“Our Lady of Walsingham is a title of the Blessed Virgin Mary venerated by Roman Catholics, Western Rite Orthodox Christians, and some Anglicans associated with the Marian apparitions to Richeldis de Faverches, a pious English noblewoman, in 1061 in the village of Walsingham in Norfolk, England. Lady Richeldis had a structure built named “The Holy House” in Walsingham which later became a shrine and place of pilgrimage.
The suppression of the monasteries was part of the English Reformation. On the pretext of discovering any irregularities in their life, Thomas Cromwell organised a series of visitations, the results of which led to the suppression of smaller foundations (which did not include Walsingham) in 1536. Six years earlier the prior, Richard Vowell, had signed their acceptance of the king’s supremacy, but it did not save them. Cromwell’s actions were politically motivated, but the canons, who had a number of houses in Norfolk, were not noted for their piety or good order. The prior was evidently compliant but not all of the community felt likewise.
“In 1537, two lay choristers organised “the most serious plot hatched anywhere south of the Trent”, intended to resist what they feared, rightly as it turned out, would happen to their foundation. Eleven men were executed as a result. The sub-prior, Nicholas Milcham, was charged with conspiring to rebel against the suppression of the lesser monasteries, and on flimsy evidence was convicted of high treason and hanged outside the priory walls.
“The suppression of the Walsingham priory came late in 1538, under the supervision of Sir Roger Townshend, a local landowner. Walsingham was famous and its fall symbolic.
“The priory buildings were looted and largely destroyed, but the memory of it was less easy to eradicate. Sir Roger wrote to Cromwell in 1564 that a woman of nearby Wells (now called Wells-Next-The-Sea) had declared that a miracle had been done by the statue after it had been carried away to London. He had the woman put in the stocks on market day to be abused by the village folk but concluded “I cannot perceyve but the seyd image is not yett out of the sum of ther heddes.”
“The site of the priory with the churchyard and gardens was granted by the Crown to Thomas Sydney. All that remained of it was the gatehouse, the chancel arch and a few outbuildings. The Elizabethan ballad, “A Lament for Walsingham”, expresses something of what the Norfolk people felt at the loss of their shrine of Our Lady of Walsingham.
Fate of the statue
“John Hussey wrote to Lord Lisle in 1538: “July 18th: This day our late Lady of Walsingham was brought to Lambhithe (Lambeth) where was both my Lord Chancellor and my Lord Privy Seal, with many virtuous prelates, but there was offered neither oblation nor candle : what shall become of her is not determined.” The image is said to have been burned with images from other shrines at some point, publicly, in London.  Two chroniclers, Hall and Speed, suggest that the actual burning did not take place until September.
“Although Hussey claimed to have witnessed the removal of the image (statue) of Our Lady of Walsingham to London, there is no extant eyewitness account of its destruction. Whilst there are claims that the image was destroyed, these do not agree on the location or date of destruction. There have been persistent suggestions that the image may in fact have been rescued and hidden by parties loyal to the tradition of veneration. On 23 December 1925 a medieval madonna and child statue, named the Langham Madonna, was purchased by the Victoria and Albert Museum. As early as 1931 the leading anglo-papalist clergyman Henry Joy Fynes-Clinton suggested that the Langham Madonna could be the original image from Walsingham.
“The remaining parts (it is incomplete) bear a striking resemblance to the image’s depiction on the medieval Walsingham Priory seal. In 2019 English art historians Michael Rear and Francis Young, having studied the provenance, form, and damage to the Langham Madonna, published their conclusions (originally through the Catholic Herald) that it is actually the original statue of Our Lady of Walsingham. — Wikipedia
Mgr John Armitage Shares the History of Walsingham… here
Beyond nostalgia Heb. 13:8