Prinknash Abbey

Prinknash Abbey

Prinknash Abbey is a Catholic Benedictine monastery situated in the Vale of Gloucester in the Diocese of Clifton, near the village of Cranham.

For nearly nine hundred 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. A large part of the present building was constructed during the abbacy of William Parker, last Abbot of Gloucester, around the year 1520.

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 forty deer, annually, for 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 and each generation left its mark upon the property.

On 1 August 1928 a Deed of Covenant was made out by the twentieth Earl of Rothes, the grandson of Mr. Thomas Dyer Edwards whose wish it was that Prinknash should be given to the Benedictine monks of Caldey Island. These monks had converted to the Catholic Faith in 1913 and were led by Ælred Carlyle, later to become a famous Abbot.

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 bones of Richard Whiting, the Last Abbot of Glastonbury are kept at Prinknash.

From those early days the Community continued to grow, beginning with twenty-five monks. There are now twelve at Prinknash itself, but many more are spread over three monasteries, a foundation being made at Farnborough in May 1947, and in Pluscarden in Scotland later that year.

In 1939 a Foundation stone for a new Abbey was laid at Prinknash by Cardinal Hinsley, but the second World War intervened, and previous building plans were eventually drawn up 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.

August 2007: the community is in the process of moving the monastery from the 1972 Abbey to St Peter’s Grange.

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