Thinking Anglicans

Little Gidding Pilgrimage

Saturday 19 May

For nearly 400 years pilgrims have been drawn to Little Gidding in the north of the diocese of Ely, ever since the saintly Nicholas Ferrar and his family lived there in the early seventeenth century.

You are warmly invited to join the annual Pilgrimage to Little Gidding
commemorating the life and example of Nicholas Ferrar.

This year’s pilgrimage is led by Stephen Conway, Bishop of Ely and President of the Friends of Little Gidding.

Join the celebration of Holy Communion in Leighton Bromswold Church
whose restoration was funded by George Herbert and directed by the Ferrars

Share lunch with fellow pilgrims

Enjoy the gentle walk through the Huntingdonshire countryside
from Leighton Bromswold to Little Gidding
(about five miles along the country roads, with three short stations for prayer and rest)

Gather round the tomb of Nicholas Ferrar for prayer

Sing Evening Prayer at Little Gidding ‘where prayer has been valid’
(preacher: Bishop Stephen; choir: the Hurstingstone Singers)

Delight in Tea and conversation at Ferrar House

For more details see or see below the fold.

Timetable for the day

10.30am: Holy Communion at Leighton Bromswold Church
12 noon: Pilgrims’ Lunch
1pm: First Station at the Hundred Stone at Leighton Bromswold, and start of Pilgrimage Walk
2pm (approx): Second Station at Salome Wood
2.45pm (approx): Third Station at Hamerton (refreshments and toilets available)
3.45pm (approx): Fourth Station at Steeple Gidding Church
4.15pm: Fifth Station — Prayers at the Tomb of Nicholas Ferrar at Little Gidding
followed by Pilgrimage Evensong and Tea

What is the Pilgrimage about?

Born in London in 1592, Nicholas Ferrar gave up a life in commerce and politics to move to Little Gidding, with his mother and his brother and sister and their families, establishing a life of prayer and charitable works. Ordained deacon, he was the leader of the household, foremost in the life of prayer, study, and work, setting an example of devotion and spiritual life to the English Church that has stood as a beacon to those who have followed. Nicholas died on 4 December 1637, and his devout life and example have consecrated Little Gidding as a holy place to this day. Our pilgrimage to his grave not only honours his memory and devotion, but also binds us into that same story.

The Pilgrimage is also an occasion for companionship and discussion, reflection and prayer, exercise and enjoyment of the countryside.

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Father Ron Smith
12 years ago

Ah! Little Gidding brings back a nostalgia for the reformed and catholic heritage of the Church of England. Let’s hope it never becomes as troubled by conservative division as the Anglican Shrine of Our Blessed Lady at Walsingham – where a woman may not preside at the Eucharist, even though the Shrine was erected for devotion to the Woman who gave Christ His human nature in the Godhead.

Simon Kershaw
12 years ago

Ron: The group of parishes of which Little Gidding forms part currently has a woman as its incumbent, and women have been incumbents there for almost all of the last dozen or so years.

Simon K (Chair of the Friends of Little Gidding, and organizer of the Pilgrimage)

Father Ron Smith
12 years ago

Thank you, Simon, for your re-assurance that the Anglo-Catholic scene has some of us, in England, who have moved on from a defective understanding of what it means to be fully, and comprehensively, human.

Jesus mercy; Mary pray.

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