Walking the Hathersage Pilgrim Ways

‘Padley – its Martyrs and Restoration 1588-1933’.

There’s no author’s name on this little red booklet, but it’s clearly the work of Mgr Charles Payne V.G.(Nottingham Diocese), who was the driving force behind the restoration of Padley Chapel. Mgr. Payne will have chosen red, identifying Padley Chapel and the Blesseds with St Stephen, the first Christian martyr and all who were to follow the martyrs’ path across the centuries.
There’s a sense of urgency in the appeal for funds, to clear the debt of £3,000 incurred, by the purchase of the site. The National Archives currency converter estimates that to be £151,987.80 (1935 to 2017 equivalence). We must also remember the historical context of this purchase. The Wall Street Crash 1929, led to the Great Depression of the 1930s, which in turn, helped ignite the horrors of World War Two.
Mgr Payne was clearly a man of great faith, vision and determination, to embark on his contribution to the centuries old ‘mission’ of Padley Chapel in the challenging 1930s. The theme of the ‘conversion of England’ is prominent on the cover. This reflects the role of the Blesseds Garlick, Ludlam and Sympson, as missionary priests of the 1580s. Also, the role of the Guild of Our Lady of Ransom, when Canon Oswald Dolan of St Marie’s Sheffield (now the Diocese of Hallam’s mother cathedral), asked them to take a lead with the first Padley pilgrimage in 1898. That prayer for conversion, is also stated in one of the chapel’s stained glass windows, where Our Lady stands protectively above one of the Blesseds, kneeling in prayer.
It is clear that Mgr Payne saw Padley as a Shrine of regional importance, ahead of any necessary official recognition.
The booklet lists the benefits pilgrims could gain from the devotional observance of their pilgrimage to and their prayers at Padley Chapel.
1. You are asked to bring your Sick to the Chapel and to fervently ask the intercession of the Martyr Priests for them. Instances have already occurred of great help and relief being obtained by the Sick.
2. Indulgences have been granted by the Holy See to those who come to Padley as Pilgrims.
3. Medals of the Venerable Martyrs and of Padley Chapel can now be had. They have all touched the Original Altar at which the Martyrs said mass.
4. There is a Red Martyrs Book and names can be inscribed in this singly or in groups. The Red Book is placed near the altar during Mass. 
So as we begin 2024, the year of prayer, as ‘Pilgrims of Hope’, in preparation for the Year of Jubilee 2025, let us all draw strength and inspiration from Mgr Payne’s Padley Chapel legacy, captured and left for us all, in his little red booklet.
We aim to make Padley Chapel more available to the public (more volunteer guides are needed) and in the longer term, explore the possibility of developing improved ‘visitor facilities’. We’re blessed with access to beautiful countryside and are currently developing local pilgrimage routes, ‘to celebrate our Catholic cultural heritage, with peoples of all faiths and none’.
More articles will follow throughout 2024. If you would like to get involved or join the Friends of Padley Chapel then contact formation-mission@hallam diocese.com Gerard Bonner Friends of Padley Chapel