More Information about The Paulinus Way:
We all know when something unique and special presents itself to us - “Out of the Blue” - when it is least expected. This happened at St Mary’s Church Todmorden during the early summer of 2008.
It was whilst researching the Augustine Mission, that the Northern Mission of Paulinus, came under closer scrutiny. Paulinus was a remarkable man, he was known to have baptised tens of thousands to the Christian Faith. In fact, the River Swale, became known as England’s River Jordan! He often travelled through difficult and dangerous circumstances after converting King Edwin. Nevertheless, his determination, earned him the peoples title “God’s Apostle in the North”. He is a good role model for these difficult 21st Century times!
Evidence of the Paulinus Mission comes mainly from Bede, The Anglo Saxon Chronicles, Documents such as The Statute of Blackburnshire, Paulinus Crosses and local tradition. Because of the very nature off those times, records are difficult to track down.
However, it was whilst looking at such evidence, that a pattern began to emerge regarding the places associated with Paulinus and the routes he would have taken. By looking at the destinations of Paulinus in a “New Way”, Tina and Stuart have been able to recreate for the first time, what is probably his missionary route in old Northumbria, a route that has not been undertaken for Centuries - in what we now know as Yorkshire, Lancashire and Northumbria.
Amazingly, Todmorden on the border of Yorkshire and Lancashire, links Paulinus’s destinations in the East, with those in the West. The long unrecognised Paulinus Cross here in Todmorden, points the Way!
Rev Canon Owen Page and the PCC at St Mary’s Church, recognised the importance of the discovery for both the region and the Diocese. St Mary’s Church Todmorden, became the home of “The Paulinus Way Project”, which has created a brand new Pilgrim and Heritage Way for The 21st Century. The new route “Follows in the Footsteps of St Paulinus.” and is is called “The Paulinus Pilgrim and Heritage Way”. It begins in Todmorden and ends at York Minster, the See of Paulinus, its first Bishop.
“The Paulinus Way Project Team”, were very aware that there has been a remarkable resurgence in the interest in Pilgrimage, there are 6,ooo Shrines and Holy sites in Europe including Britain, with 100 million pilgrims visiting annually.
However, there are only 13 recognised Pilgrim Ways recognised in Britain, those in England, are mainly in the South centred round such Holy Sites as Canterbury. York, despite its vast history and heritage, does not have its own dedicated Pilgrim Way, as original routes, have been lost in the mists of time. The New Paulinus Pilgrim and Heritage Way, would be the first dedicated Pilgrim Way for York.
“The Paulinus Way Project” has the support of The Archbishop of York, The Lord Bishop of Wakefield, Calderdale M.B.C. and Todmorden Town Council.