Labyrinth

Solvitur ambulando – It is solved by walking (St Augustine of Hippo)

From medieval times, pilgrimage has been important in Christian spirituality.  While arriving at the destination (usually the shrine of a saint or a significant place in the life of Christ or the saints) was the main goal, it was also recognised that the walk or journey was also a vital part of the pilgrimage.  For some, long walks were difficult.  So the habit of prayerful and meditative walking in one place developed.  Initially this could be as simple as monks and nuns walking around the cloisters of their abbey or convent.  In time, the practice was extended.  In this context, labyrinths became popular from the Middle Ages.

One of the most famous Christian labyrinths was at Chartres Cathedral in France.  Interestingly, Chartres Cathedral was, itself, a great site of pilgrimage.  As the Cathedral was rebuilt (c. 1220 C.E.) to accommodate the many pilgrims, a labyrinth was installed in the floor.

The labyrinth at Wollaston is a scaled replica of the Chartres Labyrinth. It was built because, increasingly, churches and other people interested in the inner human journey are discovering the value of walking and praying. As the Wollaston Labyrinth is outdoors, though at the side of the Chapel, people are welcome to walk it at any time.  Groups wishing to use it, however, should contact the College to make a booking.

Some people have developed ways to understand the labyrinth journey that you might find helpful. You can find further information in Guidelines for Walking the Labyrinth.