Sunday, September 18, 2016

St Edith's Well... Kemsing in Kent  has been a place of pilgrimage for centuries. I always love to go there for her feast-day. This year, I went to Mass In London, and then caught the train from London Bridge to Otford, picnic-lunching on the way as we whooshed down through the suburbs and out into the countryside... and then I walked the last two miles to Kemsing along the Pilgrim Way.  There is a more pleasant route through the woods but I thought I had better stick to the road - which was by no means the safer decision, as the cars whizz along these country troads and of course there is no pavement or pathway except where people have made one in front of their garden...

I prayed the Rosary, and at times in a slightly panicky way as cars roared along...and then turned gratefully down towards the village itself, picking some blackberries to finish off my lunch as I went.

The Well is at the end of the High Street, right by the pub. The War Memorial stands alongside, and all is lovingly tended.  The well has a mesh cover, but you can still bath your eyes (people invoke the prayers of St Edith against eye infections) in the clear running water of the little stream.

As always, a good crowd gathered: we sang the St Edith hymn, prayed the Rosary and recieved a blessing. A cool September afternoon, trees rustling, and the Well bright with posies of flowers brought there by the village children that morning.   Then off to a splendid Tea in the pub, with delicious cake provided by the people who have recently bought up the old Post Office and are turning it into a family restaurant. Over tea, we watched some clips from the really excellent new DVD which features Frs Marcus Holden and Nicholas Schofield walking the pilgrim route to Canterbury - with of course a stop at ke msing on the way. Hugely recommended.

St Edith of Kemsing was a Saxon princess who renounced the possibility of the throne - she could have been England's first Queen Regnant - for a life of prayer and service to the poor and sick...

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