Ward of Queen of All Saints, Bournemouth, Dorset

On Saturday 10th September 2005, members of the Ward visited the
Shrine of Our Lady of Consolation in West Grinstead.


In the reign of Elizabeth I, the Caryll Family lived in the nearby Parish of Shipley and were a great land owning family with many houses and farms in the vicinity and other parts of Sussex and Hampshire. The Carylls gave shelter to Priests, many of whom were disguised as servants and acted as Chaplains to the family.

Priests House

Whilst the Priests House, Church and Grounds are quite secluded today it would have been much more difficult to locate in the 1600s when the area was thickly covered by woods and most travel would have been by water and most significantly on the close-by River Adur.   Indeed boatmen bringing Priests knew where to halt in the river by the clearing in the reeds – each incised with a cross.

The so called “Priests House” was built by the Carylls, as part of their West Grinstead estate.   Originally it was just a small cottage with one room on each of the ground and first floors.   Under the thatched roof there was a loft with a tiny hidden chapel; there were also two other hides (Priests Holes) built into the chimney breast.   So it became a ‘safe-house’ for seminary priests who were beginning to travel on the English mission. The building is reputably the oldest continuously occupied Catholic presbytery in England.

After the persecution and execution of Catholics the death penalty for being a Priest was eventually removed. However, severe fines for being a Catholic were imposed which resulted in the Carylls progressively selling their estates.

Building of the Shrine Church

In  the 1860s, when things were at a low ebb Mgr. Jean Marie Denis was appointed as the Priest for West Grinstead.   Mgr. Denis established a school for poor children in the latter half of the 19th c. and also built the Shrine Church of Our Lady of Consolation in 1876.   The ceremony of crowning the Statue was performed before a great crowd on 12th July 1893 by the Papal Delegate, Bishop Butt, representing the Holy See and Pope Leo XIII.

Statue of Our Lady

The Sanctuary

All the photos above are from the Shrine website: www.consolation.org.uk, others by Henry Frier

A beautiful painting of Our Lady of Consolation (based on the one from The Shrine Painting in the Basilica of Our Lady of Consolation, Turin) is in a stone canopy to the left of the Sanctuary Arch and has been in place since the end of the 19th century (see below).

Blessed Francis Bell

Alongside Our Lady another great heavenly patron of the Shrine is Blessed Francis Bell, a Franscian Priest and Martyr.   Whilst, for obvious reasons, there are no written records it is believed that Francis Bell spent considerable time at West Grinstead, thus explaining why the Shrine has relics of him and one of the last letters, written in Newgate Gaol, of this great man.   After being captured in Stevenage a month later on 11th December 1643 he was martyred at Tyburn by the cruellest method of being hung, drawn, and quartered for his faith.   One of the indictments against Francis Bell was of his “having said Mass at West Grinstead at one time”.   Blessed Francis Bell was beatified by Pope John Paul II on 22nd November 1987.

Ward Pilgrimage

A group of 24 Bournemouth Pilgrims visited the Shrine on Saturday 10th September, 2005.   A coffee stop en route was made at ‘The White Swan’ Arundel where the opportunity was taken to number one of the coach’s wheels for the Ward’s traditional ‘Wheel-o-Fortune’ which is really a lottery to raise funds.   Fr. David Maddox is seen pointing to the coach wheel.

On arrival we were most warmly welcomed by The Shrine Custodian, Fr. David Goddard. We subsequently visited the Church where we recited The Angelus.   Fr. Goddard gave a Pilgrim address on Our Lady, particularly under the title of “Consolation”.   He referred to The Litany of Loreto by saying it was surprising that this title was not included; but her Consolation was very great throughout Our Lord’s life and to us who seek her prayers, support, and consolation, today.   We then enjoyed our picnic lunches in glorious weather in the spacious grounds. 

In the grounds there are 15-Rosary Stations in a circle (with small mounted carvings representing the 3-traditional Chaplets:  Joyful, Sorrowful, and Glorious)

After the recitation of The Joyful Mysteries of The Rosary Fr. Goddard (who can best be described as “The Hope Patten” of West Grinstead) gave a most interesting talk on the history and conducted two separate groups to view the Priests Hole, Secret Chapel , and some treasures in his custody.

The Secret Chapel




Some of the historic treasures
(1) A reliquary of Blessed Francis Bell;  (2) 16th century Pewter Chalice;  (3) Chalice which belonged to Francis Bell, known as ‘The Martyrs Chalice’ which could be dismantled for travelling;  (4) Slate Altar Stone with the five marked crosses;  (5) Cow-Bell, which could have been rung in penal times to warn the faithful that constables were about looking for dissenters;  and (6) A Final letter written by Blessed Francis Bell, before he was martyred.

At the end of the afternoon Fr. Goddard joined the visitors for tea, kindly provided by the Shrine. Before departure Fr. Goddard reminded us that West Grinstead was a place of grace, he then said the Prayer of Our Lady of Consolation and gave the Bournemouth Pilgrims his blessing.

Fr Goddard and pilgrims take tea



O God, who through the Virgin Mary has willed to give your people the true consolation,
Jesus Christ;  grant to us, who venerate her, under the title of Our Lady of Consolation,
the grace to co-operate with her in the work of Redemption.  

We ask this through Our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with
you and the Holy Spirit;  one God for ever.   Amen.

Our Lady of Consolation of West Grinstead
Pray for us

Fr Goddard, the Administrator of the Shrine of Our Lady of Consolation, would be very happy to hear from other Anglican parishes and groups wishing to make pilgrimage to West Grinstead.

His phone number is 01403 710273; his email address: revdavidgoddard@ukonline.co.uk

The Shrine Website can be visited at www.consolation.org.uk

Henry W. T. Frier
Ward Secretary                                                                     

19 September 2005


Hail Mary full of grace, the Lord is with thee. Blessed art thou amongst women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus. Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners now, and at the hour of our death. Amen.