Address: Quarr Abbey, Ryde, Isle of Wight, PO33 4ES, United Kingdom
Entry: Free parking and free entry
Situated in the beautiful Isle of Wight, this is a working Catholic monastery which follows the order of St. Benedict. I may have mentioned it many times, but I love visiting old churches, historic ruins, cathedrals and monasteries. This is the second working Benedictine monastery I have visited; first one was Santa Maria de Montserrat located up in the mountain of Montserrat, Barcelona (click on the link to read more).
The first inhabitants of the Quarr abbey were the monks of Solesmes. They were the religious exiles from France, arrived in Isle of Wight in 1901 and purchased original Quarr abbey house. The new abbey as you see today was rebuilt in 1912 designed by one of the monks, Dom Paul Delatte who was an architect. He was also an abbot leading the community for nearly 30 years. The first Quarr abbey house ruins can be found nearby few minutes walk from the abbey. The abbey’s architecture is very unique and its nothing like any church buildings i have seen in rest of England. This could be because of its influence from French architectural elements. There used to be a Quarry in the surroundings of the abbey hence the name ‘Quarr’ originated.
That’s all the history in a nutshell, here are the reasons I liked this place:
- The simplicity, peacefulness and tranquility of this place is indescribable. You have got to experience it. You don’t have to be religious to enjoy it. If you enjoy being away from all the hustle and bustle and regain little bit of inner peace then you would like it.
- I was very fortunate to attend a mass here as I happened to visit just before the service started. It was one of the best mass I have attended as I could actually concentrate from start to finish. Chanting of the monks were melodious and the atmosphere of the church is so simple yet heavenly! I thought of all the religious buildings I have visited for worshipping which are made out of heaps of money but there is no Godly presence there but just statues!
- Another peculiar thing of the church I have noticed was there is no high alter! Instead there is a pyx hung over which is used as the tabernacle. I don’t know if this is for a specific reason or just to keep everything really simple as the rest of the church is.
- There is a book shop, art gallery, a lovely garden and coffee shop all part of the abbey if you are interested. I had some nice tea and cake and the garden was really pleasant too.
- There is a little farm around and you can buy a bag of food to feed the pigs if you fancy! The shop was also selling fruits and vegetables grown at the abbey.
- If you have time, please also go for the ‘woodland walk’. It is lovely and you may spot few red squirrels if you are lucky!
Sorry I have no pictures at this time but please visit their site for any more information: http://www.quarrabbey.org/site.php
If you are in Isle of Wight for the whole day and looking for things to do, why not visit the beautiful St.Catherine’s Hill and Oratory ? Click the link to know more.