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You are in: Hereford and Worcester > Faith > Faith features > Stanbrook Abbey Nuns move to a new home

Mother Abbess Andrea Savage (photo: Mark Picthall Photography)

Mother Abbess Andrea Savage

Stanbrook Abbey Nuns move to a new home

The Benedictine Sisters have moved from Worcestershire to a new eco-abbey in Yorkshire...

A group of 24 Nuns have moved into a brand new green monastery.

The Benedictine sisters of Stanbrook Abbey in Worcester have moved into a state of the art environmental monastery in the North Yorkshire Dales.

Their former 20-acre historic Gothic Abbey had proved unmanageable and uneconomical.

Soaring heating bills, and shrinking numbers in the Sisters' community meant that three years ago the sisters bought land in preparation for their new home.

Sister Maria in Stanbrook Abbey library (photo: Mark Picthall Photography)

Sister Maria in Stanbrook Abbey library

Permission to move

The Nuns were given permission by North Yorkshire Moors Parks to build an eco monastery, which would sustain their order well into the 21st century.

The BBC's Janet Wilson found out just why the Sisters of Stanbrook needed to relocate:

Moving house for the sisters means sorting out what to take with you, and getting rid of the rest of the stuff you no longer need.

Many people head off to the tip or charity shop after a bit of a clean out, and you might check if there's any cash to be made from forgotten treasures in the attic.

However, that's not so easy if you have five tonnes of furniture, 33 thousand books, possessions which include a priceless church pulpit, and it's your first move for over 150 years.

The Nuns from Stanbrook Abbey decided to have a special car boot sale.

Janet Wilson found out exactly what could be found in a nun's carboot:

Nuns at Stanbrook Abbey (photo: Mark Picthall Photography)

(Photographs courtesy of Mark Picthall Photography)

Making history

The Community of nuns from Stanbrook Abbey in Worcestershire are the first religious community to move into North Yorkshire since the Reformation.

The 24 Benedictine nuns uprooted themselves from an ancient but expensive Abbey to a smaller, greener monastery on the Moors, a move that's been 10 years in the making.

The BBC's Janet Wilson was given unique access to the move North, and she went to see the nuns on the day during the summer of 2008 when the new foundation stone was finally blessed at the new site:

The nuns from Stanbrook Abbey in Yorkshire (photo: Mark Picthall Photography)

The Stanbrook Abbey nuns visit Yorkshire

The architect, Gill Smith of Feilden Clegg Bradley Studios, had the unique task of designing the new £4.5 million pounds monastery.

Packing boxes

The nuns swapped their habits for clothes more suitable for packing - smocks, trousers and headscarfs - and some 5,000 boxes were prepared for loading onto the removals lorry.

The BBC's Janet Wilson went along to see the nuns again whilst they were packing:

Moving home was now becoming a reality and brought out mixed emotions amongst the community.

Sister Benedicta was in charge of co-ordinating the move and she said: "We're moving as a community and it's the community that are the living stones.

"So in one sense the building is not a big issue, but it is a place where... some people have lived for 60 years."

A service in Stanbrook Abbey (photo: Mark Picthall Photography)

A service in Stanbrook Abbey

Staff and security teams will move into the vacated Worcestershire Abbey until it's sold.

Arriving at their new home

The community of sisters travelled the 200 miles, along with Brittany the convent cat, to their new Stanbrook Abbey:

The nuns now each have their own cell complete with an ensuite, and wonderful views.

The first thing the did was to have a cup of tea with a piece of cake, donated by their neighbours as a welcoming present.

last updated: 12/06/2009 at 17:35
created: 22/05/2009

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