The statue is small, a mere forty six centimetres by 23, but the dowel holes in the back inform us that it was affixed to an altar piece.This means that it came from a church rather than a domestic dwelling, a fact that is important as there were copies of the Walsingham image made in the mediaeval period. Investigators have found traces of paint on the statue's surface, so at one time it had been well-maintained.There is some damage, for one hand is missing, why we know not.
The seal of the priory of Walsingham, found on surviving documents,shows us what the statue looked like, and in 1931 an Anglican clergyman, Henry Fynes Clinton, noted that the statue was almost identical to the image on the seal.He said that it came from a church now destroyed. This is significant, as only monastic churches were destroyed at the Reformation, parish churches survived. So we are dealing with a monastic image, and nearby Walsingham was the prime candidate.Clinton speculatively hoped that we had found the long-lost statue. A high church Anglican, he was sympathetic to the revival of the shrine that was taking place.
The way that the Langham Madonna differs from the image on the Walsingham seal is that the seal's image shows Mary with a veil, whereas the Langham Madonna has no veil, but this is not very significant because it is possible that the Madonna had a cloth veil replaced daily.
A mistake in provenance might have delayed recognition. There is another Langham. Besides the Langham in Norfolk where the statue was found, there is a Langham in neighbouring Essex. The museum authorities assumed that we had got the statue from Essex Langham, but Fynes Clinton said that it came from the Norfolk one. The clue that it was from Norfolk comes from the fact that Langham in Essex still has its pre-reformation church, as does Norfolk Langham. So the pointers go back to a mediaeval monastic church.
Descendants of the Calthorpe and Rookwood families cannot be traced to give any further information, for their estates were sold long ago and family history would probably have been long forgotten.So there is no information from that source. The museum that bought the statue was originally of the opinion that it was a copy, a rarity in its own right. The Victoria and Albert Museum in London is a large, high status museum specialising in artistic items, so it will want to maintain the highest standards of proof and provenance before coming to any conclusion.
Of course, in history proof is not possible, there is only justification. Maybe we will never know if this is the lost image. Or maybe an untold story will be discovered.