Our History

The CSJ was first started by six men and women in 1983, all of whom shared a passion for the Camino de Santiago and took it upon themselves to educate the British public about the extraordinary but little-known Way of St James. 

Rob, Mary, Jocelyn, Ian, Pat and Peter quickly began to recruit others to their cause and link up with academics and pilgrimage experts across Europe to bring more attention to the Camino in the UK. 

Similar in both mission and operation to the French Confrèries de Saint-Jacques and the Spanish Cofradías de Santiago, we were named the Confraternity of St James

At that time, the CSJ was the only UK body offering either practical or educational information on the various pilgrim roads to Santiago. Our volunteers wrote guidebooks, published research papers, held talks and conferences and began to create a small community of British Camino pilgrims. We also became the only place in the UK where Camino pilgrims could get an accredited pilgrim credencial - an accolade that's still the case today.

In 1991, the members of the CSJ UK opened our first pilgrim hostel (albergue) in Rabanal del Camino on the Camino Francés. In 2010, we opened our second in Miraz on the Camino del Norte. Every year since, we have sent our own trained members to provide welcome and hospitality to pilgrims currently on their caminos!

Refugio Gaucelmo at Rabanal del Camino

Nowadays, the CSJ is a registered charity with an office, bookshop and library, a small staff, a fresh generation of volunteers and around 1,500 members around the world, continuing in the original mission of the founding six!

Our trustees

Colin Jones - Chairman

It is a pleasure and a privilege to serve both as a trustee and chairman of the CSJ helping it to fulfil its role of supporting and promoting the pilgrimage to Santiago. The various aspects of being a trustee come together as "giving something back" to the Camino. I have been an hospitalero at our albergue at Miraz as well as at various Spanish and Portuguese albergues.

Vice Chairman - Robin Dorkings

I have been an office volunteer since 2003, and spent 2 weeks in Santiago in 2013 as an “Amigo.” I have walked several caminos to date and hope to do more in the future. I have been a trustee since the 2015 AGM.

Treasurer - Tony Ward

I became a member whilst on a long-term pilgrimage from St Neot (Cornwall) to Santiago, which took 8 years in fortnightly slots. I was appointed Treasurer in 2004 and have continued in that role ever since. I have actively supported the activities of the CSJ over the years, including several spells as hospitalero at Miraz.

Arthur Chapman

I have been a member of CSJ since 2011 and have walked the Camino Frances from Burgos, the Camino del Norte, the Camino Inglés, the Camino Portugués (from Lisbon) and the Primitivo. I have volunteered as hospitalero at Miraz for most years (since 2013). I hope to help promote the CSJ in Scotland and encourage people to walk the caminos.

Catherine Davies

I have been heavily involved with Refugio Gaucelmo at Rabanal along with my mother, Julie Davies, the hospitalero coordinator. I look forward to supporting the CSJ and its members.

Richard Jefferies

I joined the CSJ in 1996 before walking the Camino Frances from Puente la Reina to Santiago. Subsequently, I have walked along the Camino Portuguese and made a pilgrimage from Guildford to Canterbury. I was the Chair of the Miraz Committee for six years, after working as hospitalier on the Voie de Vézelay in two refuges, I have been involved with the trustee board as fundraiser and look forward to developing its confraternity in France and other parts of the pilgrim world.

Mary Moseley

I am enthusiastic walking pilgrim on Camino Francés, Via de la Plata, Camino Portugués. I help to organise major CSJ events.

John Read

Composer of the Pilgrim Cantata, I cycled with a friend to Compostela in three stages from Caen in 2000-2002 and helped run a pilgrim hostel in France (I speak reasonable French). I am a former Marketing Director and director of three public companies, and project manager and currently chair a voluntary organisation and am a Trustee of our Community Centre which I helped to found, and am experienced in public speaking.

Helen Robinson

Helen is a chartered accountant, having training with global accounting firm Grant Thornton, supporting local government, not for profit and commercial organisations, most recently based in Madrid. Outside of work Helen is passionate about travel and positively impacting local communities in the process. Walking her first Camino de Santiago in 2019 had a hugely positive impact on her life and since has been passionate about promoting and encouraging others to experience its magic. 

Priscilla White

I joined the CSJ in 1992 before walking the Camino Frances from Le Puy-en-Velay to Santiago. Subsequently, I have walked along the Camino del Norte and the Via de la Plata. I am now the Chair of the Miraz Committee, having volunteered as hospitalera for many years. I have been involved with the organisation of the AGM, and the Camino, Miraz and the CSJ are a huge part of my life.

Our patrons

portrait photo of Most Reverend Stephen Cottrell

The Most Reverend Stephen Cottrell, Archbishop of York

A CSJ member since 2015 when he was serving as Bishop of Chelmsford, Stephen has walked the Camino twice as well as several pilgrim routes in England, including a walk from Durham to York with young people from his church group in 2002. Stephen has written about his Camino experiences in his book Striking Out, a collection of short stories and poems. For a fuller biography, click here.

portrait photo of fr javier aparicio

Fr Javier Aparicio

Fr Javier Aparicio is Prior of the community of Rabanal del Camino, where the CSJ runs its Refugio Gaucelmo on the Camino Francés.  Fr Javier serves at the Monasterio San Salvador del Monte Irago, next door to our refuge, and has been a great friend to the CSJ and ambassador for pilgrimage to Santiago for many years.