Fringe Box



‘Pevsner’ Editor Visits Chilworth’s Benedictine St Augustine’s Abbey

Published on: 6 Nov, 2020
Updated on: 9 Nov, 2020

Charles O’Brien at Chilworth’s St Augustine’s Abbey

The eight Benedictine monks of Chilworth’s St Augustine’s Abbey welcomed a distinguished visitor this week, Charles O’Brien FSA, editor of the world-famous Pevsner Architectural Guides, who was revising and updating the abbey’s listing.

Arriving just a day before the lockdown, Mr O’Brien, from the Yale University Press, entered the Grade II abbey church, built in 1892, to organ music by Bach as he inspected the architectural character.

Mr O’Brien said: “This is the first full revision and expansion of the ‘Pevsner’ for Surrey since its original publication in 1962, with the opportunity to revisit all of the buildings and add many more.

“Few would disagree with the 1960s description of St Augustine’s Abbey as ‘soberly and honestly detailed’ but the new edition will now have space to include the excellent fittings of the church’s interior.”

Rt Rev Dom Paulinus Greenwood OSB, Abbot of St Augustine’s, added: “We all know and love the work of Nikolaus Pevsner and the architectural guides are the first port of call for anyone interested in the detail of thousands of historical buildings across the country.

“To have a personal visit from the editor is a real privilege for us and we are very grateful to be included and updated in this important work.”

Outside lockdown, the Roman Catholic monastery is open for public prayer 365 days a year. Until 2010, it was Greyfriars Franciscan Friary but that was closed and the Benedictine monks from Ramsgate moved in during 2011.

The monks and several lay oblates make and sell skin and lip creams as well as furniture polish made from beeswax. They also run a guest house and offer a programme of retreats, monastic vocation visits, study days, meditation sessions and healing days.

More information can be found at

Share This Post

test 2 Responses to ‘Pevsner’ Editor Visits Chilworth’s Benedictine St Augustine’s Abbey

  1. Dom Andrew M. McNeill Reply

    November 7, 2020 at 6:25 pm

    Fascinating to; “See Oorselves as Other’s See Us”.

    I was surprised: 1) Guides had only been published on Surrey since the 1960s.
    2) Charles O’Brien is making the first full revision of the Guide since its publication.

    Although a lot of the background information may be out of date the Stones Still Stand to Testify to the Sole Benefactor, Mary Anne Alliott, who was able to see the result of her generous gift before her death in 1892, and which continues as a witness of a community praying for and with others during this present pandemic.

  2. Richard Morris Reply

    November 7, 2020 at 6:34 pm

    Thank you Guildford Dragon NEWS for featuring this story about St Augustine’s Abbey, Chilworth. You are appreciated.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *