past since September. So I have been here for about eighteen
months. I‟ve always been a City lad, but so I don‟t know to put my spin on it or not.
Hahaha Where do I start? Well I have quite enjoyed it. It‟s very quiet, especially out
of season, in the winter time. There‟s not a lot happening at all. And, I‟m struggling a
little bit with that. But in June, it‟s nice because everybody knows each other so its
more like a community thing rather than a living in a big city.


Have you been here before you moved?


Manager: I came here on pilgrimage before that‟s how I found the place, coming
down to the Anglican shrine to the local church. And always thought „Silly me, I
would like to live here‟ and I bought a little cottage about two, nearly three years past
for a holiday home. And then I came down just on pilgrimage and was offered a job
and so I decided to move down permanently. There‟s a lot of community here, people
are…there‟s gossip as well. Obviously in a small village everybody knows everybody
else‟s business. But, people in general are good to each other and they‟ll look out for
each other and everything. It‟s really different from the city, because in the city you‟re
anonymous aren‟t you? No knows each other. But I used to like that. Maybe people
are too nosey. This is a nice village, but we were talking about it earlier, saying that
this type of village was an awful mix of different characters in it. Because it attracts
obviously, a word for a better word some...(voice breaks) loonies… hahaha.
Breaks into laughter. Being religious, you know what I mean though, it‟s quite a
mixed up pot.


Lady: Well you get some people who are fanatically involved with the shrine. So you
got that extreme and you got the other extreme, people who have ALWAYS lived in
the village and really have no interest at all with the shrine.




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AN221 Dr. Fenella Cannell                                             26/03/2010
Walsingham Field Notes Write-up
Chloe Evans
Manager: That‟s right, you‟ll probably find that if you spoke to a local person, a real
local, not like me, who has always lived here they‟ll probably have nothing to do with
the religious side of this village at all. But on the other hand, but if there was not a
pilgrim site here, this village would not be what it is.


Lady: It might not even be in existence.


Manager: That‟s right it might not exist, because this obviously brings in business and
livelihood for everybody, for work and everything else. So there is a dual purpose for
the local people. Some people might not like it, but at the same time the village would
not be here, if it wasn‟t for that, „cos there wouldn‟t be any work here.


Where do the locals hide then?
Manager There‟s quite a big housing estate just….
Lady: Up the Wells Road
Manager: Called Mount Pleasant, and that will be more local. It‟s really like two
villages because you got the medieval village that‟s really tied round the shrines. And
then you got Mount Pleasant which is probably like another village, it‟s „them‟ and
„us‟, it sounds terrible but that‟s the way it is. You‟ll probably quite a lot of people in
this housing estate, some of them have never been down to the village before. But if
they do head down, they‟ll head to Fakenham which is a local market town or go to
Norwich. They have no reason to come into the village, really. „Cos the estate will
have their own newsagents and grocery store so that they won‟t have to come down
for that. It sounds crazy, but there are people who have never set foot in any of the
shrines but have lived here all their lives.


Can you tell us a little bit about you pilgrimage experience?


Manager: About mine..? Shrieks in exasperation (Uahhhhh) Talking about putting me
on the spot! Haha I came down with the pilgrimage from X. It was a group consisted
of Anglicans, Roman Catholics, Baptists, Salvation Army, we started with four
people, and seven years down the line we were bringing forty people, and we loved it.
It was wonderful, we came down for five days and do all the masses and different
things, but we had some fun as well. Like going away on days out, maybe the seaside

                                       Page 6 of 13
AN221 Dr. Fenella Cannell                                          26/03/2010
Walsingham Field Notes Write-up
Chloe Evans
or some historical sites. And on the Sunday night, the day before we left, we would
have a party. Because all the worship is finished and it was time to let your hair down,
and celebrate and have a night together. It would be a party, it wouldn‟t be religious.
Because we have done all the religion throughout the week. It was great and it would
be all ages with little kids and people right up to 70 or 80 years old. It was good,
good fun. It was just lovely. It was just to get away from the city, because we were all
city folk, coming to this. I‟ve got a different perspective now that I live here but it was
wonderful.


What’s your perspective now that you live here?


Manager: It‟s a harder place than I thought it was. It‟s different. It‟s not, well, that I
worked here as well, you start to see things differently. I love it, but…I can see it as
not all…it‟s like seeing a play, its magical and wonderful but when you go backstage,
you realise, its not quite…(voice fades off)


Lady: interjects…that‟s right…you see the reality.


Manager: of it all…


Lady: It‟s like watching Doctor Who on television. Laughter breaks out. It looks
absolutely wonderful, but once you are in the studio and see how all the effects are
done, it takes away…all the magic, doesn‟t it?


That’s sad then…


Lady: Yes it is sad.


Manager: Interjects quickly, as if he were trying to defend himself. But it is magical,
there are still lots of good things, because that sounds like I‟m downing it, but I
wouldn‟t because I love it, I love it. I just see another side to it all, but I still really
like it.




                                       Page 7 of 13
AN221 Dr. Fenella Cannell                                  26/03/2010
Walsingham Field Notes Write-up
Chloe Evans
We went to the healing mass yesterday, and quite a lot of people come for
healing…


Both: Yes that‟s right, they do.


Manager : Yes, quite a lot of people get something out of that. Don‟t they?


Lady: Yes, yes they do. Because whatever you say bout this village, whatever you say
about it, good or bad, there is still something about it, something that you can‟t put
your finger on. Its got this…it‟s got this sort of…aura, atmosphere about it, that is
very difficult to describe. But it’s there, you feel it.


Manager: Yeah, that‟s what you said recently (to the lady). For all the ups and downs,
the shrine is bigger than everybody. That will be here long after we are all gone. So
sometimes when you say “This is bad” or we‟re fed up with something, but it‟s the
people, it‟s not the shrine. Because the shrine is forever, as far as I‟m concerned, and
that will be there long after us…nutcases (laughs) are gone…It will be here long after
it, so sometimes we get mixed up and we say that “this is bad” or “this is bad” or
whatever, it‟s because it‟s a problem with another person. It‟s not the shrine, because
the shrine is eternal, it‟s bigger than us all.


Have you heard any prophecies about the shrine itself, I mean it’s very Roman
Catholic.


Lady: Well, it‟s because it started out as, in the days when the vision was had
everyone was Catholic, so…it is a Catholic thing. Catholic though, meaning for
everyone. That‟s what the word Catholic means. But now, it‟s split into Anglican and
Roman Catholic, but we still interconnect. We have lovely Roman Catholic pilgrims
to come in here and buy things from us and we‟ve got people to go down there and so
we do interconnect.


Manager: Pilgrimage would be the same for me, when we came down, this was very
Roman for them. And though they were Anglican, they would do everything, but they
didn‟t have a problem with it. Its nice because you can differ in the amount you

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AN221 Dr. Fenella Cannell                                             26/03/2010
Walsingham Field Notes Write-up
Chloe Evans
wanted to do. I‟m an Anglican and I still find it strange to…before I came here I was
Protestant, and I still find it strange to cross myself. It sounds silly, but that‟s just a
little thing with me. I have great devotion to Our Lady, Mary but, but as a Protestant
we won‟t normally have that. But something twigged with me I have devotion for
that, but I still have difficulty with crossing myself. That‟s silly isn‟t it? But it‟s just a
personal thing for me. But I think the great thing about the Anglican shrine is that you
can dip your toes in and out of what you want. And nobody‟s upset if you don‟t do
anything, which is nice. Because sometimes you go to some places and you don‟t do
everything, people are annoyed with you. I think here you can do can do what you
want, and nobody cares. I still can‟t cross myself, it must be something to do with my
Protestant blood. Laughs


Lady: I shouldn‟t think so…


Manager: I‟ sure that it is.


Lady: We have special pilgrimages too, we have a youth pilgrimage, and a youth
pilgrimage, and it‟s wonderful for kids.


They say, that the lady who worked here yesterday, couldn’t walk and now she
can walk?


Manager: Oh M was in…M had a stroke, remember? Pauses She was in a wheel chair
and then crutches, for a while. But I don‟t know what she said on it. But she was
seriously ill, I don‟t know anything, all that I know was that she was seriously ill at
one point. Wasn‟t she?


Lady: We also have working in here as well, one of the sisters from the Priory, she
would have been here yesterday, and you saw her.


The nun comes into the shop, in her early forties, looking quite prim and proper.


Lady: Here she is! Taadaa!



                                        Page 9 of 13
AN221 Dr. Fenella Cannell                                            26/03/2010
Walsingham Field Notes Write-up
Chloe Evans
Nun: Hello, it‟s not nice out there. What can I do you for?


Lady: They‟ve come to quiz us on pilgrimages.


Nun: Jolly good, what is it you would like to know?


Manager: Tell us what you are doing? You‟re writing a paper or something?


Nun: Are you students?


Yes


Nun: Did I see some of you around yesterday? How long are you over here?


We’ll be here until the afternoon.


Nun: So what is it you would like to know?


Just about the pilgrimage experience, what brings people here, what people feel
and what they want to get out of it.


Nun: Can I ask where you have been so far?


We went to the Roman Catholic Shrine, morning mass, mass yesterday evening
at the Anglican shrine. We went to visit the Abbey grounds.


Nun: Pilgrimage, if you think about it is quite a big subject really because, some
people think that pilgrimage might be a single journey for them, but pilgrimage is
something that we start from the day that we are born. So we have the pilgrimage of
life and the geographical pilgrimage. So people tend to come on pilgrimage, it started
a long long time ago when Christians were trying to get back to Poland that was one
of the major pilgrimages in medieval times. And people were trying to get back to
their homeland and travelling was difficult. They decided that places nearer home
were easier to get to, so instead of going one thousands miles we‟ll go a couple of

                                     Page 10 of 13
AN221 Dr. Fenella Cannell                                         26/03/2010
Walsingham Field Notes Write-up
Chloe Evans
hundred miles. People who were sick tended to visit these places to be healed, and
Walsingham was one of these places that sprouted in 1061. And so people came to
these places to be healed.


If you look at the broader sense of the pilgrimage of life, is that all of us, it doesn‟t
matter who we are, where we‟re from, what we do we are on the pilgrimage of life.
And pilgrimage is a journey, you‟ll go through various different phases of life, you
are going through a phase right now. You‟re having a learning curve, shall we say.
Experiencing things in different ways and for some people they could wander through
life quite aimlessly. Um, maybe they are trying to get the best T.V. a big screen, cool
as they may be; it‟s not be all and end all. And people kind of get cocooned in their
own little worlds of what matters to them. “I‟m number one, I‟m the most important”.
But having a wider experience of life, a deeper sense of life a lot of people like
ourselves, I suspect, we realise that there is something bigger than us. There is more
to life than what we see; there is an unseen world as well. It‟s our…we look for
perfection, we look for perfection in ourselves and that‟s a tough call. It‟s easier to
look for perfection in ourselves than it is in other people. But perfection is God, at the
end of the day. And that‟s where a lot of us get our love. From my understanding I
have reached a stage in my life where I have decided that it‟s going to take the rest of
my life to get there. I am not going to be the perfect being. None of us are. Which,
from a Christian point of view we kind of look at it as we know we are going to make
mistakes and all that kind of stuff, but we know that there is a compassionate God
who loves us even though we have done things. Because I do it all the time, trust me,
I might look holy and all that but I‟m just as stupid as the rest of you… I fall over too.
Laughs


But I like to dust myself off, and in a sense currently in Christian time of Lent, season
of Lent, rather, that in itself is a journey from where we have started off, where we
said that we are going to do so many good things, we are going to go on days where
we repent, etc, etc, etc. And yes, it is a good thing. That in itself is a journey. You
feel maybe sort of sad, repentant, dirty, horrible, all those sort of negative things at the
beginning of Lent. And that journey, that pilgrimage through Lent, you get to the time
of Easter where Christ rises from the dead, and the glorious sunshine, beauty, not rain
like this! It won‟t rain in heaven, that‟s an assumption on my part. But, yeah

                                      Page 11 of 13
AN221 Dr. Fenella Cannell                                             26/03/2010
Walsingham Field Notes Write-up
Chloe Evans
pilgrimage is really about journeying, being a journey. And there are various different
starting points. It‟s not just about this moment, it‟s throughout our lives. So, at the end
of the day, whoever we are whatever we are we get embraced by this love. That‟s
what we‟ve got to focus on. That‟s what we‟ve got to focus on. Please God that I‟ll
get there! Any clearer? Any questions?


The Sister here, yesterday was speaking about miracles and healing?


Nun: Miracles…I can‟t say that I have actually seen any miracles in Walsingham. Um
I am aware of people experiencing them. I have spoken to somebody who has been a
result of a miracle and a lady who still comes here. She was involved in a serious
accident and was brain damaged and her family decided that the only thing that was
going to make any difference was prayer. So they literally prayed to Our Lady of
Walsingham and someone came to receive the waters for her, the sprinkling of the
waters, and they offered her name up, they opened their heart and their prayers. And
at the same time as those prayers and the waters being received this lady was healed.
Brain damage gone. There are various, various different stories.


I can say that I have been to another shrine and witnessed a miracle which I dare say
Science will differ in to rationalise. I went to a place in Meteorologia where there are
visionaries who are currently seeing Our Lady and send messages to the world of
„please pray‟ and peace and love for everybody. And one of the things that happened
was that she appears to the visionaries and a lot of people see the spinning, the
miracle of the sun spinning. The sun literally spins, and it sends out beautiful colours.
We see colours of nature and things like that, but these, they are a little bit special,
you can‟t say oh that‟s a pink, black or rose, there‟s something ethereal about it.
Something…just…I‟m going to say heavenly because there is no other way to
describe. And I saw some of that myself. And one of my sisters had seen it before and
told me about it and I thought “I ain‟t ever going to see that!” You know, I didn‟t
disbelieve her, but I thought that “there‟s no way I‟m going to see that!”


But there I was looking directly into the sun without being blinded. I was seeing the
sun spin. Meteorologia has got quite a lot of strong sun, it wasn‟t midday sun, I‟ll give
you that but its powerful sun. We‟re told that “Don‟t look at the sun because you are

                                      Page 12 of 13
AN221 Dr. Fenella Cannell                                         26/03/2010
Walsingham Field Notes Write-up
Chloe Evans
going to go blind!” And ten minutes looking into the sun and I can see you. And I
have been to the opticians and I need reading glasses but I can see. The eye is fine, the
retina is fine. There was a woman sitting next to me and I looked around and she
turned to me and said “Is it me or am I seeing this?” And I replied “No no I think you
are seeing this”. And it was almost like, you know when you stand in sunshine and its
clear light, the sunshine had turned into a rainbow effect. Pinks, blues, mauves, we
were surrounded, its like you know when we say we look through rose coloured
glasses, well without wearing glasses you can see it. And we were bathed…we were
bathed in the light…and it was just…wonderful. And, you know, yes you‟ll probably
get a cynical scientist saying, “Yeah, yeah, yeah, well that was just something to do
with the outer atmosphere…bla bla bla bla…” Fine, O.K. maybe it is so, but
something caused it. And it only happens in Meteorologia, not anywhere else in the
world. O.K….




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