The Friends visit Whitchurch Silk Mill…in the rain again

The Friends of Romsey Abbey latest trip in November saw 35 dedicated travellers visit Whitchurch Silk Mill, situated in the lovely village of Whitchurch, Hampshire.

One thing The Friends can usually guarantee is the weather however, it just tipped down with rain from the moment they arrived to the time they departed, after a delicious lunch at The White Hart Hotel in the town centre.

After a refreshing cup of coffee the large group split into two, to tour the Mill and Gift Shop, which included watching silk yarn being spun into silk fabrics on antique looms.

Whitchurch Silk Mill is the oldest silk mill in the UK still in its original building and a gem of industrial heritage in beautiful, rural Hampshire.  It has been producing silk since 1817, when it was bought and converted by a silk weaver from Spitalfields, London then the heart of the British silk industry.

Whitchurch is a beautiful part of Hampshire situated on the River Test and even the rain could not dampen the enthusiasm of The Friends!

The trip was led by Friends members Colin and Rosemary Davis, who were complimented for organising a wonderful trip.

If you would like to join The Friends of Romsey Abbey, please visit our website at

Ken Gibson

Friends of Romsey Abbey

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“The Benedictines: Their ethos and importance to Romsey Abbey” – A talk by Revd Tim Sledge

The Friends of Romsey Abbey had a fascinating and informative talk about the Benedictines and their influence on our lives today. We discovered that the rules drawn up by the Benedictine monks are as relevant today as they were for the monks and nuns of Romsey in 907. At the time of Doomsday, the Abbey and the Brewery industry were under Benedictine rules and the Benedictines owned 70% of church property.

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St Benedict adopted a solitary life when he forsook the world and became a monk. However when he came to write his own Rule for the monasteries, he used his early experiences to combine the old and new including ‘nothing harsh and nothing burdensome’. The emphasis was on education, hard work, community, caring for the sick, the old and the young and adherence to the rule of law. His rule provided stability for the community over the centuries, when there was social upheaval and unrest. He was a founder of our desire for work, life balance. Most interestingly he encouraged us to receive all guests and newcomers as Christ himself. His legacy stands firm today.

In more modern times the Inspector Morse series was influenced by the Benedictines and the Cadfael mysteries were filmed in the medieval Benedictine Abbey of Shrewsbury.

We are very grateful to Revd Tim Sledge for his time and his inspiring and entertaining insight into the life of the Benedictines.

The Friends Sign the Way…..

Romsey Abbey A-Boards

The Friends of Romsey Abbey recently purchased two new ‘A’ Boards to replace those damaged in the great storms of last spring.

The Boards do an excellent job in ‘signing the way’ with ‘What’s on in the Abbey’ information for our many visitors and members of the congregation ‘.

In addition, the Friends funded the new cycle racks recently installed opposite the South Garth entrance of the Abbey.

To make it even easier for visitors to use the new cycle racks, the Friends have purchased another ‘A’ Board and had new directional posters created.

Our picture shows John Twigg, Chairman of the Friends of Romsey Abbey ‘modelling’ the new ‘A’ Boards!

Ken Gibson

Friends of Romsey Abbey

June 2014

The Friends of Romsey Abbey AGM

The AGM was well attended by the members and we also welcomed the Town Mayor of Romsey and the Mayor of Test Valley, who are our Honorary Vice Presidents. New members have been appointed to the committee.  The new Treasurer is Michelle Twigg who takes over from Tim Rogerson.  A very big thank you to Tim, especially for steering us through our first few years as a new charitable organisation. Fortunately, Tim has agreed to remain on our committee, where I am sure we will benefit very much from his financial and ecclesiastical knowledge.

AGM with Prof. Peter Toyne

Our new Chairman of the Projects Sub Committee, John Thompson-Hall has been serving on this recently formed subcommittee since its inception in October 2013 and as a full committee member will take over chairmanship from Roger Rowe.

It is a real pleasure to welcome back Ken Gibson who has been involved with The Friends of Romsey Abbey since its inception. As an existing member of the PCC and a regular helper at FRA events I am sure his enthusiasm and undoubted communication skills will be a great asset to our work.

Ria Skelton has taken on the task of FRA Newsletter Editor and produced our winter 2013 edition. The rapidly growing importance of electronic communication today is both a challenge and opportunity and it is therefore a very great pleasure to welcome John Compton into our team as Webmaster for the FRA website.

Our Speaker Professor Peter Toyne, CBE DL, one time High Sherriff of Liverpool and Vice-Chancellor of Liverpool John Morres University, gave an inspirational talk, especially appropriate for us as a relatively new ‘Friends Organisation’.  His enthusiastic encouragement to “get involved” was so apt for the Church we know as The Abbey, and the way he conveyed his understanding of what that meant, and should mean, left us in no doubt as to the path we should now be treading.

On Friday June 13th at 7.45 pm The Reverend Tim Sledge will be giving a talk about The Benedictines, their ethos and importance to the Abbey.  Everyone is welcome, £6 on the door which includes a glass of wine.

The Friends of Romsey Abbey are 310 strong, made up of people who love and support the Abbey. Recent visits include Bletchley Park and The Brooklands Museum. Coming up we have a two day visit to York and the Whitchurch Silk Mill.  There are regular Coffee Mornings, talks and an Annual Dinner at Berties. If you are interested in becoming a Friend then please contact John Twigg the Chairman, 01794 521966 or Jill Hall, Secretary 02380 731640 or email: