Pilgrimage to span Two Kingdoms

Published: 30th June 2021

Chad statue

A 475-mile pilgrimage in the footsteps of Lichfield’s first bishop, St Chad, begins on Lindisfarne this weekend and is set to reach the Midlands early next year.

The trek will span the two ancient kingdoms of Northumbria and Mercia and large stretches of it will be covered by groups of walkers in a relay system.

It is part of a range of activities – including the unveiling of the St Chad statue in the new Hope Garden at Lichfield Cathedral last Saturday (pictured above with the current Bishop of Lichfield) – to mark the 1,350th anniversary of St Chad’s death in 672.

The first group of walkers will gather at Lindisfarne Priory on Holy Island at dawn this Sunday 4 July and then spend a week walking 85 miles to Jarrow. Pilgrims will travel along the East Coast to Whitby, across the North York Moors into York and then following the River Trent through the East Midlands into the Diocese of Lichfield in early 2022, eventually reaching Lichfield to celebrate St Chad’s Day at Lichfield Cathedral on 2 March. The pilgrims will carry with them a portable reproduction of part of the eighth-century St Chad Gospels book.

St Chad’s monastic formation took place on Lindisfarne but he left the nation of Northumbria - refusing to travel by horse and only on foot - to bring the gospel to the rival nation of Mercia, settling in Lichfield. Following his death, he was buried at the Church of St Mary which later became part of Lichfield Cathedral.

Chad’s successor, the 99th Bishop of Lichfield, the Rt Revd Dr Michael Ipgrave, said: “This ambitious pilgrimage will commemorate the lengthy and often perilous journey of St Chad from his home in Northumbria to the pagan nation of Mercia.

“At a time where travel across borders has been limited, and walls of separation remain, this reminder that Chad crossed boundaries to bring two hostile kingdoms together is timely.

“I look forward to joining the pilgrimage for part of the journey later this summer and to welcoming walkers into our diocese, and to Lichfield itself to celebrate the 1,350th anniversary of St Chad’s death next March.”

More details about the pilgrimage’s route will be available on our website. For more information about joining part of the walk email twokingdomsway@gmail.com

Page last updated: Thursday 8th July 2021 10:00 AM
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