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Ampleforth Abbey Monastery Refurbishment


Ampleforth Abbey Monastery Refurbishment

Ampleforth Abbey is a monastery of Benedictine Monks located to the east of Ampleforth in North Yorkshire. For over a century the Abbey had remained unaltered until November 2017 when work commenced on a multi-million pound renovation.

The project, which is due to complete in May 2019, is the first major refurbishment to the site in 120 years. The work will include an overhaul of living accommodation for the monks as well as structural repairs. LHL Group Property and Construction Consultants led the design of the work while RBA Moody Bros. of Northallerton are acting as the main contractors.

Beginning internally, the layout of the monastery has been changed to update the living arrangements of the monks for the first time in over 100 years. The remodelling will provide each monk with an en-suite shower and toilet, new heating and electrical services and insulated floors and external walls. The existing windows, many of which were broken, have all been refurbished and reinstated. Secondary glazing will subsequently be installed to increase warmth in the bedrooms. The existing infirmary is also being fully refurbished to provide a good quality environment to care for elderly and sick monks.

Externally, the stone facades are being refurbished and repointed in lime mortar, which includes the replacement and carving of any damaged stones. While the Westmorland slate roof is in excellent condition, work is being carried out to retain it and leadwork is being renewed where necessary. Finally, a new bridge access is being constructed to the north elevation to provide a suitable entrance for visitors to the Abbot’s offices.

Naturally, a project of this scale comes with a number of challenges. Stone cleaning, for example, has to be kept to a minimum to ensure that the building does not look too clean and stark next to the Abbey Church.

The work has also caused a significant amount of disruption to the monks and their usual routine. While work is carried out, the monks have moved into a recently refurbished building nearby. A temporary monastic infirmary has also been created.

A spokesperson for Ampleforth Abbey said:

“The project is extremely important to us because the monastic community is central to everything we do and the project is an investment in the future of the monastic community. It is vital that we have a monastery that is conducive to growing monastic life in the 21st century, meaning that it needs to provide comfortable surroundings without being luxurious, so that young men considering a religious vocation are not actively dissuaded by accommodation that is draughty and unwelcoming.

“The continued sustainability of the monastery is also important to the surrounding villages and the people living nearby as the Abbey is a significant local employer with several hundred employees providing services to visitors, retreatants and the students and staff of Ampleforth College.”

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