Shrine History


The origins of the Shrine of Our Lady in Caversham are a mystery.  We know that by the time of the Norman Conquest there was a shrine chapel beside the River Thames, containing a statue of Our Blessed Lady, and that pilgrims came there to pray.

The reasons why people came on pilgrimage is unknown.

Henry’s break with Rome meant the destruction of all religious houses and shrines and so, on 14th September 1538,  Henry’s agent arrived at Caversham and, in a single day, closed down the Shrine,   The statue was sent up to Thomas Cromwell in London where it was burnt.

Revival of devotion to Our Lady of Caversham began in 1897, the year following the foundation of the Parish of Our Lady and St. Anne.

In the Marian Year of 1954 a stone chapel was built, and a large oak statue of Our Lady and Child  was purchased  This statue shows Mary nursing the infant Christ; The renewed Shrine of Our Lady of Caversham was solemnly blessed and dedicated by Archbishop Francis Grimshaw of Birmingham in 1958.

To complete the link with the Medieval shrine, in 1996, to celebrate the centenary of the parish, a gold and silver crown was made for the statue, and blessed by Pope John Paul II during a parish pilgrimage to Rome.  The statue was solemnly crowned by the Papal Nuncio, Archbishop Barbarito, on 20th July 1996.

Today groups and individuals come regularly to pray to Our Blessed Mother at her Shrine.    For further information about the shrine, or opportunities to visit, please contact the :

More information is available via the following link:  Timeline 

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