John Schorne, a canon from Dunstable Priory*, was the rector of North Marston church from 1282 to 1314. It was believed he performed a number of miracles including “discovering” a spring of fresh water at a time of great drought. The spring became a holy well with famed healing properties and after his death in 1314 hundreds of pilgrims visited the village for the water´s curative power and to visit his shrine at the church. For two centuries after his death North Marston became the third most popular centre for pilgrimage in England ; even King Henry VIII came to the village twice! Income to the church rose from £6 pa to £500 pa: the equivalent today of over two and a half million pounds a year!
*To see more about the history of Dunstable Priory, click here.
John Schorne´s Holy Well is in Schorne Lane and is worth a visit to see the devil rising from the boot. If you’d like to buy a pilgrim badge or a booklet with more information about Schorne and the pilgrims, visit our Projects and Publications page.