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
Interest in Student Cross continued to grow and in 1957 two new Legs
Midland, which started from
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
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
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
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.