Saturday 20 May
Click here to register and/or order meals. This event has now occurred and tickets can no longer be bought.
what is it?
A walk through the Huntingdonshire countryside from George Herbert’s church at Leighton Bromswold to Nicholas Ferrar’s tomb at Little Gidding. There are services at the two churches, and several short stops for reflection on the walk.
when is it?
Saturday 20 May 2023, beginning at 10.30 am at Leighton Bromswold church. The Pilgrimage finishes at Little Gidding after Evensong with Tea at about 5.30 pm. See below for more details.
who’s leading it?
The Pilgrimage leader this year is the Revd Dr Carys Walsh, author of Frequencies of God: Walking through Advent with R S Thomas (see this review at the Church Times), and an assistant priest at St Peter and St Paul, Kettering, where her husband David is rector.
Carys will preach at the morning Eucharist at Leighton Bromswold, give short addresses at the five stations between Leighton Bromswold and Little Gidding, and preach at Evensong at Little Gidding.
Carys Walsh discovered the poetry of R S Thomas at a time when her faith was in transition, and she credits him with helping to bring her ‘home’. This led to a PhD on the sacramental vision in his work. Having worked in selection for those going forward for ordained ministry, following on from being a psychotherapist, Carys taught Christian Spirituality at St Mellitus College. For several years she oversaw Curate Training for Peterborough Diocese, and has now returned to work for the National Ministry Team, on discernment for ordained ministry.
why Little Gidding?
Little Gidding was made famous in the twentieth century when it gave its name to T S Eliot’s last great poem. But even before Eliot it was renowned as the home and burial place of Nicholas Ferrar.
who was Nicholas Ferrar?
Born in London in 1592, Nicholas Ferrar gave up a life in commerce and politics to move to Little Gidding, establishing a life of prayer and charitable works with his family. Ordained deacon, he was foremost in the life of prayer, study, and work, setting an example of devotion and spiritual life that has stood as a beacon to those who have followed. He died on 4 December 1637, and his devout life and example have consecrated Little Gidding as a holy place to this day.
Lunch will be available at Leighton Bromswold and Tea at Little Gidding. Please use the form below to reserve places and book and pay for meals online.
Cars can be left at Leighton Bromswold; we will co-ordinate lifts back at the end of the Pilgrimage. Leighton Bromswold is just north of the A14 a few miles west of Huntingdon and the junction with the A1. See map below.
what are the costs?
Attendance at the Pilgrimage is entirely free, and all are welcome.
Lunch at Leighton Bromswold and Tea at Little Gidding are available, and we invite a contribution of £22 per person which enables us to cover the costs of Lunch and Tea and some of the other expenses of the day itself, including donations to the churches involved. It is extremely helpful for us to know expected numbers, so please do use the booking system to let us know, even if you don’t require Lunch or Tea. Alternatively we invite a contribution of £12 per person for Lunch and £10 per person for Tea.
where is the Pilgrimage?
The Pilgrimage begins at Leighton Bromswold, which is just north of Junction 17 of the A14 between Kettering and Huntingdon. The postcode is PE28 5AX.
All are welcome at the Pilgrimage. It will greatly help if you are able to let us know you are coming and how many are in your group by using the online booking system.
10.30 am: Pilgrimage Communion
at Leighton Bromswold Church
whose restoration was funded by George Herbert and directed by the Ferrars.
12 noon: Lunch
Enjoy lunch with fellow pilgrims
(lunch tickets available, or bring your own).
1 pm: First Station
at Leighton Bromswold
The Pilgrimage Walk begins from the Hundred Stone outside Leighton Bromswold churchyard.
2 pm: Second Station at Salome Wood
2.15 pm: Pilgrimage Walk continues.
2.45 pm: Third Station at Hamerton
3 pm: Pilgrimage Walk continues, cutting across the meadow to Steeple Gidding.
3.45 pm: Fourth Station
at Steeple Gidding Church
4.00 pm: Pilgrimage Walk continues to Little Gidding.
4.15 pm: Fifth Station
at the Tomb of Nicholas Ferrar
All gather around the tomb of Nicholas Ferrar. Followed by …
at Little Gidding Church
5.30 pm: Tea at Ferrar House
The walk from Leighton Bromswold to Little Gidding is about five miles, mostly along the country roads. Sturdy shoes are recommended. If sunny, don’t forget to bring hats and water. Drinks and toilets available at Hamerton. It will be possible to join in along the route, particularly at the Stations, where there will be a pause and a short act of worship and commemoration. Timing of intermediate Stations approximate.
We will co-ordinate drivers’ return to Leighton Bromswold.
We want the Pilgrimage to be accessible to as many people as possible. If your specific questions or concerns aren’t answered here, please do contact us, either using the contact form on this website, or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org
There is level or nearly-level access at all the churches (Leighton Bromswold, Hamerton, Steeple Gidding, Little Gidding). A small supply of gluten-free wafers will be available for the Eucharist at Leighton Bromswold. Those ordering Lunch or Tea will be asked about any dietary requirements when ordering.
The walk from Leighton Bromswold to Little Gidding is partly along public roads, and partly across country. Alternative routes are available for anyone unable to easily cross uneven fields:
The route is entirely along the roads from Leighton Bromswold as far as Salome Wood. There is a station here, in a clearing just off the road and into the wood. This is about 20 yards off the road, and accessible only on foot, but it is easy terrain and only a few yards. After the station we return to the road and carry on.
The walk continues on roads all the way to Hamerton, where there is a stop for refreshments and another station. It then continues out of Hamerton and up the hill towards Steeple Gidding. Just out of Hamerton the route turns off the road to walk on footpaths and then across the fields to Steeple Gidding. This part is not accessible except on foot. However, it is possible to continue along the road to Steeple Gidding, either on foot or by vehicle.
After Steeple Gidding, the walk continues along the footpath across the fields to Little Gidding, where the final section is up a short stretch of the hill south of Ferrar House. Again, this section is only accessible on foot, but there is an alternative route by road, on foot or by car.
There will be one or two cars patrolling the route of the walk, and they can pick up people who no longer wish to walk, and take them to the next station, or to one of the end points.
Please note that although well-behaved dogs are welcome to join the Pilgrimage with their humans, dogs are not permitted inside Ferrar House, except for Guide Dogs.
Reserving your place
To let us know you are intending to come, and to book Lunch and/or Tea, please make a reservation below. No payment will be taken until you have completed your order. Payment will be made securely via Eventbrite. If you don’t require Lunch or Tea, then you can also use this to reserve a place at no cost. (If the panel below is not showing properly, you can access it directly at little-gidding-pilgrimage.eventbrite.co.uk.)
Click here to reserve a place and buy lunch and tea tickets. This event has now occurred and tickets can no longer be bought.
If you have been on the Pilgrimage before then you will know that it is a blend of spiritual themes along with a walk through the delightful Huntingdonshire countryside, conversation and food with friends old and new, and a chance to explore some beautiful and historic churches. There will be transport for those unable to walk some or all of the route between the churches. If you’ve not been before then then you’ll certainly be warmly welcomed. Come with your friends.
We look forward to seeing you on Saturday 20 May at Leighton Bromswold.