Report - Prinknash Abbey, Gloucestershire - September 2014

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( . Y . )
Regular User
Aug 25, 2008
Prinknash Abbey, Gloucestershire.

Visited with huey.

After a close shave at an old school that looked just as shit as it did secure, I suggested that we check out this old abbey that has alluded me for some time. In the past it appeared that there was live-in security, but a couple of dumped cars and the fact no one answered our knocks suggested that perhaps this wasn't the case after all.

Wrong. About 30 minutes in, huey opened a door expecting to find another stripped bedroom and ended up walking straight into someones living room! Fortunately no one was home and we thought fuck it, let's keep going, in for a penny in for a pound! It would appear that matey boy is one of those ghastly dreadlocked types and that he's using the corridors as one big motocross circuit, judging by the skidmarks and the biking paraphernalia knocking about the place.

Outside the building doesn't look like much, but inside it's actually quite stylish and has barely been altered since the early 70s. The laundry and kitchens are nice, and the print shop and bookbinders were an unexpected find but the real paydirt was naturally downstairs in the chapel which was stunning!


For nearly 900 years the land known as Prinknash has been associated with Benedictine monks. In 1096 the Giffard family, who had come to England with William the Conqueror, made a gift of the land to Serlo, Abbot of St. Peter's, Gloucester. It remained in the abbey's hands until the suppression of the monasteries in 1539 when it was rented from the Crown by Sir Anthony Kingston who was to provide 40 deer annually to King Henry VIII, who used the House as a hunting lodge. Prinknash Park continued to be used as a home for the gentry and nobility of Gloucestershire during the next few centuries.

On 1 August 1928 a Deed of Covenant was made out by the twentieth Earl of Rothes, the grandson of Thomas Dyer Edwards, a Catholic convert, whose wish was that Prinknash should be given to the Benedictine monks of Caldey Island. These monks had converted to the Catholic Faith in 1913 under the leadership of Abbot Ælred Carlyle. Caldey Island was eventually sold to the Cistercian monks and on 26 October 1928 six Benedictine monks arrived from Caldey Island to convert the house at Prinknash into a monastery. The rest soon followed and after some years of poverty they managed to purchase all the land around the house to make Prinknash as it is today.

The community continued to grow, beginning with 25 monks. There are now 12 at Prinknash itself and more are spread over three monasteries. In 1939 a foundation stone for a new abbey was laid at Prinknash by Cardinal Hinsley, but the Second World War intervened and the previous impracticable building plans were eventually redrawn by F.G. Broadbent. The monks moved into the new abbey in 1972 and the old abbey was converted into a retreat and conference centre, known as "St Peter's Grange", after being re-roofed and furnished. On the Feast of Ss Peter and Paul (30 June) 2008 the community moved from the 1972 building back to St Peter’s Grange and the new abbey was sold for conversion into luxury apartments.
If I'm honest I think a conversion to luxury apartments sounds a bit fanciful. I forgot to take any external photos as per, so I've pilfered one from flickr. As you can see it's not exactly pretty, but I suppose it's a good example of its style and its actually built to a pretty high standard, at a time when the church had money. In fact I quite like it.


The Chapel


For a building that is so brutal on the outside this was a beautiful space.



I've got a real thing for contemporary stained glass:


Entrance hall









Recreation room (I think it had some stupid name like Calefactory)


Smaller chapel at accommodation level:


Another nice find was a room with hundreds of schematics and blueprints of the building dating back to the mid-60s. The place is full of little rooms with absurd names like ambulacrum, novice cell and 'tramps shelter' whatever that is.



All that's left of the library:






Print Shop






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