The story of the English Benedictines does not end with the Dissolution of the monasteries under Henry VIII. As indicated in the previous article, the
Dissolution of Benedictine Houses in England almost led to the
extinction of the Order. However, there was a glimmer of hope when
Queen Mary I restored the Abbey of Westminster to a surviving group
of monks on November 21, 1556. This was short lived in that this
restoration and revival ended with the accession of Queen Elizabeth
to the throne in 1558.
Thus, by 1605 only one member of the Pre-Reformation
congregation existed by the name of Dom Sigebert Buckley. On November
21, 1507 he brought in two English monk s of the Cassinese
Congregation and, as a result, ensured a sense of the continuity of
the link to St. Augustine. These two monks then joined up with other
English monks exiled in France who were in the process of training
for the English mission.
By the 19th century, Benedictine
monasteries were once again to be found in England. Monks from Douai
came to England in 1795 settling in Acton Burnell in Shropshire and
then relocated to Downside near Bristo; in 1814. Others had also come
to Ampleforth near York in 1802. Monks from St. Edmund’s in Paris
moved to Douai after the French Revolution and then came to location
close to Reading in 1903. Nuns came from Cambrai moving to Woolton,
then Salford and finally Stannbrook near Worcester in 1838. Nuns also
came from Paris to Cannington, then relocated tp Colwich bear
Stafford in 1836.
Belmont was founded near Hereford in 1858 and Ealing
in 1897. Curzon Park in Chester became a Benedictine house of nuns in
1921. In 1933 a house at Worth was founded. Founded in 1882 from the
community of la Pierre-qui-Vire, on former monastic ruins, Buckfast
joined the Congregation in 1960.
By 1998 the Benedictine monks of the English
Congregation were engaged in running schools attached to manasteries.
They also looked after 32 small parishes and some 20 mass centres
located near moanasteries. The English Benedictine Congregation has a
foothold in 16 dioceses in Britain.
This story does not include the development of various Anglican Benedictine communities that also developed over the past 150 years.