Ladyewell Shrine, Fernyhalgh

Ladyewell Shrine, Preston, Združeno kraljestvo

Website of the Sanctuary

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Ladyewell Shrine – The Church of St Mary’s Fernyhalgh

The beautiful church of St Mary’s Fernyhalgh was built in 1794 by the Reverend Anthony Lund who was the missioner at Ladye Well the local Marian shrine.

Fr. Lund who had been at the shrine since 1773 realized that the small chapel at the shrine was not large enough to accommodate the many pilgrims who were coming to pray at the shrine.

He resolved to build and endow a larger church unfortunately the nearest land he could purchase was a quarter of a mile along the lane. Fr Lund actively helped to build the church, the presbytery and the Hermitage house adjacent to the church. See more Catholic shrines and Basilicas in UK

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The church was lavishly decorated and stained glass windows installed during the incumbency of Fr Richard Gillow 1823-1863; the devotion of Quarant Ore was introduced to Preston at St Marys during this period and many people came out to the church in carriages to see the beautiful image of Our Blessed Lady above the altar and to participate in the candle lit services in a church full of flowers.

Today the church still plays its part in the many pilgrimages that visit Ladyewell they then walk saying the Rosary to the shrine. Despite the lack of a village the church has an active congregation who care for it. It is well worth a visit to view its unique decoration.

Ladyewell Shrine, Fernyhalgh

Your Pilgrimage at the Ladyewell Shrine

The ancient Ladyewell Shrine is at the end of a meandering country lane a quarter of a mile past the beautiful church of St. Mary’s Fernyhalgh which was built by Reverend Anthony Lund in 1794 to accommodate the increasing number of pilgrims to Our Lady’s well.

The white house can be glimpsed through the trees as pilgrims follow the route of their ancestors along the final section of Fernyhalgh Lane to Ladyewell House (1685), the well and the picturesque grounds.

The well is to the right of the entrance to the gardens, water is made available direct from the well for those who are unable to get down the steps. Adjacent to this area is a covered prayer chapel “Stella Maris”, candles can be lit here and also at the candle stand overlooking the well.

In the garden is the English Martyrs Chapel which is perfect for pilgrimages in good weather. Behind this chapel, in the woods are The Stations of the Cross, this area is planted out with spring bulbs and bluebells.

Within the gardens, pilgrims can find many areas for quiet prayer and reflection. Ladyewell House, which is the pilgrim administrative centre, also contains a small chapel the reliquary displaying the relics of the English Martyrs and the famous Burgess Altar.

The house contains a piety shop, bookshop, reference library, meeting rooms with facilities and tearoom. Disabled access is available to the ground floor. When planning your group Pilgrimage we would ask you please avoid Sunday because Ladyewell House is closed..

Groups should allow time to participate in Exposition and a holy hour.

Your Pilgrimage

The ancient shrine of Ladyewell is at the end of a meandering country lane a quarter of a mile past the beautiful church of St. Mary’s Fernyhalgh which was built by Reverend Anthony Lund in 1794 to accommodate the increasing number of pilgrims to Our Lady’s well.

The white house can be glimpsed through the trees as pilgrims follow the route of their ancestors along the final section of Fernyhalgh Lane to Ladyewell House (1685), the well and the picturesque grounds.

The well is to the right of the entrance to the gardens, water is made available direct from the well for those who are unable to get down the steps. Adjacent to this area is a covered prayer chapel “Stella Maris”, candles can be lit here and also at the candle stand overlooking the well.

In the garden is the English Martyrs Chapel which is perfect for pilgrimages in good weather. Behind this chapel, in the woods are The Stations of the Cross, this area is planted out with spring bulbs and bluebells. Within the gardens, pilgrims can find many areas for quiet prayer and reflection. Ladyewell House, which is the pilgrim administrative centre, also contains a small chapel the reliquary displaying the relics of the English Martyrs and the famous Burgess Altar.

The house contains a piety shop, bookshop, reference library, meeting rooms with facilities and tearoom. Disabled access is available to the ground floor. When planning your group Pilgrimage we would ask you please avoid Sunday because Ladyewell House is closed.. Groups should allow time to participate in Exposition and a holy hour.

Keep in touch with the website to get updates on Pilgrimage details. If you are bringing over 10 pilgrims, let us know. A booking form is available and can be downloaded from the website, alternatively ring administration who will be happy to discuss dates and give any information you require.

There is usually Mass on Fridays and Saturdays at 12 noon and often at other times if there is a pilgrimage. If you are intending to visit and wish to hear Mass it is advisable to check by phone first. Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament is also a regular feature on Fridays and Saturdays. The Sacrament of Reconciliation is usually available on request.

The house is closed during Mass; access to Mass can be gained by ringing the door bell. During the winter months special care should be taken when visiting the shrine grounds because of falling leaves and damp surfaces.

Shrine and grounds always open except during inclement weather

Large coaches must use the first car park at St Mary’s. All other cars can be parked in the designated car park 400 yds from the shrine. The car park at the Shrine is for drop off and disabled badge holders ONLY.

For safety reasons you may be asked to move if you are parked in the wrong place. Thank you for your co-operation.

Summer
Monday to Saturday: 10am – 5pm
Sunday: House closed. Grounds and Prayer Room open.

Winter: (1st November 1st March)
Monday, Friday and Saturday: 10am to 3pm
Sunday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday: House closed. Grounds and Prayer Room open.

The Shrine History

Devotion to Our Lady of Fernyhalgh goes back through the ages to the 11th century. Since the Reformation a devotion to Our Lady as Queen of Martyrs has developed, which is reflected at Ladyewell in the reliquary, the presence of the Burgess Altar and the chapel of the English Martyrs. There has never been an apparition of Our Blessed Lady at Fernyhalgh just continued prayer and petition over seven centuries. Even during penal times apart from a period of five years, the shrine attracted pilgrims and was the focus of local Catholic prayer. A secluded spot, only 4 miles from the centre of Preston and in close proximity to a very busy motorway, surrounded on three sides by ancient and protected woodland, Fernyhalgh has retained it tranquil and sylvan charm.

The name Fernyhalgh is thought by some historians to mean Ancient Shrine. Professor E.J.Popham suggests that the place was called “ancient shrine” by Anglo Saxons because on this site was a shrine which even in their day was considered ancient, though this seems a tenuous link. The more feasible explanation is that of etymologist John Bannister who maintains “the name means a watery meadow abounding in ferns.” He goes on to say “halgh bears a similar meaning to the first syllable of Haighton, and is interchangeable with haugh”. “Fernig halth,” the Old English for “a field with ferns” would appear to confirm that this is the more likely meaning.

The name Ladyewell, spelt originally Ladye Well, appears to have developed following the rebuilding of the present house in 1685. There was another Ladywell in the centre of Preston, which has long ceased to exist; the site of an old friary is remembered by the present day Ladyewell Street.

Local people tend to refer to Our Lady of Fernyhalgh, which is correct, but over the years the term Ladyewell has become used by those who visit particularly from away. In the writings of Fr Christopher Tuttell (alias Blacklow) the house and chapel was referred to as Ladyewell House, which is the case today.
Pilgrims continue to make their way to this beautiful shrine where they intercede to Our Blessed Lady, bring their petitions and leave unburdened and spiritually renewed.

Fernyhalgh is the Diocesan Shrine of Lancaster and encompasses the beautiful church of St Mary and Ladyewell House and grounds, which is the site of the well. The main pilgrimage season tends to run from May to the end of October, during which time the dioceses of Lancaster, Liverpool and Salford hold their annual pilgrimages to Ladyewell; pilgrims attend in large numbers and are usually led by the Archbishop or Bishop of the visiting group. The devotion at Ladyewell is ecumenical, attracting members of other Faiths.

The Anglican community come all year round and usually hold a large pilgrimage at the beginning of June (Forward in Faith and the Society of Mary). Members of the Orthodox churches also visit and hold their services. The Kerala Indians living in this part of Lancashire hold a service each month in their own vernacular. They have a great devotion to Our Blessed Lady and never a day goes by without members of this Catholic Indian community visiting. They pray often for the blessing of children and come back to give thanks usually on the way home from the maternity ward. Travelling families also visit Ladyewell, its proximity to the motorway enables them to call frequently en route often from Ireland, their names and faces are very familiar to us.

Pilgrims come daily summer and winter whatever the weather. Even when the house is closed they come and intercede at the shrine, which is always open. Large pilgrimages usually start with Mass at St Mary’s and then process down to Ladyewell either with the Blessed Sacrament or reciting the rosary. It is a moving and inspiring sight to see so many of the faithful, young, old and very often infirm gathering to honour the Mother of God in this particular way. Many of them recall being brought as children by their parents and recount of prayers answered and favours granted.

Local pilgrims remember coming as part of their own annual church pilgrimage, walking from Preston in procession to congregate and give homage to Our Blessed Lady of Fernyhalgh. Many parish groups of lay ministries and Catholic associations visit and have their own days of retreat and devotions.

Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament and the sacrament of Reconciliation is an important feature of pilgrimage days enabling pilgrims to obtain the Spiritual rewards that they seek; they also take away with them water from the well and use it in invocation to Our Blessed Lady who inspires great devotion. “To Jesus through Mary” is so relevant at the shrine where those who may have strayed from their Faith often find the courage with the help of Our Lady to benefit from the peace of the sacrament of Reconciliation, which is available on request.

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