The Shrine of Julian of Norwich
The church of St Julian, Bishop of Le Mans, in the Parish of St John the Baptist, Timberhill, is the second of the two churches within the parish open for regular Anglican worship. St Julian's Church is very much alive and active as a church for the local community, and also forms the Shrine of the great 14th century mystic Julian of Norwich.
The original church building was one of the oldest in the city and was probably standing before the Norman conquest. It is thought that because of its proximity to the river, the patron of the church may have been St Julian the Hospitaller, who was the patron saint of ferrymen. When the church was rebuilt following the destruction of the mediaeval church by enemy action during the Second World War, it was rededicated in honour of St Julian, Bishop of Le Mans.
The church is open daily and continues to welcome people from around the city and across the world for prayer, quiet and visiting.
Who was Julian of Norwich?
Very little is known of her early life, not even her real name. What we know about her is gleaned from her book and from other contemporary writings. She was born in 1342 during the time of the Black Death. This was an unpleasant age to live in England. The Black Death or plague led to very bad social conditions and the oppression of the poor; there was a shortage of labour, high taxes and bad harvests, prices were soaring and unrest was bound to follow. The climax of this unrest was the Peasants Revolt in 1381. The wider Church was also in a sorry state: the Religious Orders were at loggerheads, the Papacy had left Rome and was in exile at Avignon in France, and not half a mile from St Julian's Church, the early followers of the Protestant John Wycliff, the Lollards, were being burnt in the Lollards Pit, just the other side of the river.
It is into this dire situation that the girl we know as Julian of Norwich who calls herself a simple, unlettered creature, comes bringing with her a message of divine love and hope. Find out more here.
Services at St Julian's Church
Mass is celebrated regularly at St Julian's, and Evening Prayer is said most evenings. Click here to see the service times. Additional services can also be arranged for visiting groups, by arrangement with the Parish Priest.