The Paulinus Project

Recently, there has been a remarkable resurgence in the interest in pilgrimage. There are now a vast number of websites and publications for pilgrims to access.
In our increasingly secular times, some scholars argue that involvement in pilgrimage increases as church going diminishes. Whatever the truth, 6,000 shrines and sites in Western Europe, including Britain, now draw in as many as a hundred million pilgrims annually. In 2000, there were 13 recognised pilgrim routes around Britain.
What appears to be emerging is a new style of pilgrimage for the 21st century.
Tina Clayton, In the Footsteps of Paulinus 

Tina Clayton is a teacher and academic. Three years ago she and her husband Stuart were researching early Christianity in the north of Britain, out of personal curiosity. They became ‘side-tracked’ into looking at Augustine, and then stumbled across the fascinating, little-known figure of Paulinus. It was a tantalising diversion, so they decided to follow it. And as they ventured further down the path, clear and astonishing patterns started to emerge. What had started as a diversion now became the journey – and a whole pilgrimage in its own right.

They knew that Paulinus had covered remarkable distances on his missionary travels, and he is documented to have been to Whalley in Lancashire and Dewsbury in Yorkshire. The question was, which route did he take between the two? It became evident that he would have steered clear of the inhospitable and inaccessible lands of what is now central Lancashire and Yorkshire, so they realised that he had probably crossed the South Pennines. But where?
Wherever he had taken the Christian message, Paulinus had erected a cross. There is a line of them – with one at Whalley and another at Dewsbury. But were there missing links between the two? Incredibly, their home town of Todmorden turned out to be a link, when Tina and Stuart realised that a simple stone cross in the tiny settlement of Shore, above Cornholme, is almost certain to be one of the Paulinus Crosses. It was a thrilling discovery, that meant that Tina and Stuart were able to trace Paulinus’s missionary routes around King Edwin’s Northumbria.
In the three years since making their discovery, Tina has devoted her spare time to writing a book about Paulinus and pilgrimage in the widest sense. Meanwhile calligrapher and illustrator Stuart has created beautiful and intricate maps, in the style of 18th-century strip maps, to go alongside her words. He has created three overview maps for the three possible routes, as well as 14 route maps – for walkers, drivers, cyclists and even boaters!
Together with the people of their church, St Mary’s Todmorden, Tina and Stuart are also ensuring that the Pilgrimage and Heritage Trail is brought to life for modern-day pilgrims. All this hard work will come to fruition on the last weekend of August, with the launch of the modern-day Paulinus Way, when the first group of pilgrims will set off to retrace the missionary’s footsteps to York. They will be greeted a week and 65 miles later by the Archbishop of York.