You can see Quarr Abbey from the car ferry to Fishbourne, nestling among the trees on the shore. Passengers visiting the island enjoy taking various guesses at what it could be.
Shore-side, many will have driven past the entrance to Quarr Abbey, the magnificent building on the road from Newport to Ryde. Some may even have ventured closer within the grounds to be impressed by the inspiring buildings and beautiful, peaceful settings.
But what will you find when you venture into the grounds of this Benedictine monastery?
Quarr abbey is a working Benedictine monastery, set in beautiful and peaceful grounds. It is home to a community of Benedictine monks who dedicate their life to prayer, contemplation and community life.
The centre of the monastery is the private cloister that surrounds a garden, whose cultivation parallels the spiritual work of allowing God to make the soul beautiful just as he makes the flowers grow. Essentially it is a hidden life. That does not mean, however, that you can’t see any of it.
The Abbey has a fascinating history. Founded in 1132, the old abbey was dissolved more than 400 years later by Henry VIII. The ruins remain visible to this day.
In 1907, French architect and monk Paul Bellot designed the abbey church and monastery combining French and Moorish architectural styles. The church was made with Flemish bricks involving around 300 Island workmen. Work commenced in April 1911 and the church was dedicated on October 12 1912. Quarr abbey now celebrates 100 years.
Quarr Abbey and the old Cistercian site was selected for inclusion on the 2012 World Monument Watch, which calls for international attention to the challenges facing cultural heritage sites around the world.
With free entry to the grounds, you can visit the church and pilgrim’s chapel, pop along to the art gallery and bookshop, or simply wander the grounds to experience the tranquil atmosphere of the monastery.