Brief history of Student Cross
In the autumn of 1947 Wilfred Mauncote-Carter,
organised a cross carrying walking pilgrimage from London to
Walsingham in Norfolk during Holy Week 1948. During Holy Week 1948,
some 30 students plus several chaplains took part in the first
Student Cross pilgrimage to Walsingham. In 1949 a second group or
leg was started, and walked from Nottingham.
Interest in Student Cross continued to grow and in 1957 two new Legs
were created; Midland, which started from Kettering; and the other,
Graduate Cross (now Easter Cross). Midland leg walked for a full
week, whilst Graduate Cross, a one day walk, was intended to be a
one day walk for post-graduates or former students who could not
walk a whole week but who still wished to be part of the pilgrimage.
A fourth Student group, Oxford Leg was started in 1962.
In the mid-1960s Student Cross faced its first period of decline,
and during this period the Midland leg folded and did not walk again
until the mid 1970s.1967 saw the first 'official' women walkers; it
is thought that women had walked in previous years, although on an
The 1960s also saw efforts to make the pilgrimage ecumenical and
Oxford Leg soon had equal numbers of Roman Catholics and other
Christian students. Student Cross was officially declared ecumenical
in 1972 and has remained so ever since, although it still has a
Roman Catholic flavour.
Student Cross revived in popularity and a new Midland Leg was
started in 1971. 1972 saw the start of Essex Leg, walking from
Colchester and Kettering Leg started in1975. Between 1981 and 1986
there was Family Cross, an associated pilgrimage for families with
very young children. Family Cross was revived in 1992 as Peg Leg and
Ely Leg, which walks for 3 days, was added in 1996.
Student Cross regularly attracts between 220 to 250 pilgrims each
In the early years Student Cross was under the auspices of the
Catholic Student Council (CSC) and was responsible for organising
each years walk and in some cases subsidising the pilgrims. CSC
involvement with Student Cross seemed to end during the 1960s and
70s and since then Student Cross has been entirely self-organising.