Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Shrine of St. Margaret Clitherow, York

In celebration of the Solemnity of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary, here's a post on a local holy lady's house.

On one of our recent trips to York, we visited the Shrine of the Saint Margaret Clitherow, Catholic martyr under Queen Elizabeth I.

Sign: "The house of Margaret Clitherow who was martyred March 25th 1586, canonised October 25th 1970"

The house was established as a oratory and place of worship so that the sacrifice of the Mass, to which she was so devoted, would continue in her honor. Mass is said on Saturday mornings. A simple altar is found inside as well as a few decorations--some third-class relics and some signs describing her life.

The altar

Nicely embroidered sign about Margaret, "The Pearl of York"

Some third-class relics of the saint

A sign below the relics explains their history and significance.
This piece of linen and the envelope in which it was discovered has been placed here through the good offices of Mr Harry Pinnock and Mrs Eileen Hayes, parishioners of Our Lady of Lourdes Church, Wanstead, London. Mr Pinnock discovered the envelope in 1990 and Mrs Hayes undertook to research its origins. The writing on the envelope reads: "Linen which has touched the hand of Blessed Margaret Clitherow"; the addressee is "Madame Goldie, La Pouparderie, St Servan, Ille et Vilaine, France"; and the postmark is "York, 1884". Madame Goldie was Stylite Siochan de Kersabiec, the wife of George Goldie, a York-born architect who designed St Wilfrid's Church in this city. In 1884, George and Stylite were living in semi-retirement in the St Malo area, of which St Servain is a part. Almost certainly the sender of the linen was Mary Edith Goldie, George's sister, who was a nun at the Bar Convent in York under the religious name Mother Mary Joseph Walburga. The hand of St Margaret Clitherow is preserved at the Bar Convent and Mother Walburga must have wrapped the linen around it to provide her sister-in-law with what is technically a "third-class relic". The recovery of the linen and the envelope in which it was sent provide a valuable insight into Victorian pious practices.
A third-class relic is an object that has touched the body of the person in question (in 1884 she was not yet declared a saint).

We did not get many pictures outside, except for ones with Jacob making a appearance.

Jacob by the front door

Jacob in the window

We later had a picnic by the Minster, where both Jacob and Lucy posed for photos.

Jacob with York Minster tower behind him

Jacob and Lucy having a good time

For more on Margaret Clitherow's life and martyrdom, go here or here.


  1. Great to read mention of my grandfather Mr Harry Pinnock.