This year Harvington Hall is celebrating 100 years since its rescue from ruin, when it was purchased and gifted to the Archdiocese of Birmingham by Ellen Ferris in 1923.

Annual pilgrimages to Harvington to venerate the English Martyrs are an important part of the Archdiocesan calendar. The Catholic Men’s Society (CMS) reflects on past pilgrimages:

The Catholic Men's Society (CMS) was approached in 1999 by Mgr Patrick Corrigan, the then- chairman of the Pilgrimage organising committee, via Fr Douglas Lamb, still the Society’s diocesan chaplain, to see whether its members could assist in the preparation of the annual event usually held on the first Sunday in September at Harvington Hall.

This was no problem, since all members knew about the event’s significance, put on to remember all the English Martyrs, but particularly those with local connections to the area.

CMS members from parishes in Kidderminster, Stourport and Bewdley, and Halesowen would gather on the Friday evening to complete the main set-up, with finishing touches added on the Saturday.

In those days, the altar was erected as scaffolding with a base of railway sleepers; this was then covered with a tarpaulin.

The organ to be used on the day would be carried down flights of stairs from the Hall’s second floor and placed under a gazebo next to the altar.

Several other gazebos, for use by the choir, sound engineer and visiting dignitaries, were erected around the outside of the lawned area, with the centre used by the pilgrims.

CMS and other local volunteers still meet on the preceding Friday and Saturday, but, these days, there is a purpose-made mound to house the temporary sanctuary for the Mass itself.

The National President of the CMS, Ray Barber, says: ‘It has been a real honour to assist in the preparation of this great annual event, and I would like to say, “thank you” to the hundreds of pilgrims who travel from all over the West Midlands and make that first Sunday in September a memorable one’.

This year the annual Harvington pilgrimage falls on Sunday 3 September.

Harvington's Pilgrimage 2023