Monks moving into modernity
The monks’ accommodation at Ampleforth Abbey (above), North Yorkshire, is undergoing a major renovation for the first time in 120 years. The community of Benedictine monks, which claims descent from Westminster Abbey, first moved to this Yorkshire valley in 1802. The principal block of the monastery, today home to 56 monks, was begun in 1893 to designs by the London architect Bernard Smith.
These buildings are now showing their age. ‘Since first opening its doors, the sole concessions to modernity have been the installation of electricity and, later, a hand-basin in each cell,’ explains Susan Fisher, director of Development & Alumni Relations. ‘Windows are ill-fitting and the plumbing ineffective. There are water leaks and, with wooden floors and no soundproofing, the slightest noise disturbs, especially in our infirmary, where our ill and elderly monks live. Although all discomforts can be borne, when they start to distract from God’s purpose, it’s time to do something about them.’
The renovation has been made possible thanks to the generosity of the Ampleforth Society, including Old Amplefordians, parents and friends, who between them have raised sufficient funds for the work to commence.
The project is expected to be completed in April 2019 and, until then, the Abbey will continue to fundraise to meet the costs—the final £1 million of the £6.8 million total is still wanting. If you would like to know more about the monastery, its works or how to support Ampleforth’s monastic community, please telephone 01439 766766 or email email@example.com, or find out how to donate by visiting http://ourjourney. ampleforth.org.uk