On the 17th May 2013, at 7:00 am, two coaches set off with 96 bleary eyed children on board. The destination: Walsingham. After an arduous three hour journey packed full of excitement (and sickness for a few) we finally arrived at the Anglican Shrine of Walsingham.
After a stroll through the lush, silent and serene gardens we were split into three groups with our warm hosts ready to lead the way. First we visited the holy house, where we sat in silence and looked at the statue of Mary and Jesus, to which the shrine was dedicated to. Students described this event as “Calming, peaceful and relaxing.” Next we went outside and viewed the Stations of the Cross dotted around the path telling the story of Easter which, according to our guide, inspires pilgrims to carry on no matter how much they hurt. We then stopped for a well deserved lunch.
Once we finished our guides took us on a short walk to visit the original holy house built in Saxon times in 1061! Despite being destroyed in 1538 during the dissolution of the monasteries the towering east window (where the alter would’ve been situated) still remains standing today. We also visited the friars bath and the two holy wells. We then returned to the shrine and had a service in the holy church. This service named “the sprinkling” took us to the holy well where we drunk some holy water, had the cross made on our foreheads and had the water poured over our hands. We then thanked our lovely tour guides and said goodbye to this shrine.
We then went into the town of Walsingham and were allowed to visit the shops. I have to admit, the man in the paper shop must have had a heart attack when he saw the amount of children lining up to get sweets! After this we took a one mile pilgrimage route to another shrine just outside Walsingham. Here we saw a service take place and learnt about its significance in a day in the shrine. Time seemed to pass in the blink of an eye for this was the end of our day!
I believe all the pupils thoroughly enjoyed the day and on behalf of the school I thank the generous people at Walsingham for making our day so enjoyable.