A tribute to the life and work of Brian Torode

Prinknash Abbey – Pious Dreams

Prinknash Abbey – Pious Dreams

Using contemporary publicity material and appeal brochures to explore the various plans for an enormous Benedictine Monastery at Prinknash Park, Gloucestershire.

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Alan Brooks in ‘Gloucestershire 1: The Cotswolds’ reminds us that after abbatial status was achieved for Prinknash in 1937, ‘Abbot Wilfred Upson worked with H.S. Goodhart-Rendel on grandiose plans for a new monastery, to be built by the monks themselves using traditional load-bearing walls and mass concrete vaults. The design was based on French Romanesque or Byzantine sources, with central lantern crossing tower above the high altar dividing nave and monks’ choir. Only the lower crypt at the east end was partially completed when Goodhart-Rendel died in 1959. Upson’s successor, Abbot Dyfrig Rushton, consulted Oliver Hill and Edward Maufe in the hope of completing the design more economically, but finally returned to Goodhart-Rendel’s former partner, F.G. Broadbent (Broadbent, Hastings, Reid & Todd) to provide the completely modified design built in 1968-72. The abbey church remains unbuilt.’

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Broadbent’s unrealised design showing the planned church

1939: The designs for the new Abbey at Prinknash by H.S. Goodhart-Rendel, F.R.I.B.A.


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1939 Appeal Brochure

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‘On 3rd May 1939 the foundation stone was laid by His Eminence Cardinal Hinsley, Archbishop of Westminster in the presence of the Apostolic Delegate, and a large gathering of several thousand Catholics and others, including many Bishops, Abbots and Clergy.’

However, the Second World War brought building work to a close.


1956: The building project is re-launched and the publicity material shows even more lavish plans from H.S. Goodhart-Rendel

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1956 Appeal

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Guide published after 1956

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15th May 1959


The Abbey Church of Our Lady and St Peter Prinknash situated in the lower crypt was consecrated by the Bishop of Clifton on 3rd May 1972.

Rite of consecration:

‘The church is dedicated in honour of Our Lady and St Peter, and the relics pf St John Southworth, St Pius X and St Vincent Ferrer will be sealed into the altars. These relics remind us that our worship on earth is always united to the worship which Christ and his saints give to the Father in heaven.

The people gather together in a suitable place some distance from the church. The Bishop will come down the drive in procession towards them. The procession will include the concelebrants, the Prinknash community, other clergy and the choir of Farnborough Abbey, Hampshire, for whose help with singing we are very grateful. The relics also are carried in the procession.

As the procession approaches the people, the following hymn is sung.

Christ is made the sure foundation, Christ the Head and Corner-stone…’


2 comments on “Prinknash Abbey – Pious Dreams

  1. fr mark hargreaves
    October 6, 2017

    The photo of the altar under a canopy is actually Pluscarden 1948 with Abbot Wilfrid Upson and his ministers standing before it

    • Richard Barton
      October 6, 2017

      Thank you so much for this information. I will make some changes to my post removing the photo from here and moving it to my picture gallery – ‘Caldey, Prinknash and Nashdom’. I do hope you are keeping well.

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This entry was posted on October 4, 2017 by in Lives Bound Together and tagged , .
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