St Mary's Priory Abergavenny: The Priory Centre


Back to our roots

Community at play
Holywell Members
Holywell Community

The old monks left Abergavenny following the Reformation of 1530, but on 2 September 2014 a New Monastic Community was created. 

The Holywell Community is a monastic community carrying on the traditions of the monks who lived and worked in Abergavenny before the Reformation. Unlike traditional monks, who join a monastery for life, members of the Community sign up for one or two years. But like the Benedictine monks of the past, we live according to the core values of hospitality, active listening, and service. 

The Community is thus both new and deeply enmeshed in the history of Abergavenny. We believe that this provides us with unique opportunities to engage with the wider community. 


Three of its former members  reflect

Rev'd Sam Patterson: "During my time in the community I discovered a love of youth and kids work and I developed a deep appreciation of liturgical worship, both of which I have carried into my training and continued to develop. I loved living in community; it shaped how I think about Church, and the rhythm of the offices, prayer then food then work and back to prayer, I hope these are things I can bring to my future ministry"

Br Adrian OSB: "It was through the daily rhythm of the monastic office, through the psalms seeping their wisdom into me, and living life in common in community that began to draw me towards the monastic path.  The Community then allowed me to take periods away to test that calling further.  I don’t think I would be at Mucknell Abbey now, living the Benedictine life, if it hadn’t been for my time in the Holywell Community, gently nudging me in that direction and this, along with the lifetime friends I’ve made in the process, made the time very worthwhile and an experience I will always hold dear.”

Sr Joanna nSSC: My year in Abergavenny gave me the opportunity to live in a Christian community, and explore what that might mean, in all its blessings and challenges. Working alongside clergy, lay readers, lay leaders and leaders from other denominational backgrounds gave me a chance to reflect on what areas of ministry I might be called to, and to step outside of my comfort zone.

The support of the community and the time to pray, built into the monastic rhythm of our life, gave me time to think about my own journey, and led me to joining a traditional Anglican Religious Community 


Community life is framed by the daily services...

Morning prayer (8.15), Eucharist (8.30), Midday prayer (noon), and Evening Prayer (16.30) are all public services in St Mary's Priory church Monday to Saturday. Compline is said by the Community privately.

...but includes Outreach

The work of the community targets the consequences of poverty in the area. Although Abergavenny is thought of as a wealthy town, the north of the town is the poorest area in Monmouthshire and this juxta-position of wealth and poverty make it more marked. The outworking of some of the issues around deprivation has tangible consequences for other areas of Abergavenny and community life in general, particularly with regard to the town centre and its access points.

As a religious community, our existence is not tied to any particular work in the community. This, along with a commitment to listening, means that we can respond to needs as they arise more easily than an organisation with a narrower focus.

An important aspect of the value of hospitality is avoiding proselytism. We go out into the community, working with troubled young people or the elderly and lonely, with the aim of making them feel more at home in their community and in themselves. This allows us to work well with both secular and Christian organisations.




Visit our blog to find out more about what we do.






We are grateful for the financial support we receive from  a number of bodies including The Number One Trust, The Confraternity of the Blessed Sacrament,  Fellowship of Saint John the Evangelist,  The Additional Curates Society & The Archbishop of Wales Fund for Children 

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