Monks mov­ing into moder­nity

Country Life Every Week - - Town & Country -

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 sue.fisher@am­ple­forth.org.uk, or find out how to do­nate by vis­it­ing http://our­jour­ney. am­ple­forth.org.uk

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