Treading the Pilgrim Path to Padley

Pilgrims from as far away as Loughborough and Oughtibridge gathered at  Grindleford Station process to Padley Chapel on 9 July for the annual Hallam and Nottingham Inter-diocesan pilgrimage in honour of our local martyrs Blessed Robert Ludlam and Nicholas Garlick. It was a beautiful day to be in the Peak District for a joyful celebration of Mass in the chapel grounds and in spite of threats the rain held off until the pilgrimage was over.

with thanks to Michael Galvin

Bishop Ralph presided over the Mass together with priests from both dioceses. During the homily, Bishop Patrick McKinney of Nottingham shared with pilgrims some of the story of the two heroic local priest martyrs who in July 1588 were discovered and captured whilst staying overnight at Padley Manor. The Fiztherrbert Family who owned the hall, together with the two priests, were arrested and taken to Derby. Two weeks later Blessed Nichols and Robert with another priest Richard Simpson were gruesomely executed in Derby.

An annual pilgrimage honouring the two martyrs began in the late Nineteenth century. The Diocese of Nottingham bought Padley in 1931 and it became part of the Diocese of Hallam in 1980.

Following the Mass, many pilgrims remained behind and were able to sit outside, share their picnics, and enjoy meeting up and chatting.  It was also the day before Bishop Ralph celebrated 47 years of his ministry in the Priesthood and 9 years as bishop of Hallam.

Two days later it was the opportunity for the primary schools to join together in their own pilgrimage. The children and their teachers arrived by a variety of means but the group from St Marie’s entered the true spirit of pilgrimage by walking from Mayfield, passing Lady Canning’s Plantation and then treading the ancient Roman Road to Padley. Bishop Ralph presided over another joyful celebration of Mass and although the weather drizzly it didn’t dampen the spirits of the children who later had the opportunity to have a picnic and explore the ancient chapel and discover something of the story of our local martyrs.

Dorothy Anderson