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St. Candida & St. Wite, Whitchurch Canonicorum

August 27, 2014

St. Candida & St. Wite, Whitchurch Canonicorum

DSCF9330DSCF9331Another special church – Dorset is a good county to visit! This also features in ‘1000 Best Churches’ and is known as ‘The Cathedral of the Vale.’. I nearly didn’t get in because the church was locked, despite a sign in the porch saying it was open every day. Some other prospective visitors had phoned the warden who came along and was very knowledgeable and gave us a tour.

This church must get lots of visitors but as usual only a few had signed the visitors book – 19 in July. There were nearly that number when I was there! To help counting there is a simple scheme here, new to me. Each visitor is asked to place a stone or other ‘token’ into a basket. Simple but effective. I strongly suspect that many churches just do not know how many visitors they get and might be surprised if they did know how many came in. This might be an idea worth trying out.

DSCF9332There are drinks for visitors here also and a guide book some cards of St. Wite’s shrine as well as a Pilgrimage Trail for the Golden Cap Team – a suggestion hat all 12 churches would be worth visiting. This is shown on a leaflet with a map and a few words about what to see in each place. This had been funded by The Aldhelm Mission Fund via the Diocese. A great idea. A good website can be found at http://www.cathedralofthevale.co.uk/ with plenty of visitor information.

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What is really special here is the shrine of St. Wite – this houses the remains of the saint. Once a fairly common feature but now only shared with Westminster Abbey as the rest were destroyed at the Reformation. Pilgrims still visit here are ask for healing – prayers are left at the shrine and a selection of these are prayed for at the services here. This makes this a very special place indeed. There are some suggested prayers but the shrine was obviously well visited. I rate this special place as very good.

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Prayers left at St. Wite's shrine

Prayers left at St. Wite’s shrine

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