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In 2012 I took a pilgrimage to Walsingham, in Norfolk, England also called Little Nazareth. In medieval times it was the second most visited shrine in England, second only to Canterbury, the Mother Church and site of the slaying of Saint Thomas Beckett at the high altar on 29 Dec 1170. [I was born, grew up, married, farmed and had my 5 children in Norfolk, although I have now lived in my beloved Highlands of Scotland with my husband for the best part of 13 years.] I spent a wonderful peaceful few days there and I shall post more photographs of that shortly. But this one photograph for me sums up Walsingham and my memories of it
. One image is worth more than a thousand words. This lady, was kneeling at the site of the original medieval shrine attached originally to the now ruined Augustine Abbey, for about an hour, praying, and being. It was a profound and strangely intimate moment in time….It is here at this very spot that Kings and Queens came to kneel in prayer and petition at Walsingham, and where Katherine of Aragon fled to plead to the Virgin Mary for a son nearly 500 years ago, whilst Henry V111, her husband was wooing Anne Boleyn and the wheel of destiny of a Queen and her nations co-joined fate was already turning inexorably. In these moments of observing her deep in prayer, I was strangely drawn in to her absolute stillness and deep reflection and felt the fragile cobweb of time slip…so although this is not a remarkable photograph from a photographers point of view…it is one of my all time favourites because of what it captured and suggested. It is the image I always think of when I remember Walsingham. And that makes it remarkable in my eyes.
Incidentally, Katherine died in 1536, she was dearly loved by the English people who always considered her their Queen despite Henry V111 putting her aside and declaring their marriage invalid. She was buried at Peterborough Cathedral. Each year on the date of her death, a bouquet of flowers is laid on her shrine…nobody knows by whom…or from whence they come.