New Priest Administrator of Shrine of Our Lady of Walsingham

The next Priest Administrator of the Shrine of Our Lady of Walsingham in Norfolk is to be Father Ben Eadon, the Guardians of the Shrine have announced.

Fr Ben, who is currently the Vicar of St Bartholomew’s and St Paul’s Brighton, will succeed Fr Kevin Smith in the Autumn. Fr Ben was ordained to a curacy in Sunderland and served as Vicar of St Symphorian’s Durrington in Worthing before moving to Brighton.

Speaking on the news of the announcement, Fr Ben said: “Walsingham is a place which I have loved for many years and, like so many Christians, call home, knowing it to be a place in which Our Lady draws us to her son. After every pilgrimage, I return with my faith deepened and nourished, rejoicing in the maternal care of Our Lady of Walsingham.

“I pray that, as I prepare to make an extended pilgrimage as Priest Administrator, all of us who minister at the Shrine may continue to make it a place where people recognise the joy and beauty of our faith.

“I pray too that the Shrine may continue to develop as a place of encounter where new pilgrims and seasoned pilgrims alike may journey together, learning to model our lives on the One who is always faithful and obedient to our Risen Lord. I much look forward to getting to know the Shrine more deeply and welcoming all who seek out this place of prayer and holiness.”

Mrs Ruth Ward, a member of the appointment panel who also serves the Shrine’s governing body said, “Fr Ben impressed us with his people and leadership skills and his strong and compelling vision of the ministry of the Shrine. We are very excited about the gifts he will bring and the direction in which he will lead the Shrine’s ministry.”

The Shrine of Our Lady of Walsingham is located in the Diocese of Norwich and the Bishop of Norwich, the Rt Revd Graham Usher, said,’ “I am delighted that Fr Ben Eadon has been appointed as the next Priest Administrator. He will bring much to the role from his experience as a parish priest and as a regular pilgrim to Walsingham. I have been particularly impressed by his liturgical and pastoral care, his prayerful devotion, and his infectious sense of joy at being a disciple of Jesus Christ. My prayer is that this new ministry entrusted to Fr Ben will bless many people, and that the wider Diocese of Norwich will also be a blessing to him.”

The Bishop of Chichester, the Rt Revd Martin Warner, who is Fr Ben’s current Bishop said, “Fr Ben Eadon is rooted in the life of parishes from the north and south of England that have long had an association with the Shrine of Our Lady of Walsingham. He will bring a pastoral heart, a sense of humour and gracious hospitality, and a spiritual seriousness to his ministry at the Shrine.”


Pilgrimage to the Shrine of Our Lady of Walsingham in Norfolk dates back to around 1061 when the Lady Richeldis of Faverche had a vision of the Holy House in Nazareth where the Virgin Mary received the angel’s visit. After the Reformation, the Anglican Shrine was restored in 1921 and now works under an ecumenical covenant with the Roman Catholic Shrine in the same village.
Around 10,000 pilgrims make a residential pilgrimage to the Shrine of Our Lady of Walsingham each year in addition to numerous day pilgrims, tourists and visitors.
The Shrine is governed by the College of Guardians. The Priest Administrator has day to day responsibility for leadership of the Shrine and its staff team.

Mrs Caroline Ward
Director of Education
Anglican Shrine of Our Lady of Walsingham
Tel: 01328 824205