Philip Chatfield, sculptor and consultant to the Trust, is currently artist-in-residence at Pluscarden Abbey in Scotland. He features in the January 20th 2024 issue of The Tablet in an article by Joanna Moorhead. Pluscarden has associations with Ignatius, detailed in Hugh Allen’s definitive work New Llanthony Abbey: Father Ignatius’s Monastery at Capel-y-ffin (Peterscourt Press 2016). Dom Asaph Harris, who was the acting Superior at Capel-y-ffin following Ignatius’s death in 1908, eventually came to Pluscarden via the community at Prinknash. Fr Asaph died in 1960, and is buried in the cemetery at Pluscarden. The bells from Ignatius’s monastery also found their way to Pluscarden, and can be heard in the video on the Monastery page.
The 2023 Trust Pilgrimage arrangements were affected by the road closure between Llanthony and Capel-y-ffin, with Evensong held at St Michael’s Church, Llanfihangel Crucorney instead of St Mary’s, Capel-y-ffin. However, the morning Eucharist service took place at St David’s Church Llanthony as in previous years. Please see the Trust FaceBook page for photographs taken by our Newsletter Editor, Michael Woodward.
The 2022 Trust Pilgrimage & ‘Our Lady of the Waters and the Wye’
Last year’s annual Father Ignatius Memorial Trust Pilgrimage, which commemorates the life of Fr Ignatius as well as the reported apparitions of the Virgin Mary in Ignatius’ day, took place on Saturday 3rd September. Always an ecumenical event, it started with a morning Eucharist service at St David’s Church, Llanthony, with the Gospel read in Welsh and English by Fr Philip Wyn Davies, formerly Vicar of Tregaron. Present in the church was a wooden statue of the Virgin Mary, fresh from a five-day journey down the River Wye. This project was conceived by trustee Fr Richard Williams, Vicar of St Mary’s Church in Hay-on-Wye, together with sculptor Philip Chatfield (who carved the statue from a block of Scandinavian redwood) as part of a campaign to highlight the severe problems from pollution affecting the river, including those caused by intensive chicken farming.
Morning Eucharist at Llanthony was followed by lunch at the Priory car park picnic tables, after which some pilgrims walked along the eastern side of the Llanthony valley to Capel-y-ffin, pausing for prayers outside the Baptist chapel. Evensong took place in the little church of St Mary the Virgin at Capel-y-ffin, with an inspiring address by Fr Sam McNally-Cross of St Thomas, Kensal Town, London. Philip Chatfield’s statue of Our Lady was then carried as part of the procession to the ruins of Fr Ignatius’s Abbey Church, with stations on the way at the Wayside Calvary and the Monastery forecourt. At the end of the afternoon, pilgrims enjoyed tea and cake on the monastery lawn, courtesy of Sue and Andrew Knill.
The wooden statue, entitled ‘Our Lady of the Waters and the Wye’, had started its journey on August 15th at Hay-on-Wye, mounted between two parallel canoes, and then headed downriver towards its first stop at Bredwardine in Herefordshire. Philip Chatfield and local canoeist Callum Bulmer paddled the craft, occasionally having to push it through the shallows. At Bredwardine, the statue was greeted by Lyndon Eatough-Smith on trumpet and Cathy O’ Rourke on saxophone playing Bridge over Troubled Water. Gregorian chant sung by monks from Belmont Abbey followed in the historic Norman church at Moccas nearby. The statue’s 75-mile journey down the Wye took five days, with further stops at Hereford (with Evensong in Hereford Cathedral), Hoarwithy and Ross-on-Wye before its arrival at Monmouth, where the canoeists were greeted by Bishop Dominic Walker, with Evening Prayer in St Mary’s Priory Church. The statue’s voyage attracted a good deal of media attention, including articles in The Telegraph and The Guardian. It was subsequently taken by road into the Vale of Ewyas and over the Gospel Pass back to Hay-on-Wye, where it rests in St Mary’s Church.
An article in the Guardian newspaper gives more details, as does our Facebook page, which features photographs taken by Michael Woodward, our Newsletter Editor.
The 2021 Trust Pilgrimage took place on Saturday 21st August. The Eucharist was celebrated in the morning at St Mary’s Church in Hay-on-Wye, and after lunch, pilgrims travelled over the Gospel Pass to Capel-y-ffin. The weather remained dry for the afternoon Evensong service in the grounds of the Church of St Mary the Virgin, with an inspiring address by Fr Ben Rabjohns of Penrhiwceiber. A procession followed to the Monastery of Fr Ignatius, with stations at the Wayside Calvary and the statue of Our Lady, and with tea and cake afterwards on the Monastery lawn, courtesy of the Knill family.
An online lecture (available for 48 hours) which may be of interest to our supporters is being hosted by Theatr Brycheiniog from Friday 23rd April 2021 at 7.30pm. The 23rd Sir John Lloyd lecture on ‘The Monastic Presence in Medieval Brecknock’ will be given by Professor Janet Burton of Trinity College, Lampeter; further details are available on our Facebook page or from www.brycheiniog.co.uk/en/whats-on . There is no charge for the lecture but a donation may be made to the work of the Brecknock Society & Museum Friends if you so wish.
Unfortunately the 2020 pilgrimage had to be cancelled because of the coronavirus pandemic. However, we were able to invite our supporters to join us in a ‘spiritual pilgrimage’ to Llanthony and Capel-y-ffin on August 22nd 2020, details of which are available here. In addition, our Newsletter Editor made a video version, available here and on YouTube. The intended date for the 2022 Pilgrimage is Saturday 20th August, and more details will be available in the Trust Newsletter, published annually on or around Ascension Day. Please contact the Trust Secretary via the Contact page if you are not on our mailing list, and would like to receive a copy of the newsletter.
The new plaque carved by sculptor Philip Chatfield is now in place on the wall of the Abbey Church, just to the left of the entrance gate, and describes Ignatius’s mission in this remote part of the Black Mountains.
In addition, visitors to the Abbey Church will notice there is now a slate sign (carved by Trust Secretary Peter Davies) in place on the north cloister wall of the Monastery by the steps leading up from the forecourt.
If you are not on our mailing list and would like to receive a copy of the latest Trust Newsletter, please contact the Trust Secretary (see the Contact page).
The 2019 Trust Pilgrimage took place in fair weather on August 17th, with Canon Simon Griffiths of Truro Cathedral the guest preacher at Evensong in the Church of St Mary the Virgin at Capel-y-ffin. See the Trust Facebook page for photographs taken on the day.
See the Trust Facebook page for photographs and details of the 2018 Trust Pilgrimage. The text of Abbot Cuthbert Brogan’s sermon at the Pilgrimage Evensong in the Church of St Mary the Virgin, Capel-y-ffin can be seen on the on the Documents page of this website.
A summary of the Father Ignatius Trust Privacy (Data Protection) Policy can be seen here.
The 2017 Trust Pilgrimage took place in fine weather on Saturday 19th August, starting with a sung Eucharist at St David’s Church, Llanthony, celebrated by Fr Richard Williams of Hay, with an address by Fr Philip Wyn Davies, Vicar of Tregaron. Following a picnic lunch next to the Priory car park, some pilgrims drove to Capel-y-ffin while others set off on foot along the eastern side of the valley, arriving in time for Evensong at the Church of St Mary the Virgin, with Fr Martin Williams presiding. The packed congregation was addressed by the Right Reverend Dominic Walker, former Bishop of Monmouth, whose sermon may be viewed here. Evensong was followed by a procession up the lane to the ruins of Ignatius’ Abbey Church, with stations at the memorial Calvary and the statue of Our Lady on the monastery forecourt. Tea and cake were served afterwards on the Monastery lawn by the kind courtesy of Mr & Mrs Knill. See the Trust Facebook page for further details and photographs.
The entrance to the Wayside Calvary at the side of the lane leading up to the Monastery at Capel-y-ffin has been repaired by stonemason John Barber of Llanigon. Mr Barber was able to conserve the original inscription on one of the entrance pillars, which reads: ‘The Burning Bush Opposite’, a reference to the site of the apparitions of Our Lady reported in 1880 in the meadow below the Monastery. A photograph of John Barber and his assistant at work on the Calvary steps is included in the 2017 edition of the Trust Newsletter, and our thanks go to Jessica Griffiths for taking the photo. Jessica helps her mother Mary run the Grange pony trekking centre near the Monastery.
Further reviews of Hugh Allen’s book ‘New Llanthony Abbey’ can be found in New Directions magazine (Dec. 2016/Jan. 2017 issue) – see here, in the latest issue of the Kilvert Society’s Journal (see link to our Facebook page opposite) and here in an extract from the Anglo-Catholic History Society Autumn 2016 Newsletter.
‘New Llanthony Abbey’ by Hugh Allen (Peterscourt Press 2016)
Hugh Allen’s book ‘New Llanthony Abbey: Father Ignatius’s Monastery at Capel-y-ffin’ has now been published, and is available direct from the author (see contact details below). A review of the book published in the Church Times may be viewed here, and a review posted on the Society of the Faith website is available here. In addition, a review by Fr Martin Williams is included in the latest edition of the Trust Newsletter.
Hugh Allen tells the story of Ignatius’s community from its origins in early 1860s East Anglia to its migration to Wales in 1870, its history through the following four decades (including the reported Apparitions in 1880), and its demise after the founder’s death in 1908. He also describes the later history of the former monastery, home in the 1920s to the sculptor and typographer Eric Gill, and for many years to the family of his eldest daughter, and brings the story up to date with information about the Father Ignatius Memorial Trust and the continuing appeal of New Llanthony as a place of pilgrimage.
The author is a former clergyman of the Church in Wales, and now an Orthodox layman. He is a longstanding member of the Father Ignatius Memorial Trust. To obtain a copy of the book, please telephone him on 01884 258031 for BACS transfer details, or send a cheque for £20 (payable to R.W.H. Allen) to Hugh Allen, 9 Park Close, Tiverton, Devon EX16 6AX (price includes postage and packing).
2016 Trust Newsletter
The 2016 Trust Newsletter remains available. It includes sculptor Philip Chatfield’s account of his commission to carve a statue of St Aeldred for the Caldey Island community, a gift from the Benedictines of Pluscarden and Prinknash to mark the 1913 conversion. The cover photograph shows Ignatius preaching at the National Eisteddfod held in Newport in 1897.
To obtain a copy of this newsletter, please contact the Trust Secretary – see the Contact page.
Fr Roger Shambrook
It is with great regret that we announce the death of Fr Roger Shambrook on May 6th, 2016. Fr Shambrook had been a long-standing Trustee, with many years of faithful service to the Trust. An appreciation will be included in the next edition of the Trust Newsletter.
Following the recent retirement of Debbie Lyne as a Trustee, we are delighted that Debbie has agreed to become an Emeritus Trustee, and so will continue her long association with the Trust.
The 2016 Pilgrimage took place on Saturday 20th August, with a sung Eucharist service at St David’s Church, Llanthony at which Fr Martin Williams officiated. The preacher was Fr Mark Soady of St Mary’s Priory Church, Abergavenny. Pilgrims then made their way, some on foot, to St Mary’s Church, Capel-y-ffin for Evensong, conducted by Fr Roderick Hingley, with an address given by Fr Julian Gray, Vicar of Llantilio Pertholey. This was followed by a procession to the Monastery with stations at the Wayside Calvary and the newly refurbished statue of Our Lady on the monastery forecourt. Tea and cakes were served on the monastery lawn courtesy of Mr and Mrs Andrew Knill. See our Facebook page for photographs taken on the day.
2016 National Eisteddfod
The National Eisteddfod of Wales took place in Abergavenny from 29th July to 6th August 2016, and the Trust was represented on the Maes within the Lle Hanes (Local History Pavilion). The Eisteddfod was returning to Abergavenny for the first time since 1913, and was held on the Castle Meadows not far from Abergavenny Castle and Museum. Those familiar with the story of Ignatius will know that that he held the Welsh language dear, and that he was created a Bard at the National Eisteddfod held at Brecon in 1889, taking the bardic name ‘Dewi Honddu’. A photograph of Ignatius preaching at a later National Eisteddfod in Newport is held in the Trust Archive at Abergavenny Museum, and is reproduced on the front page of the 2016 Trust newsletter (see above).
See our Facebook page for Michael Woodward’s photographs from the 2015 pilgrimage, as well as a short video.
A few copies of the 2015 Newsletter remain available. As well as details of the Pilgrimage and other news, the 2015 Trust Newsletter includes an article by Hugh Allen entitled ‘Two Diaries’, kept respectively by Fr Ignatius in the early months of 1908 and by Fr Joseph Woodford of Caldey when he lived at Capel-y-ffin between 1923 and 1928. The photo on the cover of the newsletter (above) shows the Abbot with his adopted son ‘Brother David’ and family at Maes-y-ffin in 1907, the year before he died. An extract from the newsletter is available on the Documents page and gives Ignatius’ description of the final Apparition of Our Lady of Llanthony on 15 September 1880, the only one of the four reported apparitions which he witnessed himself.
To obtain a copy of this newsletter, please contact the Trust Secretary – see the Contact page.