In the mid-16th Century King Henry VIII dissolved the monasteries of England leaving a series of ruins and buildings turned into residences. For some centuries the English monastic tradition was gone forever. However, in the 19th Century some orders began to return and a series of new monasteries, abbeys and priorys began to spring up across the country.
Alton Abbey was established in 1895 near the village of Beech amongst the beautiful and unspoilt rolling hills of mid-Hampshire. The community worked extensively with seamen during the early part of the 20th Century under the aegis of Father Charles Hopkins who was instrumental in settling the seaman's strike in 1911/12 for which he was awarded the CBE.
The Abbey buildings were constructed by the monks themselves under the architectural guidance of Sir Charles Nicholson. The interior matches the exterior with flint walling which is very effective and simple.
Various retreats are offered by the monks at Alton and more peaceful surroundings would be difficult to find.
Photo - Andrew J. Müller
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