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A Good Knight’s Sleep

The miraculous medieval roots of modern Champing

By Volunteer, Philip Box

Looking back at the striking parallels from medieval times, and what they can mean for those seeking an adventure today.

Stones with Stories…

A Cistercian Monk tells us the story of a knight named Henry, who developed a fondness for sleeping on a particular church paving stone.

Henry eventually decided to approach the Abbot, and request to take the stone home for his own bed. According to Henry, anyone suffering insomnia should simply lay their head upon the stone and thus would immediately fall asleep.

As this story shows, for many a medieval sightseer, a visit (or pilgrimage) to a church was not merely to admire the architecture: rather the aim was often to sleep within the precinct, with the hope of a miraculous cure.

Following in Medieval Footsteps

Approximately seven-hundred years later, Champing™ offers the chance to relive this medieval experience, by staying in some of the CCT’s most atmospheric churches.

Although one medieval noble once suggested that the stone floor of the Church of Hemmenrode was more comfortable than any bed in his castle, Champing™ comes with the reassurance of modern conveniences. This includes bedding (insomnia-curing stone not included), breakfast and cleaning services [See More].

Medieval champing was not just a fringe trend, for the medieval visitor would often find the churches packed to the rafters with pilgrims in all states of health.

A first-hand account offers a vivid insight into the veritable scrum that greeted the aspiring medieval Champer.

So many Pilgrims had come, by roads and by paths
that it was a great marvel.
Each night they kept vigil, and there were so many in the church
that all of them could not be accommodated there.
But the greatest part had to sleep in the cloister
and eat there in the evening.
Each place was totally filled with male and female Pilgrims.[1]

Unlike the authentic medieval experience, champing™ offers the privacy and peaceful seclusion of having the church to yourself.

Whether as part of your own walking holiday, modern pilgrimage or short stop, Champing™ offers a rare glimpse into a lost word, and the chance to share in an historic experience.

Planning your medieval adventure

For more information on Champing™ or the history of our churches please visit our websites and stay tuned for announcements on social media.


[1] Dawn Marie Hayes, Body and sacred place in medieval Europe 1100–1389 (London: Routledge, 2004), p57 footnote 28-9.

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