In 1061 Richeldis de Faverches had a vision of Our Lady in which she was led in spirit to Nazareth. Our Lady showed her the house where the Annunciation occurred, and asked her to build a replica in Walsingham to serve as a perpetual memorial of the Annunciation. The image of Our Lady developed much later and so from the earliest days the primary focus had been this humble home. It was to this little wooden chapel that generations of pilgrims made their way.
The first major Catholic development at Walsingham after the reformation was the opening of the Pontifical Shrine at Kings Lynn in 1897. Here a Lady Chapel was constructed to the original dimensions of the Holy House in Loretto and so the first attempt to establish a shrine had the Holy House as a the main focus. Since the likeness of the original Walsingham statue was not known at the time, the Pope directed that a new statue be copied from the picture of Our Lady venerated in the Roman Church of Santa Maria in Cosmedin.