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Why do pilgrims stop off at historic chapel on their way to Walsingham?

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Pilgrims are due to arrive at a historic chapel which was originally a meeting place for worshippers across Europe travelling to Walsingham.A total of 50 pilgrims are expected to reach Lynn’s Red Mount Chapel – located in The Walks – on Wednesday, March 27.The newly reformed Friends of the Walks group has been busy preparing for their arrival, with pilgrims expected to be welcomed by West Norfolk mayor Cllr Margaret Wilkinson.

The Red Mount in The Walks

Each year, the pilgrims stop off at the Red Mount on their way to Walsingham, which they reach on Good Friday (March 29).It is part of the seven-day walk the worshippers embark on each year at Easter.Two groups of 25 pilgrims will be arriving in Lynn and will be welcomed by the Friends of the Walks with refreshments.Author Edith Reeves explained the history behind pilgrims passing through Lynn on the way to Walsingham.Ms Reeves said: “In 1062, Rachell de Feveres (the young widow of the Lord of the Manor at Walsingham) was taken ‘in mind’ to the house in the village of Nazareth where the Angel Gabriel had told Mary that, although she was a virgin, she would give birth to a son – the long-awaited Messiah.“Rachell was so moved by the vision that she decided to build a shrine in Walsingham to commemorate it. Pilgrims soon began to worship there, arriving by boat, horse, wagon and on foot. The shrine became the second most famous one in England, second only to Canterbury.”It was explained that during the mid 1300s when the Black Death came to Europe, labour shortages followed across the country.Cities and towns throughout Europe soon began looking at ways to try and get trade and business back to normal. In Lynn, the secular and religious leaders had their own plans.A chapel was built with the hope of it becoming a stopping place for pilgrims on their way to Walsingham, this chapel was the Red Mount which was built in 1485.“For 50 years, it fulfilled this plan and pilgrims benefited the town by their visits. However, the soon-to-follow Reformation ended these years of pilgrimage,” Ms Reeves said.It was King Henry VIII who banned pilgrimages from taking place in 1535.Ms Reeves added: “There is little doubt that pilgrims continued to make covert visits to both Walsingham and Lynn, but it was no longer the major cultural and religious enterprise that it had long been.“However, pilgrims do continue to make their pilgrimages and to make their devotions at the shrines. On March 27 we will be welcoming pilgrims to the Red Mount who have walked from Leicester and Nottingham and are en-route to make their devotions at Walsingham.”Ms Reeves said she was sharing some of the history of the Red Mount in memory of Eddie Barber, Jean Tuck, John Loveless and John Marston who were all members of the original Friends of the Walks and volunteered at the Red Mount Chapel.

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