The Reliquary

The reliquary in Ladyewell House holds many relics and memorabilia of our glorified Martyrs. Among them is the Burgess altar

Fr. Hoole and Deacon John Monk viewing the restored reliquary

Fr. Hoole and Deacon John Monk viewing the restored reliquary

which is also called the Old Mission altar. This was made by Mr Burgess in 1560 at the request of John Townley of Townley Hall, Burnley. The sight of it and its history is enthralling. St. Edmund Campion, St. Edmund Arrowsmith and Blessed John Woodcock offered the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass on this altar which was made to fold away like a sideboard. (There is a pamphlet for sale at Ladyewell, ‘The Old Mission Altar’).

The most recent treasures at Ladyewell are authenticated relics of St Thomas a Becket, Archbishop of Canterbury.  One of England’s greatest Saints, he was martyred 30th December, 1170, in Canterbury Cathedral, which soon became a scene of miracles and was the most famous place of pilgrimage in England.

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His tomb was desecrated during the Reformation and his bones disappeared. There are many hypotheses as to the whereabouts of St. Thomas’s bones.  We do know, however, that some were taken to Italy by monks wearing lay clothes. They were taken to the places where St Thomas had been when in exile in Italy.  One such place was Castelfiorentino in the province of Florence. He consecrated a church there and was much loved by the people.  When the relics were taken there, devotion to him increased.  Alas, with the passage of time, this devotion in Castelfiorentino has waned.  Hopefully, Ladyewell will become a great centre of devotion to this great English Saint.  Our Lady’s title at Ladyewell is “Our Lady of Fernyhalgh, Queen of Martyrs.”


Tuesday to Saturday
10am - 5pm

House closed. Grounds and prayer room open.
Wed, Thu Fri & Sat
10am to 3.30pm

House closed. Grounds and prayer room open.
Sunday Masses at St. Mary’s – 10am and 3pmFriday and Saturday Masses at Ladyewell - 12noon
How to Book Your Visit

If you are wishing to book a visit, please use the link below.