If you aren’t able to travel much this summer, don’t worry, our English (and Irish) Pilgrimage Reading List will take you around England’s main Pilgrimage sites via our recommended books about the places and people who lived there!
Pilgrim Reading List:
Canterbury – The Canterbury Tales by Geoffrey Chaucer
This classic collection of tales told by pilgrims walking the route to the shrine of St Thomas Becket in Canterbury shouldn’t be missed by any, whether you are intending to visit the medieval town or not. But watch out for the Wife of Bath – her sense of humour is a little on the lewd side!
Croagh Patrick – St Patrick: His Confession & Other Works
According to legend, St Patrick fasted on this mountain in County Mayo for 40 days, and supposedly banished the snakes from Ireland from its summit. There is a pilgrim route you can walk (click here for more information about visiting), but whether or not you are up to hiking the trail, why not read St Patrick’s own confession and letters? The book also includes a collection of prayers and novena to the Emerald Isle’s Patron Saint.
Glastonbury – Glastonbury: A Pilgrim’s Companion by David Baldwin
You probably know Glastonbury for its notoriously muddy music festival, but did you know it also houses the oldest Marian Shrine north of the Alps? This pocket guide will give you an insight to the rich history of the place as well as some handy travel tips!
Iona – Saint Columba: His Life and Legacy by Brian Lacey
The Isle of Iona has a rich Catholic history, with an early monastic community founded there by St Columba himself in 563AD (If you are interested in visiting the isle, you can find more information here). However, there is a great deal of myth surrounding this early voyager. Brian Lacey attempts to sort fact from fiction in this fascinating look at the visible traces left from his travels.
Knock – The Lamb Will Conquer: Reflections on the Knock Apparition by Nigel Woollen
Knock is Ireland’s national Marian Shrine. Also in County Mayo, it is a testament to the apparition of Our Lady, St Joseph and St John the Evangelist to local villagers. You can find out a lot more about the apparitions and how to visit by clicking here, but for meditations on the meaning of these apparitions, we suggest Nigel Woollen’s short book The Lamb will Conquer.
Lindesfarne – Footprints of the Northern Saints by Basil Cardinal Hume
Although not specifically about the Holy Isle, Basil Hume invites us to explore the North with the early saints of his homeland, including St Aidan, who founded the monastic community at Lindisfarne in 635 AD, and St Cuthbert, who was Prior there. Click here for more on visiting Lindisfarne.
Walsingham – Edith the Fair: Visionary of Walsingham By Bill Flint
Known as England’s Nazareth, Walsingham is probably the most visited Marian shrine in England, and is the National Shrine. Edith the Fair is the first attempt to identify the original visionary of Walsingham, and the founding of the shrine.
York – Margaret Clitherow: Pearl of York by Margaret T Monroe
This fascinating book explores the story of York’s most famous martyr, executed under Elizabeth I for hiding Catholic priests.
Although there are plenty more pilgrimage places to visit in England and Ireland, these are some of the main ones. For more recommendations make sure you are following us on Facebook and Twitter over the summer for our full Festival of Travel: @CTSbookshopLdn!
Let us know what you think of our Pilgrim Reading List in the comments below, and don’t forget to subscribe for more topographical recommendations in the weeks to come as we continue to explore the world by book!
Coming up next – English Fiction – Summer reading recommendations!