History

The ancient abbey of Quarr was founded in 1132 by Baldwin de Redvers who later became Lord of the Island and Earl of Devon. He brought monks from Savigny Abbey, in Normandy, France, to the island for the monastery.

The abbey took its name from the quarry to the east of it. It had a library and an infirmary: some of the monks were doctors and pharmacists who tended islanders. The abbey maintained the bridge at Wootton, tide mills and salterns (for producing salt). It had an establishment at the entrance to Wootton Creek at Fish-house, now Fishbourne, from which its ships could sail. Monks from Quarr were responsible for many surrounding granges (large agricultural establishments) and churches, including for a time Saint Nicholas’ chapel at Carisbrooke Castle.

In 1147 the whole congregation of Savigny, including Quarr Abbey, joined the Cistercian congregation. Foundations were made from Quarr Abbey at Stanley in Wiltshire in 1154 and at Buckland in Devonshire in 1278. Following the French attack on the Isle of Wight in 1377, the Abbey fortified Fish-house and the mill on Wootton Creek; a few gun-ports were set into the enclosure wall facing north.

Despite the good reputation of its monks, the Abbey was closed under King Henry VIII in July 1536. The last abbot, with one of his monks, crossed the Solent to resume their religious life at Beaulieu, while two other monks went off to Quarr’s daughter house at Buckland. The abbey was purchased and demolished by Mr John Mills of Southampton. Some of its stone was used for building Yarmouth Castle.

Support & donate…

Your generosity helps preserve Quarr for future generations...

Support & donate…

Your generosity helps preserve Quarr for future generations...

Welcome to the Abbey of Our Lady of Quarr, a monastery on the Isle of Wight, just off the south coast of England. It is home to a small group of Benedictine monks who strive to dedicate their lives to the glory of God, and whose day is characterised by prayer, work and community life.

Quarr Abbey is situated in an area of outstanding natural beauty. Visitors are welcome to attend worship in the Abbey Church. You can visit our gardens, take refreshment in our Tea Shop and find out about the monastery in our Visitor Centre. The Farm Shop offers home grown produce and the Monastery Shop religious articles, books and souvenirs. There is a new exhibition of the work of local artists every week in the gallery.

Copyright 2020 St Mary’s Abbey, Quarr | Registered Charity in England and Wales – Charity no. 1165957 | Company no. 09806062 | Built by Solent.Agency