Walking the Hathersage Pilgrim Ways

Early Christians were known as ‘followers of the Way’

People from a number of parishes from across the diocese have met to form the latest ‘Friends of Padley Chapel’  group. We have been exploring  Padley Chapel’s history and are indebted to the work of Barbara M. Smith. Her skilled, tenacious commitment, in researching  the role of Hathersage, and the surrounding area, in the preservation of the Catholic faith tradition in post reformation England, is of national importance.

Her commitment was also linked, to her family heritage, being related to the Furniss family, who gave the land, for a Seventeenth century, Catholic Chapel in Hathersage. It is largely due to her research, that we can feel more ‘secure’, in exploring this precious history, once again.

Barbara’s research on the church of ‘ St Michael, The Archangel’, ‘Padley Chapel’ and ‘North Lees Hall /Holy Trinity Chapel’, are ‘spiritual treasures’, recording the faith commitment of the peoples of the Hope Valley.  She also identified the commonality of faith commitment and mutual respect, despite ‘time influenced’ political pressures, between the post-Reformation Christian traditions.

So, a series of articles called, ‘Walking the Hathersage Pilgrim Ways’, will draw heavily, from her written legacy. Plus, the benefits of chatting with the people of the Hope Valley and accessing information via local studies libraries and the internet.

People have walked ‘in faith’ to Padley Chapel, for many centuries. The example of the ‘Hearts in Search of God’ project*, has been an inspiration.

We aim to make Padley Chapel more available to the public (more volunteer guides are needed) and longer term, explore the possibility of 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 in 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’

* Hearts in Search of God

aims to promote walking pilgrimage in England & Wales by developing Pilgrim Ways between the cathedral of each Catholic diocese and one or more shrines within the same diocese. The Ways are an opportunity for Catholics and other Christians to deepen their faith, and for people of all faiths and none to share in the experience of walking a pilgrimage in a Catholic context. The hope is that walking pilgrimage will contribute to the common good of our nations through encouraging encounter with others, hospitality, and respect for the environment.