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Ampleforth Abbey

Ampleforth Abbey
The Abbey Church of St Lawrence, Ampleforth
Ampleforth Abbey
Ampleforth Abbey
Location of within North Yorkshire

Coordinates: 54°12′06″N 1°05′05″W / 54.2018°N 1.0847°W / 54.2018; -1.0847

OS grid reference SE5980678828
Location Ampleforth, North Yorkshire
Country England
Denomination Roman Catholic Church
Founded 1802
Founder(s) Lady Anne Fairfax
Dedication St Lawrence the Martyr
Status Abbey
Functional status Active
Heritage designation Grade II
Designated 9 September 1985[1]
Deanery Central
Diocese Middlesbrough
Province Liverpool
Bishop(s) Rt. Rev. Terence Drainey
Abbot Fr. Cuthbert Madden OSB

Ampleforth Abbey is a monastery of Benedictine Monks a mile to the east of Ampleforth, North Yorkshire, England, part of the English Benedictine Congregation. It claims descent from the pre-Reformation community at Westminster Abbey through the last surviving monk from Westminster Sigebert Buckley (c. 1520 - c. 1610). The current Abbot is Fr. Cuthbert Madden, and the Prior is Fr Terence Richardson.


The Abbey was founded in a house given to Father Anselm Bolton by The Honorable Anne Fairfax, daughter of Charles Gregory Fairfax, 9th Viscount Fairfax of Emley.[2][3][4] This house was taken over by Dr. Brewer, President of the Congregation, 30 July 1802. The community, since leaving Dieulouard in Lorraine, where its members had joined with Spanish and Cassinese Benedictines to form the monastery of St. Lawrence, had been successively at Acton Burnell, Tranmere, Scholes, Vernon Hall, and Parbold Hall, under its superior Dr. Marsh.

On its migration to Ampleforth Lodge, Dr. Marsh remained at Parbold and Father Appleton was elected the first prior of the new monastery. Shortly afterwards Parbold was broken up and the boys of the school there transferred to Ampleforth. The priory was erected into an abbey, in 1890, by the Bull "Diuquidem". and has an important and flourishing college attached to it. John Cuthbert Hedley, Bishop of Newport, was an alumnus, as well a superior of Ampleforth, Abbot Smith. The monastery was finished in 1897.[5]

Coat of Arms

Blazon: Per fesse dancetté Or and Azure a chief per pale Gules and of the second charged on the dexter with two keys in saltire Or and Argent and on the sinister with a Cross Flory between five martlets of the first. (College of Arms, London 1922). Ensigned with an abbot's crosier in pale behind the shield Or garnished with a pallium crossing the staff argent and a galero with cords and twelve tassels disposed on either side of the shield in three rows of one, two, and three all Sable.

List of Abbots

  • 1900–1924: Oswald Smith
  • 1924–1939: Edmund Matthews
  • 1939–1963: Herbert Byrne
  • 1963–1976: George Basil Hume
  • 1976–1984: Ambrose Griffiths
  • 1984–1997: Patrick Barry.[6]
  • 1997–2005: Timothy Wright
  • 2005–present: Cuthbert Madden

Ampleforth College

The monastery set up a school at Ampleforth in 1802. It is now the co-educational independent boarding school Ampleforth College, with about 600 students.


In addition to the work at Ampleforth, some of the monks are sent as parish priests to parishes, mostly in Lancashire.

Permanent Private Hall

Ampleforth has a Permanent Private Hall at St Benet's Hall, Oxford, which was founded for the purpose of letting monks study for secular degrees. It now accepts lay undergraduates as well as monastic members.

Saint Louis

Ampleforth set up a sister priory at St. Louis, Missouri in 1955. The priory gained independence in 1973 and became Saint Louis Abbey in its own right in 1989.


In 1996, Ampleforth set up the community of Christ the Word in Zimbabwe which has approximately four or five members of the community in residence at any one time. The present Abbot makes it a point to spend at least three months of the year at this monastery.


See also


public domain: 

External links

  • Ampleforth: a compass for life
  • Ampleforth Abbey (English Benedictine Congregation Web)
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