Britain’s monasteries browsing by category


At this Retreat House you’re close enough to enjoy the sophistication of London for a fraction of what London accommodations cost … only $82.00 for half board

Saturday, June 26th, 2010

Conveniently located in a popular northern suburb of London, the retreat house is minutes from the heart of London.

Conveniently located in a popular northern suburb of London, the retreat house is about forty minutes from the heart of London. It is also very close to St. Albans, an appealing old market town particularly compelling because of the Roman settlement of Verulamium, the first Roman municipium in Britain. At one time Verulamium was the third largest town in Roman Britain. The story of this ancient place is told at the Verulamium Museum in a large park at the western edge of St. Albans. There are interpretive and interactive exhibits built around the archaeological digs that detail every aspect of life in Roman times. The parkland covers much of the ancient metropolis that still possesses Roman walls and intricate, colorful mosaics preserved in situ.

Close to the House, Berkhamsted is an attractive market town set in a lush green valley. It was the place where William the Conqueror took the Throne of England from the Saxons in 1066. There is a lovely old High Street with several noted buildings. To the rear of High Street lies the picturesque Grand Union Canal. Its most scenic part is where the canal passes King’s Road, taking in old bridges and lofty warehouse buildings before heading through ancient locks on its journey to the countryside.

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A touch of English history and an odd custom distinguish a visit to this abbey… just $90 including all meals.

Monday, May 17th, 2010

Encompassed by peaceful rural farmland, the abbey has preserved a fascinating atmosphere. see page 58 in LODGING IN BRITAIN'S MONASTERIES.

The abbey is an Elizabethan manor house beautifully situated in a dip on the same site where a group of Augustinian Canons founded a small priory in the 1119. The priory was closed in the 1530s and Thomas Cromwell, Henry VIII’s minister, the man who organized the survey that led to the Dissolution, found the position of the abbey so inviting that he wrote in his journal that he wanted the abbey for himself.

Encompassed by peaceful rural farmland, the abbey has preserved a fascinating atmosphere that led it to compete for the BBC Enjoy England Excellence Award in 2007 as one of the best tourist experiences in England. Nearby Rutland is home to Oakham Castle, a fine example of late 12th century domestic architecture. Its Great Hall is decorated with 12th century sculptures and is famed for its collection of horseshoes, 240 of which hang on the walls. These represent the unique custom that every peer of the realm must give a horseshoe to the lord of the manor on the first visit to Oakham. The custom has been followed for at least 500 years and probably dates to the 12th century. The oldest surviving horseshoe is believed to have been given by Edward IV in about 1470. HRH The Princess Royal, HRH The Prince of Wales and HRH Princess Alexandra gave the most recent.

Gregorian Chant and the essence of Victorian England… stay at this monastery for a voluntary contribution

Friday, May 7th, 2010

The Abbey was the subject of one of the Canterbury Tales. See page 169 in LODGING IN BRITAIN'S MONASTERIES.

Overlooking the sea from a hill, the Abbey is an oasis of peace and tranquility. The Abbey was the subject of one of the Canterbury Tales as well as a song of Dryden and an ode by one of the popes. Some of the nuns live in seclusion and are renown for Gregorian chant that accompanies daily mass. The origins of Gregorian chant can be traced to early Christian times and seem to have derived from musical practice in the Jewish synagogue and Greek musical theory. Named for Pope Gregory I, it is also known as plainsong or plainchant and refers to early unharmonized melody in free rhythm but is usually synonymous with the liturgical music of the Roman Catholic Church. In the Western church there were four main dialects of plainsong but only two have survived. Ambrosian Chant was introduced by St. Ambrose into the cathedral of Milan and is still used in that diocese. In the 19th century, the Benedictine Monks of Solesmes undertook many years of research to restore the Gregorian Chant to its original form and establish its proper rhythm. In 1903 Pope Pius X decreed the use of the chant in the Solesmes version as the official music of the Catholic Church.

The Abbey is situated on the Isle of Wight, a place famous for The Needles, three towers of rock jutting out of the sea and admired for their multi-colored cliffs and sand. Quaint villages, a lovely coastline and the fact that Queen Victoria made Osborne House her summer home all contributed to the island’s popularity as a holiday resort attracting fashionable Victorians and members of European royalty.

The lovely Isle of Wight is diamond in shape with a remarkable diverse landscape leading to its oft-quoted description of “England in Miniature.” The island is also noted as an important area for finding dinosaur fossils.

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