Anglican Shrine church, Little Walsingham, Norfolk
One of the more obscure and exotic backwaters of the Church of England is the Anglican shrine of Our Lady of Walsingham, set in remote north Norfolk. It was created in 1931 by the Anglican Vicar of Walsingham, Alfred Hope Patten, at a time when the Anglo-catholic enthusiasm of the church of England was in full flood. Today, the tide has receded, and the Anglo-catholic movement is somewhat beleagured. Now, most of the hundreds of visitors to the village are either tourists or Catholics - the Catholic National Shrine of Our lady is a mile or so off. But still this intriguing building remains, serving a diminishing but devout band of pilgrims.
The heart of the church is the Holy House, devised by Hope Pattern from the Legend of Richeldis, whose dream of the Holy House in Nazareth had led to the building of the great Abbey of Walsingham in the 12th century. The Abbey was destroyed by the British Crown at the Reformation, and the ruins survive just to the south of the shrine.
The building has been greatly extended several times since, creating a delightfully labyrinthine church on two levels. Beside the church are the shrine gardens, a pleasant place to wander.