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Pilgrimage visits Audlem last night

20th June 2007 @ 10:10am – by Audlem Webteam
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Regular readers will have seen on Sunday that Audlem was to be on the route of a pilgrimage that started out from Hanbury in Staffordshire on Sunday from St Werburgh Church to Chester Cathedral. The pilgrims would be carrying a casket which was created for the Saint's relics. The 73-mile walk was to pass through Audlem, the overnight stop last night. From Audlem, they will then be walking for a further two days to Chester Cathedral. There is to be a special service in the Cathedral to celebrate the 1,100th anniversary of the dedication of Chester Cathedral to St Werbergh, where she is still Patron Saint of the city.

St Werburgh was born about 650 in Staffordshire, the daughter of Wulfere, King of Mercia, a Kingdom only partially Christian. She founded nunneries at Trentham, Repton, Weedon and Hanbury, being renowned for her sanctity and performing miracles. Her most well known was healing a goose!

The pilgrims, all dressed as medieval monks, were met at the Shroppie Fly by Helen Chantry, vicar of St James' and Richard Furber, chairman of the Parish Council, and welcomed to the first parish in the Diocese of Chester that they would pass through. Indeed, Helen Chantry was to hold a short service this morning in St James' for the pilgrims before they headed north. They stayed overnight at the Bennions' farm on Cheshire Street.

The monks are David Pickering, or for the five days of the walk, Cedric the Conversus; Peter Overmeer, or Oblatus; Duncan (Evans) the Deacon and Master of the Feratory; Richard Hoffman (the Victualler) and Roy Willis, the Comino or Way of St James. Richard Furber was particularly pleased and surprised to meet up with Roy – they are cousins. For the curious, by the way, a Feratory is a shrine for a Saint's relics – the monks were carrying a four posted feretory on the walk.

On their arrival in Chester on Thursday, they are to be met by a Roman guard – we are not quite sure how that fits in historically but it should look good – and a Viking. St Werbergh's body was moved originally from Hanbury to Chester because of the Viking invasions. The Lord Mayor will also greet them, as will 200 schoolchildren and they will walk through Chester in procession before the relics are handed over to the Dean of the Cathedral. They, the relics that is, not the monks, will then rest in the Lady Chapel of St Werbergh.

The monks, after 73 miles walking, will doubtless also rest up hopefully, as at the Shroppie Fly, with a well-earned pint. They will certainly deserve it.

This article is from our news archive. As a result pictures or videos originally associated with it may have been removed and some of the content may no longer be accurate or relevant.

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