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Our Lady of the Crag, Knaresborough

16th October 2017

Our Lady of the Crag, Knaresborough Our Lady of the Crag, Knaresborough

Each year, the St Wilfrid's Way 'Camino' which culminates in our now annual Diocesan Pilgrimage to Ripon Cathedral will follow a slightly different route to take in a different aspect of the rich history and heritage to be found in the Diocese of Leeds.  This year, there's a wonderful opportunity to see inside and even attend Mass at the mediaeval chapel of Our Lady of the Crag in Knaresborough. 


Immortalised in verse by William Wordsworth, this tiny chapel is one of Britain’s oldest wayside shrines and lies a stone's throw from the River Nidd, about half a mile from the centre of Knaresborough. It was carved from the cliff face by John the Mason in 1408.  The story goes that John’s son was in the path of what would have been a fatal rock fall at the nearby sandstone quarry. John quickly prayed that Our Lady would intercede with her Son; his boy emerged unscathed and so in thanksgiving, John used his stonemason’s skills to craft this miniature masterpiece, complete with altar, niches and vaulted ceiling, all hewn from the living rock.


The Chapel is ‘guarded’ by a life-sized relief in the front wall of one in the armour of a Knight Templar: sporting truly impressive moustaches and ‘in the act of drawing his sword to defend the place from the violence of rude intruders’!


Today, the Shrine has an award-winning garden, growing plants associated with healing, with the Blessed Virgin and with the mediaeval Saints.


The special opening times fit in with the schedule of those walking St Wilfrid's Way, so that all can experience our Pilgrimage in community, regardless of how they choose to travel any part of the Camino.


Here’s the schedule of opening times at the Shrine:


Monday, 16th October - The Chapel will be open between 4.00 and 6.00 pm.  Weather permitting, join the walkers for a Decade of the Rosary as they pass the Chapel at 4.45pm, followed by light refreshments at St Mary's Parish Centre, Knaresborough before a 6.30 pm Pilgrims' Mass at St Mary's Catholic Church.  ALL are welcome!

(N.B. The dim lighting and steep steps and pathways can make it unsafe to try and access the Chapel when daylight is dwindling.)


Tuesday, 17th October - 9.00 am for a 9.30 Pilgrims' Mass at the Chapel of Our Lady of the Crag, after which the Shrine will be open until 12.00 noon.


Wednesday, 18th October – After the Mass at Ripon Cathedral, for those wishing to return home from Ripon via Knaresborough, the Shrine will be open between 2.00 and 4.00 pm.


For more information on this tiny mediaeval treasure, please visit the website: http://chapelofourladyofthecrag.btck.co.uk/


Directions: The Chapel is in Abbey Road, Knaresborough HG5 8HY, about 150 yards from the Low Bridge end by the Half Moon pub. If walking from this end of the road (i.e. from north to south), it is on the left hand side as you look up at the crag (the River Nidd to your right).  Parking is available in the public car park on Abbey Road.


With many thanks to all the Trustees of the Chapel of Our Lady of the Crag Trust, who have kindly offered to open the Chapel especially for our Diocese of Leeds pilgrims!