Mass will be shown here at 3pm Sunday 6 September 2020

An integral part of the annual calendar for both Harvington Hall and the Archdiocese of Birmingham is the pilgrimage that is held on the first Sunday of September.

It is an opportunity for the clergy and people of our Archdiocese as well as many pilgrims from further afield, to come together in the presence of Almighty God to give thanks for those who have gone before us and to pray for the future of the faith in this land.

There can be no better place for us to come together to pray for the intercession of all those who have given their lives for the faith, especially those who did so during the turbulent years of the reigns of the Tudor and Stuart monarchs, for which Harvington Hall is most famous.

We give thanks for the lives of all of the martyr saints, those recognised on earth as saints of the Church and those known only to God.

Harvington's Martyrs

Of course, at Harvington we have a special devotion to the four martyrs who worked at various times in and around Harvington:

St John Wall – the Franciscan priest most associated with Harvington Hall who was hung, drawn and quartered at Red Hill, Worcester on 2 August 1679, and canonized (made a saint) in 1970
St Nicholas Owen – the famous priest hide builder who died under torture in the Tower on 2 March 1606, and was canonized in 1970
Bl. Edward Oldcorne – the Jesuit from Hindlip who was executed at Red Hill, Worcester on 7 April 1606 and beatified in 1929
Bl. Arthur Bell – a locally born Franciscan priest, executed at Tyburn on 11 December 1643 and beatified in 1987

The witness of the martyrs here at Harvington Hall is an inspiration to all of us. When we reflect on their courage and loving steadfastness in the face of opposition and menace, we are moved to recognise those areas where we are lacking in our own faith. May they inspire us anew.

This Year's Pilgrimage

In the past our pilgrimage has been blessed with fine weather but it has also been hampered by pouring rain, but the pilgrimage has always taken place. This year is different. Current circumstances prevent us coming together in person, but it does not stop us from coming together online as the People of God to commemorate the martyrs.

This year’s pilgrimage Mass has great poignancy for us because we have the opportunity to have Mass celebrated by the parish priest of St Mary’s Harvington, the Right Reverend Monsignor Canon John Moran in the Great Chapel at the top of the Hall with five people in attendance.

This is where Mass would have been said in the recusant period and it gives us all an opportunity to properly appreciate what it was like to attend Mass in times of persecution.

As we join with Fr John, let us take a moment to give thanks once more for the dedication of those who went before us and the sacrifice that they made. Let us also reflect on our own faith and our own witness to others. Let the martyrs inspire us to renew our faith and show our witness to our love of God and our love of our neighbour.

Supporting Harvington Hall

The Elizabethan moated manor is a demonstration of the ingenuity of master builder Saint Nicholas Owen, whose priest hides helped to protect clergy in a time when it was high treason for a Catholic priest to be in England. It has largest surviving series of priest hides in the country.

Harvington Hall contains several priest hides by Saint Nicholas Owen and remained a Catholic household throughout the Reformation. It was bought for the Archdiocese of Birmingham in 1923, when it was almost derelict.

Saint Nicholas was tortured for his secrets, but he never gave them up and was tortured to death in the Tower of London in 1606.

Harvington Hall is currently closed for essential restoration work, sadly delayed by the pandemic.

Donations can be made to support the Hall’s fundraising campaign and to protect it as a valuable record of recusant Catholic history.

Give Your Support to Harvington, the House of Secrets