Downside Abbey

Somersetshire, England. Founded in 1605 at Douai, Flanders, by English Benedictines of the Spanish Congregation. In 1611 a monastery was erected by Philippe de Coverel, Abbot of Saint Vaast at Arras, who is hence regarded as the founder. During the French Revolution the monks were imprisoned until 1795 when they were allowed to leave for England where they were harboured by a former pupil, Sir Edward Smythe, at Acton Burnell, Shropshire. In 1814 they moved to Mount Pleasant, Downside. Their priory was constituted an abbey by Pope Leo XIII in 1899. Their school for sons of the Catholic English gentry is modeled on the English public school. The abbey grounds contain the monastery, school-buildings, guest-house, and abbey-church, one of the handsomest modern Gothic buildings in England. The monks also conduct schools in Ealing, London, in Gorey, Ireland, and houses of studies at Cambridge and London. They are engaged also in missions and parishes dependent on the abbey. Publications include the Downside Review, concerning monastic and liturgical interests, and Downside Masses and Downside Motets, devoted to polyphonic music.