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Easter pilgrimage to Walsingham

HISTORY

 

 

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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 from London to Walsingham. In 1949 a second group or leg was started, walking from Nottingham, which would become Northern Leg.

Interest in Student Cross continued to grow and in 1957 two new Legs were created; Midland, which started from Kettering, and Graduate Cross (now Easter Cross). Midland leg walked for a full week, whilst Graduate Cross, was a one-day walk for 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 a period of decline. 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 'unofficial' basis.

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 began in1975. Ely Leg, which walks for 3 days, was added in 1996.

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. The last decade has seen a significant growth in family legs; Wells Leg started in 2006 and Wensum Leg for children of secondary school age began in 2012.

Student Cross regularly attracts around 300 pilgrims each year.

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. In the 1990s, the pilgrimage established a registered charity, the Student Cross Association, to support needy pilgrims who otherwise would not be able to take part.

 
 
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Student Cross is supported by the Student Cross Association
Registered Charity number 1019313