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The Turning Point

The Provincial Chapter of 1850 was held at a crisis point in the life of the English Dominican Province. Numbers had now dwindled to just six. Under the threat of having to remove the noviciate to Italy, the third day of the meeting saw a miraculous intervention, as a Mr Leigh of Woodchester Park, a convert, appeared unexpectedly and offered the friars a property at Woodchester. This was to mark a turning point in their fortunes.

The period between the friars’ arrival at Woodchester in the Gloucestershire countryside and the end of the century saw the friars grow in numbers and confidence. New urban parish churches (in Newcastle, London and Manchester), schools for the very poor, and priories were built to meet the needs of the friars and those whom they served.

The Turning Point

The Provincial Chapter of 1850 was held at a crisis point in the life of the English Dominican Province. Numbers had now dwindled to just six. Under the threat of having to remove the noviciate to Italy, the third day of the meeting saw a miraculous intervention, as a Mr Leigh of Woodchester Park, a convert, appeared unexpectedly and offered the friars a property at Woodchester. This was to mark a turning point in their fortunes.

The period between the friars’ arrival at Woodchester in the Gloucestershire countryside and the end of the century saw the friars grow in numbers and confidence. New urban parish churches (in Newcastle, London and Manchester), schools for the very poor, and priories were built to meet the needs of the friars and those whom they served.

1862: North London

The largest parish church in Britain, St Dominic’s represents the high watermark of the Dominican revival. Taking its inspiration from the recent miracles at Lourdes, the church was ambitiously created as a Rosary church, with altars dedicated to each of the mysteries, and adorned with magnificent stained glass and statuary.

1862: North London

The largest parish church in Britain, St Dominic’s represents the high watermark of the Dominican revival. Taking its inspiration from the recent miracles at Lourdes, the church was ambitiously created as a Rosary church, with altars dedicated to each of the mysteries, and adorned with magnificent stained glass and statuary.

1893–1988: Hawkesyard Estate, Staffordshire

In 1885, Josiah Spode (of pottery fame) and his niece Helen Gulson converted to Catholicism. She welcomed the Dominicans into the family’s hall and removed herself to a cottage on the estate and then from 1898, a new priory was built. The magnificent church was completed by 1914. Hawkesyard became the Studium (house of studies) of the Province for much of the C20th.

1893–1988: Hawkesyard Estate, Staffordshire

In 1885, Josiah Spode (of pottery fame) and his niece Helen Gulson converted to Catholicism. She welcomed the Dominicans into the family’s hall and removed herself to a cottage on the estate and then from 1898, a new priory was built. The magnificent church was completed by 1914. Hawkesyard became the Studium (house of studies) of the Province for much of the C20th.