Quarr Abbey, Isle of Wight



The congregation of the Benedictines of Solesmes took exile on the British Isle of Wight in 1901. They lived in Appuldurcombe House, at the south of the island. Paul Bellot entered monastic life here, on October 6, 1902, after he arrived there on September 27, 1902. The monks had to leave Appuldurcombe house in 1908, they bought Quarr abbey house, on Quarr Hill, near the ruins of an ancient monastery. Dom Bellot artistic talents were used by the community from 1906, when he started building the abbey at Oosterhout, and in 1907 he would start building the new abbey for the monks of Solesmes: Quarr Abbey.







The works started in 1907 by building two wings of the abbey, containing a refectory (dining-room), the capitulary room, the library and the great stairs. In 1910-1912 the large abbey-church was added to the complex, in the south-east corner. The church has a beautiful sanctuary: Its the large part at the rear end. From inside we see a maze of arches supporting the roof. The part intended for the public is in front of the tower and is lower. In this church an organ by Cavaillé-Coll / Mutin was placed, one of the few in Britain. In 1914 the abbey was completed with the construction of the south-wing, containing the main entrance and the old guesthouse.

Bellot has said this church was his best project. In this church he was ordinated priest on June 10, 1911.








Below the church is a crypt,

nowadays used as silence-chapel.

The entrance is at the rear of the church.



Like in Oosterhout Dom Bellot uses gothic arches here. One of these arches is placed directly in front of the entrance of the refectory. A column is placed directly behind this door!

In the refectory the brick pulpit is still in use. The first parts of the abbey were build attached to the old Quarr abbey house. It is still present at the north-west corner of the complex.

In the east-wing of the abbey a beautiful brick staircase is constructed and in the chambers of the abbot is a brick mantelpiece. The quadrangle is open, no glass, which is remarkable in the English climate... In a corner of the old guesthouse a clockwork is placed, which indicates the rhythm of everyday life minutely.






Photo's: A.W.A. Lukassen and A.A. Lukassen, summer 2014