Norwich Cathedral has stood for more than 900 years as a Christian presence in the heart of Norfolk, England. It serves the Church of England Diocese of Norwich, covering most of Norfolk and part of Suffolk. It is one of the most complete Romanesque churches in Europe.
Founded in 1096 by Bishop Herbert de Losinga, it was a priory of Benedictine monks until the dissolution of the English monasteries in 1538. Although there are no longer any monks, the ethos of this tradition is a continuing influence on Cathedral life.
In the early Middle Ages, East Anglia was the most densely populated and wealthiest region of England and until the 18th century the city of Norwich was second only to London. Much of that wealth is evident in the city's 35 remaining mediaeval parish churches and in the more than 600 mediaeval parish churches in Norfolk.
Norfolk has been a popular pilgrimage destination since 1061 when Lady Richeldis de Faverches of Walsingham had a vision in which the
The Church of England
Blessed Virgin Mary instructed her to build a replica of the Holy House of Nazareth. The Shrine of Our Lady of Walsingham attracted pilgrims from all over Europe, but it was destroyed and its cult suppressed in 1538.
Since the Shrine was restored by both Roman Catholics and Anglicans in the 20th century, Walsingham has recovered its pre-eminence, being voted in 2003 as Britain’s ‘favourite spiritual place’.
In 2013, Norwich joined the Green Pilgrimage Network, launched at Assisi, Italy in 2011, and is also a member of the new European Green Pilgrimage Network.
Reviving pilgrimage in East Anglia
Norwich Cathedral, as a member of both the Green Pilgrimage Network and the European Green Pilgrimage Network, is committed to recovering the traditions and practice of pilgrimage in East Anglia and to encouraging sustainable spiritual tourism.
Edith Cavell Trail
Its first pilgrimage trail honours the heroism and Christian witness of Edith Cavell, a pioneering nurse moved by her faith to work in service to others. She was executed in Belgium in 1915 for sheltering well over 200 soldiers from the German occupying forces
The Walsingham Trail
Norwich Cathedral is working to renew walking pilgrimage to Walsingham, together with Norfolk County Council, the Anglican and Roman Catholic shrines, the Roman Catholic Cathedral of St John the Baptist, and local parishes, landowners and businesses.
Norwich's first pilgrimage trail honours the heroism and Christian witness of Edith Cavell, a pioneering nurse executed in Belgium in 1915. Born in Swardeston near Norwich in 1865, Edith Cavell left Norfolk and trained as a nurse from 1895.
She directed the first professional school of nursing in Belgium in 1907 and, after the outbreak of World War I, nursed soldiers from both sides of the conflict. For nine months she worked with the Belgian and French resistance to shelter well over 200 soldiers from the German occupying forces, helping them escape to neutral Holland.
She was betrayed and arrested, before being executed at 7am on Tuesday October 12, 1915. Her last words were: 'Standing as I do in view of God and eternity, I realise that patriotism is not enough. I must have no hatred or bitterness for anyone.'
Edith Cavell was reburied at the Cathedral in 1919. A walking/cycle route has been designed between Swardeston and the Cathedral, which includes significant locations Edith would have known in her early life, as well as her final resting place.
Norwich Cathedral is also working to renew walking pilgrimage to Walsingham, in partnership with Norfolk County Council, the Anglican and Roman Catholic shrines, the Roman Catholic Cathedral of St John the Baptist, and local parishes, landowners and businesses.
The Walsingham shrine is about 30 miles from Norwich and receives an estimated 100,000 pilgrims every year. The aims of the Walsingham Way project are to:
The European Inter-regional funding award means we will be able to work with European pilgrim places and regions, particularly in Scandinavia, to learn from best practice.
This includes, for example, best practice in route creation, maintenance, signposting, the generation of local jobs and income, and digital innovation.