Marian statue may be medieval
From Church Times:
The most famous Marian image in medieval England, which was believed to have been burned in the 16th century, could be safe and sound at the Victorian and Albert Museum, two historians have said.
The image of Our Lady of Walsingham — a simple wooden statue that stood beside the altar of Walsingham’s Holy House — was believed to have been burned in 1539, in London, either in the courtyard of Thomas Cromwell’s house in Chelsea, or at Smithfield.
But it has long been recognised that a 13th-century statue of the Madonna and Child at the V&A, known as the Langham Madonna, bears a striking resemblance to the image of Our Lady of Walsingham on the priory seal.
In 1931, six years after it was acquired by the museum, Henry Joy Fynes-Clinton, one of the founding guardians of the Anglican Shrine at Walsingham, wrote in The Tablet of the discovery of a carved wooden figure “in an old house near Walsingham”. It could be a copy of the Walsingham image, he suggested, or even the original, “saved perhaps as other relics and holy things, by means of substitution being made for the purposes of satisfying the desecrators”.
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