Hundreds of pilgrims made their way to Harvington Hall in Worcestershire for the annual pilgrimage to commemorate the English martyrs, led by Bishop David McGough.

The Elizabethan moated manor was open only to pilgrims on the day, with tours showing pilgrims 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.

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.

Saint John Wall was a Franciscan friar who usually made his home at Harvington, ministering to Catholics in the area. He was arrested in 1678 and after refusing to sign the Oath of Supremacy and to abjure his religion, was executed in Worcester 1679.

Both were mentioned by Bishop David in his homily at the outdoor Mass, as examples of those who suffered for their faith. There are 40 Martyrs of England and Wales, many with links to the Hall, and all were commemorated in the Mass.

Greg McClarey, Headteacher of Blessed Edward Oldcorne Catholic College in Worcester, had come to Harvington for the first time. For him the pilgrimage made real the importance of Blessed Edward Oldcorne, one of the English Martyrs, and acted as a reminder to be respectful to others as they practice their faith.

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Harvington Hall 2019