Thursday, July 16, 2020

History of 'The Friars'

Where the Carmelite Order began in England. From The Friars website:
Nestled by the tree-lined River Medway near Aylesford is the principal house of the Carmelite religious order that came to Kent in 1242. A compelling story of the Friars and the Carmelites of Aylesford who were forced from their priory in 1538 only to return 400 years later in 1949, is told in the artworks and buildings discovered on a short walk through the grounds. Here you’ll come across one of the finest intact medieval courtyards in England, 17th-century thatched barns and a hostelry for pilgrims dating to the late 1200s. 
In its 750-year history, this venerable oasis has changed use many times. In the centuries after the Reformation, the monastic was converted into an opulent stately home. Merchant bankers, Royalists during the Civil War, Second World War servicemen and even the leader of a Scout group have all left their mark.

When the Carmelite family returned in the mid-20th century, they restored the tranquil gardens, built chapels and adorned them with distinguished ceramic artworks. Father Malachy Lynch who spearheaded the reconstruction, memorably described the Friars as a “prayer in stone”. (Read more.)

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