Harvington Centenary Pilgrimage: Sunday 3 September 2023

Elizabethan manor house, Harvington Hall, is a shining example of the power of Catholic evangelisation.

Every September hundreds of pilgrims gather in the beautiful grounds of Harvington, Worcestershire, for the annual pilgrimage to the Shrine of the English Martyrs.

This year is extra special as it marks the centenary of Harvington Hall's rescue from ruin by Ellen Ferris, who gifted the Hall to the Archdiocese of Birmingham.

The moated property, which was gifted to the Archdiocese in 1923, has the greatest number of priest hides of any house in the country.

Master builder St Nicholas Owen, believed to have been the creator of four of them, is remembered during the Archdiocese’s annual pilgrimage to commemorate the English Martyrs at Harvington Hall

To mark this milestone in our history we are pleased to announce that His Grace, Archbishop Bernard Longley will be the principal celebrant of this year’s Pilgrimage Mass.

We hope you can join us to support this act of devotion to the Martyrs of the Midlands.

A place of Recusant defiance

At Harvington Hall, around 1590, devout Humphrey Pakington instigated the building of seven priest hides, secret chambers where recusant clergy could take refuge from the pursuivants who might be hunting them.

As a place of recusant defiance to the realm, the people who lived here demonstrated through their commitment to the Mass and the sacraments and their acceptance of the draconian fine system, that they witnessed their love of Christ.

They evangelised through their defiance and kept the faith alive in this country so that it could grow in later times.

Venerating the martyrs

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.

The four martyrs especially venerated at Harvington, who worked at various times in the area, are:

• St John Wall – hanged, drawn and quartered at Red Hill, Worcester on 2 August 1679, and canonized in 1970;
• St Nicholas Owen – died under torture in the Tower on 2 March 1606, and was canonized in 1970;
• Bl. Edward Oldcorne – executed at Red Hill, Worcester on 7 April 1606 and beatified in 1929;
• Bl. Arthur Bell – executed at Tyburn on 11 December 1643 and beatified in 1987.

Pilgrimage information

Date: Sunday 3 September 2023

Principal Celebrant
The Most Reverend Bernard Longley, Archbishop of Birmingham

Hall opens: Midday

Confessions: 1.45 pm – 2.30 pm

Mass: 3.00 pm


Free timed tours of Harvington Hall are available to pilgrims on the day and can be booked at the table in the Hall’s courtyard upon arrival.

Pilgrims must bring their own chairs as well as a lunch/picnic – tea and coffee will be available at the Hall’s café.


Any queries related to the Pilgrimage should be directed to: [email protected]

As part of its centenary celebrations, Harvington Hall is also holding its first ever History Festival from 25 - 30 July. Fine out more on Harvington's website.

Harvington Hall