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'Ladye Park' or 'Our Lady in the Park' Liskeard in Cornwall
Re-establishing the 'Lost Shrine' of 'Our Lady of Cornwall'
Hayl Maria leun a ras ('Hail Mary' prayer in the Cornish language - also the 'Our Father')

read: "The Lost Shrine of Liskeard" An Grerva Gellys a Lyskerrys by Claire Riche
available from the author at 115 Petersfield Rd, Bournemouth, BH7 6QH, Tel +44 (0) 1202423431
current price £9.99 including current postage in UK.  240 pages ISBN 1 901157 63 6 St Austin Press
Contact Claire for other destinations
  Lostshrine@hotmail.com  Cheques payable to L.S.F.
read review | Buy in USA pilgrimages | Novena (page offline due to site rebuild)

Ladye Park, Cornwall, was in Medieval times a great place of Christian Pilgrimage.
The shrine and chapel of Our Ladye of the Park was dissolved during the reformation.

The first pilgrimage since the reformation and the re-hallowing of the site of the shrine of Our Ladye in the Park, Liskeard, on the 29th May 1979 was an outward expression of the inward desire of many Christians for a greater degree of UNITY.

This holy place was dedicated for all time to be a place of ecumenical pilgrimage in Cornwall. We pray that as the ties of friendship deepen and as a material expression of our spiritual desires, a permanent shrine may once more be raised where all may come and join together in worship, fellowship and love.

Return to Layde Park - painting by David Whittley - 1998

 Return to Ladye Park
Painting by David Whittley ~  Oil on Canvas 1998

The painting is a symbol of the resurrection of the chapel and the return of Our Lady to the Park

click on the painting for a larger image

Interpretation - (by the artist): The border represents the Celtic origins of the shrine. The design itself is a symbol of life, with its complicated journey between earthly life and spirituality. This is also reflected by the colours - the green of earth and the gold of the spirit, which forms the path to the chapel.

Top centre are the three white roses representing the Holy Trinity, flanked by the design of fish, the symbol of the spread of Christianity, moving outward to the meeting of the old religions and the new, which embrace, and become one path leading to the entrance of the garden.

The spirit of Our Lady fills the garden and all that enter, with love and light. The dove and white roses all bring peace. The tree is a symbol of the union of body and spirit, with the fruits of knowledge and the blossom of eternal life.

The lily and bees are a reminder of "Kerrid" the old goddess of love and eternal youth, to whom the shrine was originally dedicated.

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With the exception of the Jews, ancient man did not have full knowledge of the one true God or the Blessed Trinity but had an innate insight and awareness of a "creator".   His limited knowledge caused him to believe that there were many gods with many facets both good and bad but he was still able to make the choice between good and evil.  When he followed his conscience ' the god within him' he followed God not yet revealed to him by means of Christianity.

In Cornwall the goddess 'Kerrid' was believed in as a spirit who, though powerful, relied on a 'cauldron of knowledge and inspiration' for her powers.   Her creative thought was understood to come from a higher spirit than herself through the cauldron which was her well.  She was therefore not regarded as all powerful of herself but one who was in direct communication with a higher being.  She was known as the goddess of  love and eternal youth. It was not the eternal youth of hedonistic people today but the eternal youth of of immortal life to be gained by all.  Her symbol was the lily.  She was also linked to the mythical Cretan god Kerr who was said to appear in the form of a bee which bears the sting of death and the honey of love leading to a new life.

Just as Christianity changed the old beliefs of many Gods into the knowledge of a three in one god so did Christianity enlighten the myth of Kerrid relying on "a cauldron of inspiration" presenting instead a true human, a woman, born body and soul into this world, MARY now reigning glorified Queen of Heaven. From this exalted position she is able to intercede for us through her son Jesus to the Father, Son & Holy Spirit and she Mary becomes the fountain of Christian inspiration.

In the painting Mary can be seen, body and spirit rising from the water as that fountain. She holds a rose. The rosary is the ancient battle prayer of the Church. It is a summary of the Gospel which guides those who use it throughout their lives. Each prayer said on the rosary is like the offering of a rose. Mary holds the single rose with love and care, a symbol of how each and every prayer is received.

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PRAYERS FOR CHRISTIAN UNITY (To be said regularly for the full restoration of the Shrine )

Our help is in the name of the Lord, who made heaven and earth. Let us pray.
O God, who art strength unchangeable and Light eternal, look down in mercy on the wondrous mystery of Thy whole church and by the operation of Thy continual Providence accomplish in tranquillity the work of mans salvation; and let the whole world perceive and know that things cast down are being raised up; things grown old are being made new, and all things are returning to their perfection.
Through Him from whom they took their beginning, Jesus Christ Thy Son Our Lord. AMEN

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Ladye Park Pilgrimage - Processional Hymn (1979) Written by Dr. Margaret Pollard 
Sung to the tune of 'Daily, Daily Sing to Mary'
(Traditional Catholic Hymn and the background music on this page)

Ladye Mary, Blessed Mother,
Whom we hail as full of grace,
Whom our Cornish fathers honoured,
In this green and peaceful place,
Pilgrims from the stony moorlands,
Through the rain and wind and dark
Loving Mary, praising Mary,
Lady Mary of the Park.

Poor men tramping, rich men riding,
All Our Lady came to greet:
Wife and widow, youth and maiden,
Gathered at the virgin's feet.
Of God's justice she is mirror,
Of his covenant the ark,
Blessed Mary, Holy Mary,
Lady Mary of the Park

Grazing deer deep in the forest
Heard the pilgrims" joyful song,
And the birds among the branches
Sang in chorus with the throng:
Wren and robin, thrush and blackbird:
And the heavenward-soaring lark
Sang to Mary, Blessed Mary
Lady Mary of the Park.

Now returning, we will praise thee,
For the peril is long past.
Come again O Blessed Mother
And reclaim thy shrine at last.
To the promised Land in safety
God has brought his sacred Ark,
And we praise thee, Blessed Mary,
Lady Mary of the Park

click here for Dr. Margaret Pollard's "Hymn to Our Lady in the Park"

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We stress that the shrine is on private property

currently let and unavailable for pilgrimages, which have only been possible by kind invitation of the owners

The last ANNUAL ECUMENICAL PILGRIMAGE was on Sunday 10th June 2007

In August 2006. Myles Dempsey from "New Dawn" & "The Prince of Peace Community" was the guest speaker with Mike Mulroy and Andy Stayne leading the music ministry.

A well attended annual ecumenical pilgrimage took place on the 12th September 2004. Mass was celebrated beforehand at the Catholic Church of Our Lady & St Neot. Speaker was Miles Dempsey of "New Dawn" who also provided the music ministry with the Cornish Deanery Renewal Team. Full report see News Articles

On the 17th August 2003, the Wintershall Marian Shrine Project... arranged a well attended Ecumenical pilgrimage, praying for reconciliation and Christian renewal in England followed by possibly the first Mass at Ladyepark since the Reformation!  See News Articles below


O Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of God and our most gentle Queen and Mother
look down in mercy upon England, your dowry and upon us all who greatly hope and trust in you.
By you it was that Jesus, our Saviour and our hope, was given to the world;
and he has given you to us that we might hope still more.
Plead for us your children whom you did receive and accept at the foot of the cross.
O sorrowful Mother, Intercede for our separated brethren, that with us in the one true fold,
they may be united to the Chief Shepherd, the vicar of your Son.
Pray for us all, dear mother, that by faith, fruitful in good works, 
we may all deserve to see and praise God together with you
in our heavenly home. Amen

Ladyepark Novena Prayer ( temporarily unavailble due to site rebuild)

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research note contributed August 2012 >> Assumption Fair in ancient Liskeard.

18th April, 1266. Richard, by the Grace of God, Earl of Cornwall, King of the Romans, to all the faithful in Christ, as well present as future, to whom the present writing may come, Greeting in the Lord everlasting:

Know ye that we for us and all our heirs have granted and by this our present charter confirmed to our beloved and faithful men of Liskeret, that they and their heirs for ever shall have one fair every year at our borough of Liskeret to last for three days, to wit, on the vigil, on the day and on the morrow of the Assumption of the blessed Virgin Mary, together with another fair which they have on the feast of the blessed Matthew the apostle and evangelist every year in the said borough. Wherefore we will and firmly command for us and our heirs that our said faithful men and their heirs for ever shall have the said fair every year at our said borough of Liskeret to last for three days with all liberties and free customs to a fair of that sort belonging.

In testimony of which we have sought fit to confirm this our present charter with the seal of our Majesty. These being witnesses, Philip of Bodrugan, Ralph of Heanton, Knights; William of Tregrille, William of Cruttether, John of Greynes and others.

Dated at Chippenham the 18th day of April in the year of Our Lord one thousand two hundred and sixty six.

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Cornish language sites

Cornish societies around the world and genealogy

Misc. Cornish

  • Cornish Tourist Board

  • Cornish World Magazine - Bys Kernowyon (Link broken)

  • Cornish ConneXions (tourism, business and cultural directory which covers many aspects of 'Cornishness' e.g. art, genealogy, history, etc.)

  • Cornwall Cam ~ Superb photographs from Cornwall

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2003 pilgrimage below | see further below for 2004

Our Lady's Dowry being restored

Not so many years ago there was a popular Marian hymn including the words 'Be England thy dowry as in days of yore'.
This year a  group entitling themselves 'The Wintershall Marian Shrine Project' set out to make this prayer a reality. They promised Our Lady they would endeavour to discover and visit as many  ancient Marian shrine sites of England,   as possible, and to pray there for reconciliation and Christian renewal.

Prior to the Reformation such  shrines were dotted all over the country but sadly even their locations have in  many cases  now been forgotten but to date the Marian shrine project has located and visited over fifty. Some visits have consisted of just a handful of worshippers.  Local people have always been encouraged to become involved. An ecumenical aspect has  been stressed wherever possible.

One of the most exciting visits of the project took place between the two great feasts of Our Lady , The Assumption (15th August ) and the Queenship of Our Lady (22 August) This  was a pilgrimage to The Marian Shrine of Our Lady of the Park Liskeard in Cornwall and it took place on 17th August. Two ecumenical processions, one descending via the original Mass Path and one processing along the leafy lane bordering the site converged singing the Ladye Park pilgrimage hymn. An open air Catholic Mass was concelebrated by three priests  in the beautiful grounds  by kind permission of the Anglican owners John & Judith Wilks, but this was not all. The Wilks had felt this year, for the first time drawn to renting out their peaceful home during the Summer months, and as a result a group from the Marian shrine project had the enviable privilege of spending a whole week at this time hallowed spot.

Included in the group staying at Ladye Park was a Catholic priest, so for the first time in 500 years not only was Mass said daily at this historic spot but the Blessed Sacrament was kept  and as much as possible, exposed for adoration in that part of the house which was originally the pre-reformation chapel. The Rosary was prayed daily around the grounds. The stations which were chosen  for each five mysteries were:

1. The original baptistery which was restored, by the present owners, only a few years ago.
2. An area of green foliage through which a babbling stream flows.
3. The site of a new spring  which appeared in 1998  by a lake.
4. A gentle slope leading up to a pine wood, originally part of a royal hunting park and to which deer have returned in the last year.
5. The remains of what is thought to be a first millennium chapel with  tiny niche in the wall for the Blessed Sacrament.

On sale in the house were copies of Claire Riche¹s book 'The Lost Shrine of Liskeard' which tells the story of the rediscovery of the shrine site in 1955, and the efforts which have been made since then to restore it, but both those at the pilgrimage on the 17th, and the privileged  few, who prayed in Ladye Park for the  full week, feel that the years have been rolled back and the shrine of Our Lady of the Park has now truly been reborn.

Contributed by the author

12th SEPT 2004 Pilgrimage

After the usual Sunday 11a.m. Mass in the Catholic parish Church of Our Lady & St Neot, Liskeard, on 12th September 2004, something rather less than usual took place. Parishioners were able to have a double dose, for yet another Mass was to follow on, concelebrated by Fr. Mike Gwinnel and Fr George Roth and some indeed chose to avail themselves of this. It was the celebration of a spiritual phenomenon the facts of which are not yet too widely known, even in Liskeard.

Since well before the Reformation, Ladye Park is authenticated as a centre of pilgrimage according to records gathered by the late Dr Margaret Pollard who, by organising a pilgrimage there in 1979, revived the practice, encouraging its continuation on an ecumenical basis. She felt that Our Lady had urged her in a vision in her home in Truro in 1955 to bring her ‘home’ to Liskeard again. Other than unofficial visits by the interested, it was not until 1998 that the next pilgrimage occurred, with the late Michael Jennings, then secretary of the south western branch of the ESBVM very much at the helm. Since then there has been an unbroken sequence of pilgrimages.

This year, an ever-increasing annual attendance of some 80 pilgrims from all over Cornwall and beyond, among them the Rev. Michael Gwinnel, and the Rev George Roth and three brothers from Lanherne Convent, and a sister or two gathered  with the faithful in the church at Liskeard for a Pilgrims’ Mass.   Music before and during the Mass, on keyboard and guitar, was led by the Cornwall Deanery Renewal Team and "New Dawn", who chose hymns with a distinctly charismatic feel. For this was the first "New Dawn" Day at Liskeard. And this year (each year’s pilgrimage brings its own particular different tone and different range of pilgrim Christians), the tone was seriously charismatic even if not everyone involved was necessarily accustomed to this manner of praising the Creator.

Fr. Gwinnel pertinently reminded the congregation that the woman referred to by Jesus in the Gospel had lit a candle when setting off around her house in search of the lost drachma among her ten, and yet the candles on the altar for the Mass had accidentally remained unlit. This certainly reminded us that we needed to light a candle since we were searching for something lost and yet more valuable. It was Greek family tradition that it was the lady of the house who was the one to light the candle and it was Mary that would bring us the light of Christ. ‘Peggy’ Pollard (Dr. Margaret) believed it was the Mother of God who had urged her to devote much of her life’s energy to the work of bringing Her back to her home in Liskeard. Blessed Mary had long ago supplanted the pagan goddess, Kerrid, who seems to have held sway in Liskeard since the town’s Cornish name appears to signify ‘Court of Kerrid’. For the chantry of Ladye Park was founded in a Royal Deer Park and, according to records, appears to have become the once flourishing target of pilgrimage in mediaeval times. Unfortunately, the pilgrimage had gradually been allowed to fall into disuse, and the chapel and baptistery had long been ruins, until Dr Pollard, open to Mary’s call, took up her cause. Now it was our turn in a secular world to continue the work of making God central to our environment, through the most pure heart of  His mother, Mary.

Those present were scarcely aware that the end of the Mass had exceeded the expected time allocated for taking lunch. Thus, with barely half an hour having elapsed, pilgrims were on the move, starting down West Street to Old Liskeard Road. Once arrived at the edge of a green valley where it was possible to overlook the renovated farmhouse in the grounds of Ladye Park surrounded by trees, we left the roads and started down a dark, steep, narrow lane, well known traditionally in Liskeard as the Mass Path for it once led to celebration of the Eucharist at Ladye Park. Some chose to say the Rosary as they wended their hallowed way. At the base of the valley, amid the leaves, the stonework of the House eventually came into view, but pilgrims made their way up the lane to Moorswater and met up with those who had not seen fit to chance their unsteady feet along the Mass Path. 

Here then at about 3pm, began a short procession of some 100 assembled pilgrims along a tranquil country lane with banners to the grounds of Ladye Park, 500 yards or so along the lane. The band of pilgrims began by singing Dr Margaret Pollard’s words set to the tune of ‘Daily, Daily, Sing to Mary’:

‘Lady Mary, Blessed Mother, 
Whom we hail as full of grace, 
Whom our Cornish fathers honoured
In this green and peaceful place.

Pilgrims from the stony moorlands
Through the rain and wind and dark,
Loving Mary, praising Mary
Lady Mary of the Park.’

Peggy’s own composition followed: ‘Come, O Queen, into your garden…’ with a chorus appropriately in Cornish. 

Presently, the band of pilgrims arrived at the entrance of Ladye Park and were greeted warmly by owners of the property, Mr and Mrs Wilks. Under a small canopy, the two musicians from "New Dawn" and the Cornish Deanery Renewal Team once more led the gathered pilgrims with their heart-felt renderings as pilgrims drank in the peace and serenity of Ladye  Park. Some wished to be immersed in the spiritual music, and others to stroll by the lake and woodland in a solitary state of prayer. The rain tried to fall but became no more than intermittent spitting of drizzle. Playing it safe, however, all but the speaker, stationed under the canopy, repaired to the shelter of trees. These have long since replaced the roof of the former chapel, though some vestiges remain as features in the structure of the former farmhouse, something of the wall believed to have stood behind the altar, and a well at the Chapel’s once corner.

At this point, pilgrims received an inspiring talk by charismatic speaker from "New Dawn", Miles Dempsey, who put into perspective Mary’s role as Mother of God in the light of the Old and New Testament, and our purpose in revering her here at Ladye Park. The words of Christ to John and Mary standing together beneath the Cross did not merely mean ‘Son look after your Mother’ but suggested we should all make a special place for Mary in our hearts and homes. With our reception of the Holy Eucharist our Mass was not over but had begun and should translate itself into our day or week’s actions.

Myles asked if his listeners truly wanted to welcome the Holy Spirit and kindly offered to lay hands on those who did and to pray for them. It was an experience that filled many of those with such peaceful relaxation in the face of the Holy Spirit that they felt their bodies give way and they were cradled gently to the ground by others. 

After an afternoon of concentrated spirituality, Mr & Mrs Wilks now generously encouraged their pilgrim guests to partake of their hospitality within the former farmhouse which they have so beautifully renovated. Everyone enjoyed the convivial atmosphere, with a cup of tea/coffee and cake or buns, gently winding down before making their way to homes in Cornish localities or ‘up country’.

Philip Knight

A report by Claire Riche based on Philip's article above with added info was published in Independent Catholic News on 17th Sept 2004 & now appears unavailable online.

We may add a section of shrine and pilgrimage photographs.

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Hymn to Our Lady in the Park
(by Dr. Margaret Pollard - also music)

1. Come O Queen into your garden,
Lady like the moon in beauty,
Lady like the sun in glory,
Like an army bright with banners.
Stair by which the Lord descended,
Burning Bush revealed to Moses,
Land of Promise! Field of mercies!
Hear your children’s song of praise.

(Chorus - in Cornish
Hayl Maria ! Hayl Maria !
Koel orthyn warnas ow kria,
Agan lelder owth afia,
Hayl Maria leun a ras !
(Translation:- Hail Mary; Hail Mary, Heed us as we call to You, Our Loyalty affirming, Hail Mary full of grace.)

2. Come O Queen into your garden,
Bluebell - carpet spread beneath you,
Chestnut blossom arched above you,
Blackbird singing for your welcome;
Breathing out a richer perfume
Than the best of balm and balsam.
Rose of Sharon! Fragrant lily!
Hear your children’s song of praise.

3. Mother both of Lamb and Shepherd
Lead your faithful sheep to pasture.
Lead the straying sheep to Jesus.
To the meadow of salvation;
To your Son. O Mother Mary.
To the well of living water.
Sinners Refuge! Help of Christians!
Hear your children’s song of praise.

4. Of Fair Love she is the mother
Holy hope and fear and knowledge.
She was chosen by the Father
To bestow his grace upon us.
Morning star that brings the sunrise.
Gate of Paradise is Mary;
Clement Virgin! Queen of angels!
Hear your children’s song of praise.

5. In the clearing of the forest
Shrine and spring to her were sacred.
Thither came a host of pilgrims
As we come today to greet her.
In the Royal Park of Mary
Safely feeds the flock of Jesus
Faithful Virgin! Wondrous Mother!
Hear your children’s song of praise.

6. Set your foot upon the serpent.
Sinless Virgin. intercessor.
Wrap your veil about the lonely.
Clasp the sinner to your bosom.
Tell your Son the wine is failing.
Tell us how to do His bidding.
Queen of Martyrs! Tower of David!
Hear your children's song of praise.

7. In your hand are sweet surprises.
Mercies not of our deserving;
She whose heart was pierced with sorrow
Best can read our secret longings.
Tried and tested was your patience.
You were blest for your believing.
Mourners' Comfort! Seat of Wisdom!
Hear your children’s song of praise.

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