Saturday, 21 November 2009

Pilgrimage 2010

If you would like your Pilgrimage included here please mail the details to me at:

28th May to 31st May St Martin-in-the-Fields, London to Canterbury.

Saturday 3rd July 2010 The Bradwell Pilgrimage

23rd to 25th July 2010. Rochester to Canterbury ( Society of St Pius X)

For day walks in the countryside around London, usually on Sundays, see the St Francis of Assisi Catholic Ramblers Club

Thomas Becket & Henry II


Henry is said to have raised his head from his sickbed and roared a lament of frustration. The King's exact words are in doubt, and several versions have been reported. The most commonly quoted, as handed down by "oral tradition", is "Will no one rid me of this turbulent priest?". However, historian Simon Schama accepts the account of the contemporary biographer Edward Grim, writing in Latin, who gives us "What miserable drones and traitors have I nourished and brought up in my household, who let their lord be treated with such shameful contempt by a low-born cleric?" Many variations have found their way into popular culture.

Whatever the King said, it was interpreted as a royal command, and four knights, Reginald FitzUrse, Hugh de Moreville, William de Tracy, and Richard le Breton, set out to confront the Archbishop of Canterbury. On 29 December 1170 they arrived at Canterbury. According to accounts left by the monk Gervase of Canterbury and eyewitness Edward Grim, they placed their weapons under a sycamore tree outside the cathedral and hid their mail armour under cloaks before entering to challenge Becket. The knights informed Becket he was to go to Winchester to give an account of his actions, but Becket refused. It was not until Becket refused their demands to submit to the king's will that they retrieved their weapons and rushed back inside for the killing.

Henry II, called Curtmantle (5 March 1133 – 6 July 1189) ruled as King of England (1154–1189).

Pilgrimage to Canterbury

The Winchester Route to Canterbury


Winchester, the ancient capital of England

To Winchester Cathedral, with it's famous shrine of St Swithun, who was the the companion and tutor of King Alfred the Great. It was the longest Cathedral in Europe. Also into Winchester came pilgrim s from the West Country. The route from Winchester would have passed through Alresford, and on to Farnham. Many pilgrims would have rested at Waverley Abbey, the oldest Cistercian abbey in England, having been founded in 1128,some three miles to the south east of Farnham. It's ruins remain among the meadows by the river. Pilgrims would then cross the River Wey. On their way to Farnham some pil....

At Farnham .... // North Downs Way begins

Farnham to Guildford (10 miles)

Guildford to Gomshall (8 miles)

Gomshall to Westhumble (7 miles)

Westhumble to Merstham (10 miles)

Buckland, just before Reigate. Merstham: north of Nutfield (and Redhill).

Merstham to Oxted (8 miles)

Bletchingly The White Hart (In existence by 1388).

Oxted to Otford (12 miles)

Oxted The Crown, The Old Bell, / Limpsfield and at last into Kent; Chevening, Otford.

Otford to Wrotham (8 miles)

Kemsing. Wrotham (pilgrims crosses cut in the stonework under the church tower.

Wrotham to Cuxton (9 miles)

After Wrotham: (1) some N as far as Cuxton; OR: (2) N but cross the Medway at Snodland, and SE to Boxley; OR (3) to St Mary's Abbey at West Malling, then fording or bridging the river at Aylesford, and on to the Carmelite priory there; OR (4) to stay at the Inns of Maidstone, three miles to the south east. Here in 1261 Archbishop Boniface built a hospital on the banks of the river for pilgrims to Canterbury.

Cuxton to Boxley (10 miles)

Boxley to Hollingbourne (7 miles)

Snodland to Boxley: Boxley Abbey Cistercian house The Holy Rood of Grace, it's name taken from it's crucifix. / Thurnam. / A small priory at Hollingbourne.

Hollingbourne to Charing (8 miles)

Charing to Wye (7 miles)
Charing to Canterbury: 16m Pilgrims turn NE towards the line of the river Stour. Chilham.

Wye to Canterbury (14 miles)

Harbledown: meets the London road

The London Route to Canterbury

Pilgrims for the Midlands, the North and East Anglia, and those from London, would cross London Bridge to Southwark. Chaucer's pilgrims began their journey at the Tabard Inn at Southwark. Pilgims followed the Roman Watling Street to Canterbury. The distance of some fifty four miles seemed to have taken three to four days. They followed the route that would have been taken by Becket from London to Canterbury on his last journey.

Chaucer mentions Deptford, Greenwich, Rochester and Sittingbourne. The first night would probably have been spent at Dartford. Pilgrims would then ford the River Darent, and continue until they crosed the wooden bridge spanning the Medway into Rochester. Most pilgrims would spend their second night in or near Rochester. Inns included the Crown (the oldest), and later the Bull and the King's Head. Pilgrims probably changed horses at Rochester. A well established system of horse hiring existed. Eight miles beyond Rochester is Newington where st Thomas confirmed some children shortly before his death.

Five miles beyond Sittingbourne, where Henry V refreshed himself at the Red Lion on the way home from Agincourt, and where Chaucer's pilgrims halted, is Ospringe, with it's celebrated Maison Dieu, which gave hospitality to wayfarers. Here Henry II stayed. In the adjacent town of Faversham pilgrims could see a piece of the True Cross at the Cluniac Abbey, which contained the bones of it's founder King Stephen and his wife Matilda.

At Boughton under Blee (now Boughton Street) the Canon's servant joined Chaucer's pilgrims. Then they ascended the hills of the forest of Blean. The road passes through Upper Harbledown, descends to a valley and climbs again to the village described by Chaucer as "Bob-up-and-down" or Harbledown. It was here that Henry II made his gift to the almshouses, and dismounted to walk into Canterbury. From the eastern brow of the hill the pilgrims could see Canterbury and the Cathedral. They would go down the road, crossing the Stour, and into the city through the West Gate, half a mile beyond St Dunstan's Church.

Friday, 20 November 2009

Pilgrimage Routes to Canterbury

Pilgrims began to make pilgrimage to Canterbury within days of the murder of the Lord Archbishop Thomas Becket in Canterbury Cathedral in December 1170. Accounts of miraculous cures began just two days after the murder.

Henry II (the King on whose behalf Becket was murdered) himself made pilgrimage to Canterbury. Returning from Normandy to Southampton, he rode the Pilgrim's road from Winchester, the ancient capital of England. At Harbledown, just outside of Canterbury, where the Winchester road joined the London road, he made a gift to the Harbledown Almshouses, which was still paid by the Crown even into the twentieth century. Once in sight of the Cathedral Henry dismounted, put on a hair shirt, and walked barefoot in the rain to the Cathedral.

There are two principal pilgrim routes to Canterbury. The first from London is along the Roman Watling Street, now the A2. The other is from Winchester, then Farnham, closely following an ancient trading route, what is now called the North Downs Way. This was the route taken by King Henry II.

The London route take the way of Thomas Becket's last journey. After a sermon to the Augustinian foundation at St Mary's Priory at Southwark (Now Southwark Cathedral) on 23 December 1170, he left for Canterbury along Watling Street. He was murdered in the Cathedral of Canterbury on 29 December 1170.

Philippa Roet

Philippa Roet (c 1346 - c 1387) - also known as Philippa Pan or Philippa Chaucer - was the sister of Katherine Swynford and the wife of Geoffrey Chaucer.

Philippa was the daughter of Sir Gilles de Roet, who was a knight of Hainault and accompanied Queen Philippa to England. There is no history of her mother, but it is thought that Philippa had two sisters and a brother: Katherine, Elizabeth, and Walter. Her father went to serve the queen’s sister, Marguerite, who was the empress of Germany and the four children were left in the care of Queen Philippa.

It was her father’s relationship with royalty that gave Philippa and her family high status and a reputation among the upper class, who took Philippa in as a ‘domicella,’ or lady-in-waiting. She began in the households of Elizabeth of Ulster and Queen Philippa, and ended with Costanza of Castile. These associations proved to be valuable, as Philippa began to receive annuities from Edward III, Richard II, and John of Gaunt, Costanza’s husband.

Philippa is believed to have picked up the nickname “Philippa Pan” while working at Elizabeth of Ulster’s household. There are records from 1357-1359 from the house of Elizabeth of Ulster which mention “a lady designated as Philippa Pan”.[7] “Pan” may have been abbreviated for the word “Panetaria,” meaning mistress of the pantry, which is most likely where Philippa worked in the Ulster household. The name might also come from her father, who sometimes went by ‘Paon’ or Payne.

Geoffrey Chaucer was commissioned to work as a page in Elizabeth’s household in 1357, where Philippa was already working as a domicella. This is where they are believed to have met After Elizabeth’s death, both were sent to work for the queen, caring for her infant daughter, Philippa of Eltham. Philippa was around 10 years old at the time and Chaucer was said to be around 12. Their marriage might have been arranged by Queen Philippa herself in September 1366. It was apparently tradition for domicellas and esquires who worked in the same household to marry.

Once married, although granddaughter Philippa of Eltham was grown, it was decided they would continue working for her and the king.[14] As a result of this marriage, Queen Philippa and King Edward III granted lifetime of annuity to the couple in 1366. This payment allowed the Chaucers to set up a household within the royal one. Chaucer was then taken into the King’s household in 1367. These salaries gave the Chaucers great financial security and a good lifestyle. After the death of the queen, Philippa went to the service of Costanza of Castile and John of Gaunt, the Duke of Lancaster. Following Costanza’s death in 1394, John wed his mistress, Katherine, who was also Philippa’s sister. His connection with two prestigious families significantly increased the Chaucers’ status in society. Due to the varying nature of their jobs, Chaucer and Philippa were often forced to spend much of their time apart. Great consideration has been given to the possibility that the difficulties in the Chaucer’s marriage were mirrored in Chaucer’s Franklin’s Tale, which shows how a strategic marriage might be experienced. This possibly reveals how his marriage to Philippa helped Chaucer improve his social status since.

It is probable that Chaucer and Philippa had “two sons and two daughters,” whose birthdates are unknown. It is speculated that “one or two” of these children were actually fathered by John of Gaunt. This is likely, as Philippa and Chaucer both spent a great deal of time in the Gaunt household.

Elizabeth is thought to be the oldest of their children, but her parentage is still open to debate. Her birth prompted King Edward to give the Chaucers another annuity. She may have been a nun in Barking Abbey; there are records of an “Elizabeth Chausier” and her nickname being “Chaucy” which leads historians to believe that she was their daughter. It is also thought that she was named after Elizabeth of Ulster.

Thomas, the eldest son and most well known, might have been born around 1367 judging from the dates he entered the military; it is suggested that he was the son of John of Gaunt, whom he served under and received favors from. A strong relationship with Philippa is also suggested due to the fact that Thomas chose to bear her coat of arms over Chaucer’s. However, this could be due to the prestigious title of her family; it is recorded that in 1409, Thomas then chose to bear Chaucer’s coat of arms.He died in 1434.

Very little is known of Lewis and Agnes, the second son and youngest daughter. However, it is recorded that Lewis was born in 1381 and sent to the school at Oxford at age 10; Agnes, who is believed to be his second daughter, was a lady-in-waiting at Henry IV's coronation in 1399.

Although there is no true evidence, Philippa is thought to have died in 1387, due to her last recorded pension being on 18 June 1387. This is evidenced by Chaucer’s last recorded overseas journey, which was in the same year. It is also suggested that he may have fallen out of favor with the court following her presumed death.