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The pilgrimage revival: Britain’s historic routes revealed by York academic

Posted on 13 October 2016

A historian from the University of York has written a comprehensive guide on Britain’s most popular pilgrim routes.

Dr Emma Wells, Associate Lecturer in York’s Department of History and Programme Director in Parish Church Studies at the Centre for Lifelong Learning, has spent almost a decade walking and researching the UK’s famous and lesser known pilgrim routes.

Pilgrim Routes of the British Isles offers, for the first time in one guide, illustrated maps and directions, and a commentary on each route’s history, landscape and architecture.

Dr Wells said: "Pilgrimage walks are marching their way back and enjoying an extraordinary revival across Britain. With little really known of these well-trodden paths, this book provides a comprehensive guide to seven of the most notable as well as less familiar pilgrim routes of the British Isles.

“Through a diverse mix of subjects, the book acts as a companion as you take each step and look upon every ancient monument and historic landscape, as the pilgrims of the past did when making their arduous journeys.

“Each reader, whether scholars, ramblers or armchair historians, will gain a foundational understanding of the history, significance and practices surrounding these sacred routes and sites, both from a past perspective and in the present day.”

Janina Ramirez, cultural historian and TV presenter of BBC4’s Saints and Sinners: Britain’s Millennium of Monasteries, said: 'This is a beautifully written and hugely useful book. I'll have a copy tucked under my arm as I revisit these important ancient routes across Britain's historic landscape. Poignant quotes are peppered throughout the text, and the whole book is beautifully illustrated with practical maps for the intrepid explorer.”

A book launch and signing will take place at Waterstones in York from 7.00pm – 8.30pm on Wednesday 19 October, attended by the Lord Mayor of York, Councillor Dave Taylor.

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