New coat of arms for the Basilica and National Shrine of Our Lady of Walsingham is designed by an Ordinariate member

David Pritchard, a member of the South-East Wales Ordinariate writes:-

One of our group, Dr David Woolf, has a longstanding interest in heraldry.

In December 2015 the Holy Father granted the Catholic National Shrine of Our Lady of Walsingham the very special honour of being raised to the dignity of a minor Basilica. The Shrine has now been renamed the Basilica of Our Lady of Walsingham. A Basilica is a church which comes under the special protection of the Holy Father. In consequence of which a Basilica has some very specific rights and privileges. One of which is that a Papal ombrellino is placed in the Basilica waiting in anticipation for the arrival of the Holy Father. The ombrellino is decorated with the Arms of the Basilica.

arms of the Basilica of Our Lady of Walsingham

Dr Woolf has been a longstanding pilgrim and supporter of the Shrine and remains a member of the Order of Our Lady of Walsingham. He was links with the Rector of the Basilica, Monsignor John Armitage, who has since asked him to ensure that heraldically suitable Arms might be adopted by the Basilica of Our Lady of Walsingham.

A manuscript dating from c. 1510 records the Arms of the Priory of Walsingham as Argent on a cross sable five lilies slipped argent, i.e. a black cross on a white background, with five lilies superimposed on the cross. The Basilica is now the modern day successor of the Priory of Walsingham, and as such it is appropriate that the Basilica has assumed the Arms of the Priory. These Arms have been augmented to include the ombrellino and the Papal crossed keys: one gold, the other silver.

Depicted here is a rendition of these Arms now to be used by the Basilica of Our Lady of Walsingham. They have been painted under Dr Woolf’s direction by the heraldic artist Tom Meek. A copy of these Arms has been sent to Rome for incorporation on the ombrellino which will be presented to the Rector of the Basilica.

It is a great honour that our Ordinariate group has such a direct link to the Basilica of Our Lady of Walsingham. I have said from the very beginning that we in the Ordinariate do not come into Full Communion ’empty handed’. This is a tangible example of that fact.

I am sure that you will join me in thanking and congratulating David on this achievement, which illustrates what good things can happen when the Ordinariate involves itself fully in the life of the wider Church-

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