Compiled by the Revd Donald Hole. Hardback cover. Contains Compiler's
Preface dated June 1939, 10 chapters, 3 appendices, 30 photographs, 3
plans. Indexed; advertisements.
“The Compiler of these records (he can hardly call himself the ‘author’), lays
claim to no original research. His task has been the comparatively simple
one of making selection from the printed matter supplied to him, and
weaving it into a consecutive narrative. ... The revival of the Cult of Our Lady
of Walsingham, and the restoration of her Shrine in recent times, is
chronicled in the Quarterly Paper ... "Our Lady's Mirror". In weaving the
matter thus supplied to him, into a narrative form, the present writer has
endeavoured to co-ordinate it with the history of the Church of England, past
and present, and to exhibit the remarkable parallels which seem thereby to
be suggested.” D.H.
1948 : second edition
Revised by Fr Patten after Fr Donald Hole's death. Cardback cover. Contains
the original Preface by Fr Donald Hole, with a second Preface [by Fr Patten].
The same text, with an extra Appendix describing more recent developments
at the Shrine. 8 more photographs. Indexed; no advertisements.
“The death of the distinguished author of this book in 1947 has been a very
great loss, for Father Donald Hole was a devoted client of Our Lady of
Walsingham, ever ready to wield his pen in her cause and that of the Church
of her Divine Son. The devotion to the Holy Mother of God which has
developed so considerably since this little book was first published owes
much to him. Still looked at with doubt by officialdom, its influence is
spreading and has a place in the religion of an ever-increasing number of
Anglicans at home and abroad.”
1959: regarded by the publishers as a first edition [in reality the third]
Very heavily revised by Fr Colin Stephenson. Fr Donald Hole's original
Preface is reproduced, with a Reviser's Preface by Fr Stephenson, dated
1958. Foreword by John Betjeman. 8 chapters, 3 appendices, 15
photographs, 3 plans. Not indexed; no advertisements.
“So much has happened since Fr Hole's book was published in 1939 that I
have had to revise and rewrite a good deal, but it remains substantially as
he devised it. Such work as I have done has been a labour of love and is
offered as a tribute to Fr Patten, to whose inspiration I and many others owe
a great debt. There are also many others who have helped Fr Patten in the
restoration of the Shrine and in the work which has been done and only a
few of them are mentioned here by name, but I am sure that those who are
not mentioned will not mind letting the main light rest on him who more
than any other restored us to England's Nazareth.” C.S.
1969: again regarded as a first edition [in reality the fourth edition]
So heavily revised again, by Fr Colin Stephenson, that he declined to put his
or Fr Hole's name on it, although it is still very much a version of the
previous books. Preface by Fr Stephenson. Foreword by Bishop Mervyn
Stockwood. 8 chapters, 3 appendices, 15 photographs (some new), 3 plans.
“On the day he died Fr Patten told me he wished me to revise [this book],
but I was forced to do it in something of a hurry and without his advice,
which would have been invaluable. I very much altered the shape of the
book and put the essay on devotion to Our Lady and the rather controversial
matter about the site of the original Holy House as appendixes ... and I
added a chapter to bring things more or less up to date. The original edition
had a profusion of illustrations, but that had become impossible to reproduce
for economic reasons, so that I was forced to limit their number to four
pages. ... A lot has happened in the last ten years so that I have re-written
the last chapter and many of the photographs are now out of date and have
been replaced.” C.S.
1974: a second edition of the above [in reality the fifth edition], with only
slight revisions, by Fr Alan Carefull, in order to bring it up to date. Preface by
Fr Carefull. Same Foreword by Bishop Mervyn Stockwood, and the same
pattern of contents. Not indexed.
“This book began its career in 1939 when it was written by Father Donald
Hole. It was extensively revised by Father Colin Stephenson soon after he
became Administrator and again in 1969. In the preface to the last edition
he wrote, "It has needed so much revision to bring it up to date, that I think
it better that neither Donald Hole's nor my own name should appear." Now in
1974 another edition is called for. This time the revisions are few. They
consist mostly of insertions to bring the Walsingham story up to date. This is
in no sense, therefore, a new book but it remains the most comprehensive
account available of England's Nazareth.” Alan Carefull.
1978: another edition of the above [in reality the sixth edition], with even
fewer revisions, by Fr Alan Carefull; these seem to be confined to the
chapter on 'Walsingham Today'. Same Foreword by Bishop Mervyn
Stockwood, and the same pattern of contents. Not indexed.
Fr Carefull's Preface is exactly the same [as in previous paragraph], except
for the substitution of '1978' for '1974'.
1985: described as the third edition [in reality the seventh edition]
Another edition of the above, now with a different cover. Perhaps surprisingly
the cover image is that of Notre Dame de Paris, rather than of Our Lady of
Walsingham, but this image stood on the west end gable of the Shrine
Church from 1931 to 1966. The book is essentially the same as before, with
revisions by Fr Christopher Colven, confined to the chapter on 'Walsingham
Today'. Preface by Fr Colven. Foreword by Bishop Eric Kemp; the same
pattern of contents, but unfortunately the list of illustrations from the 1978
book has been printed here, and does not correlate with the new set of
photographs (now 13, not 15) in this book. Not indexed.
'"England's Nazareth" is very much a period piece! It was originally written
by Fr Donald Hole in 1939, but such has been the pace of change that it has
needed revision in 1960 and 1969 by Fr Colin Stephenson, and in 1978 by Fr
Alan Carefull. Now in 1985, it falls to me to bring the story up to date, but in
so doing I hope that none of the charm of Fr Hole's original work has been
lost. ... I would like to place on record the Shrine's debt to Fr Colin Gill who
died in July, 1983 and to offer this revision in his memory.”’ Christopher
1990: described as the fourth edition [in reality the eighth edition]
Another edition of the above, and the last. This is a straight re-issue of the
previous volume, with no changes, not even a corrected list of illustrations.
Only the paler shade on the cover of the 1990 edition can distinguish them.
A History of the Holy Shrine of Our Lady of Walsingham
1939 : 1948 : 1959 : 1969 : 1974 : 1978 : 1985 : 1990
the first and third editions were called England's Nazareth:
all the rest are entitled Walsingham England's Nazareth
Until 1970 this book, despite its many revisions, was the only straight narrative of Fr Patten’s Restoration
of the Shrine. There are earlier chapters on the medieval history, but as he writes in his Preface, Fr Donald
Hole made no claim to serious historical research. Nevertheless, this was the readable book for every
pilgrim, supported by more photographs than had ever before been publicly available. It had a serious
printing error in one chapter, giving the date of the Restoration of the Shrine in the Guilds Chapel as 6 July
1921 instead of 1922, which was never corrected in subsequent editions and was occasionally
The priest and academic John Dickinson’s The Shrine of Our Lady of Walsingham (1956; reprinted 2011) is
a scholarly account of the medieval history of the Shrine as known at that time, still of immense value in
its detail. In 1970 Fr Colin Stephenson published his Walsingham Way, professing “no pretensions to
scholarship”, but producing a highly entertaining introduction to the Shrine’s history. In 2011 Michael Rear
published his comprehensive survey of the whole history of Walsingham and the Shrine from the earliest
times to the present day, and his 2019 second edition contains even more new material. With all these
books, and Michael Yelton’s 2006 (revised 2022) biography of Fr Patten with its detailed history of his
Restoration, we are well served.
by Fr Donald Hole