Downside Abbey in Somerset in Western England is where I was an oblate for about seven years. The Benedictine Order is comprised of various “congregations”. Each congregation has its own history and charism. Downside is a major abbey in the English Benedictine Congregation.
As a member of the English Benedictine Congregation they have a boarding school and engage in education as well as the monastic life. Men who wish to be monks at Downside pursue a life of scholarship, prayer and educational ministry. Built in a beautiful neb-gothic style, the Abbey Church is relatively modern, having been completed in 1925.
A visit to Downside can be rounded off by driving a bit further into the West of England to visit the ancient town of Glastonbury. The little town of Mells is not too far away where you will find, buried in St Andrew’s churchyard, the Bible translator, convert and writer, Fr Ronald Knox, and just a few spaces away the poet and convert, Sigfried Sassoon.