Feast of Saints Martha, Mary and Lazarus.
Golden Jubilee – 50th Anniversary of
Ordination to the Priesthood of Fr. Nivard.
Fr. Nivard is taking the Community Mass for the Jubilee. He say’s it is to be all very low key.
Abbot Mark, still bursar, will have a little something in the Refectory.
He says, “The Mass of Martha, Mary and Lazarus show us the beauty of a welcoming family, a home, a house of overflowing hospitality.
“What they were to Jesus God, our Father, has been to me from all eternity. He has showered me with blessings through my parents brothers, sisters and ancestors.
“I thank God for his mercy and love granted through Mother Church and my religious Family, MSB, Bamenda and especially, at the moment, for the unique hospitality of Sancta Maria Abbey. I don’t know how manage to put up with the beggar monk from
“But seriously, the gift of fifty years of priesthood is so great a grace that only with the Mass, the Eucharist, can we offer the Lord adequate thanksgiving. I thank you for joining me on this joyful occasion.
“Coming together as God’s family, with confidence, let us ask the Father’s forgiveness, for He is full of gentleness and compassion”.
Tuesday, 28 July 2009
Caldey - winding wall from monastery
leading to St. Davids Church
Sunday, 26 July 2009
Homily - Fr. Aelred
26 July [17th Sunday of Ordinary Time
For today and the next four Sundays the next Gospel Readings come from the Chapter six of
Most of John’s Eucharistic teaching is contained in this Chapter 6, at his Gospel. There are clear Eucharistic overtones in the way the miracle of the teaching of the 5,000 is related. We are told that Jesus took the loaves, gave thanks, and distributed them to the people. Such language is meant to remind us of what he did at the Last Supper, and at what happens every time we celebrate the Eucharist.
Secondly, the feeding of the crowd points us to the faiths of the disciples. Philip was unsure when Jesus asked him where enough bread could be taught to feed everyone. Andrew did a little better. He took a hesitant step in faith and pushed toward the small boy with five loaves and two fish. At the command of Jesus, however, the disciples trustingly did exactly what he asked. This tells us that living by faith can sometimes be shaky and unclear, but that the word of Jesus can be relied upon.
Finally, this sign points us to God’s generous provision for our needs. By miraculously feeding the impossibly large with the incredibly small, Jesus reminds us that God always wants to nourish us, both humanly and spiritually. The supreme sign of this is in the Eucharist, when we receive the food and drink that points us towards heaven and tells us we are loved.
The Lord nourishes us here in the Eucharistic banquet as surely and generously ass he fed the people in the desert. He nourishes us so that we in our turn may be able to nourish others. Generosity should have a central place in our lives, and we get many opportunities in our everyday dealings with one another to practice it. It’s not only about giving things, but also and more especially about giving of ourselves – of our time, our energy, and our love, some people will only experience God’s generosity through our willingness to give of what we have and, in faith, to allow God to multiply the graces and benefits that will flow from it.
God’s generosity strengthens us to trust deeply in God’s care and to show that care to others by sharing what is ours.
Thursday, 23 July 2009
- Encyclopedia Cirerciensis –
A joint project of the Cistercian family
Almost 3,000 monasteries were founded; many of them have disappeared in the course of time.
At Nunraw Abbey Guesthouse, encountered some Guests from
As something of interest, the OCist Oblate, Gabriele, has enthusiasm in Cistercian Lay Associations and Oblates. She revealed that a few months ago she had contributed the subject of Nunraw Abbey to the Cistopedia, the Cistercian Encyclopedia.
At this point the only Cistopedia documentation for
I learned from this the example of the template to be filled with Data, Pictures and Bibliography. As encouraged by the OCSO and OCist Procurators Generals they write, “We warmly invite you to also support and participate in the project, so that as our collection of data and photographs grows, our Cistercian community may grow as well”.
It makes fascinating and interesting building up of this Cistopedia resource.
Many thanks to Gabriele’s initiative – and prompts us on to further research.
Below as from Cistopedia
Bernard’s Convent, Saint
Hyning, Our Lady of
Our Lady and St. Bernard, Monastery of
West Malling, Our Lady of of
HADDINGTON East Lothian – Founder:
HADDINGTON. Founded by
Medieval Religious Houses
"Nunraw Past and Present" gives
more back ground to the
CISTOPEDIA entry as in
Fr. Michael (picture 1950s)
Clerk of Work New Abbey
Died 94 years
by Fr. Michael Sherry ocso (Nunraw)
The Dissolution of the Monasteries and Convents at the Reformation was, in a sense, the Nationalisation of Religious houses, only the authorities never intended to re-organise them but to close them. At times this was done openly, by fire and pillage-"the burning of the nests," which so pleased the mob. But the cosmic clock. brings strange changes. Today we are witnessing the Dissolution of the Mansions, which the National Trust is striving so honourably to avert. Still, it was indeed a curious chance that the first Cistercian house in Scotland, since the Reformation, should be founded on a property which had belonged to the Cistercian Convent near Haddington before the upheaval.
It is difficult to pin-point the exact date when this property, Nunraw first came to the Nuns of Haddington. Their Convent was founded by the Countess Ada, widow of Prince Henry, sometime between 1152 and 1158, that is, when all Europe rang with the fame of St. Bernard and mourned his death in 1153.
She endowed the convent with considerable lands near Haddington; but, since the Convent lay in the midst of the ebb and flow of the Wars of Independence, no early deeds have survived. In 1359 William de Landellis, Bishop of St. Andrews, confirmed a list of property held by the nuns. An event known as the "Burnt Candlemas",. had left its mark on Haddington three years before when Edward III burnt the town and the whole monastery "which explains the good Bishop's reference to the loss of the convent records due to "the hostile assault of the English". It is strange, however, that he does not mention the disastrous flood of the previous year, 1358, recorded in the Scotichronicon. The Cupar Abbey account tells of a "miracle" which saved the convent buildings on that occasion. It was the Feast of Our Lady's Nativity, 8th September, when this sudden spate of the Tyne-an event known to happen as recently as August, 1948 swept all before it. When the convent buildings were threatened, a simple pious nun took the statue of Our Lady from the Church, declaring that, unless the heavenly patroness of the house restrained the flood, she would cast the statue into the waters. This rather minatory prayer proved successful and the convent was spared.
To return to the good Bishop's charter, which has not survived, but which was transcribed and confirmed by an Inspeximus charter of James II, in 1458, we learn that the nuns had considerable property in Garvald parish. They had the Kirk and a carucate of land (120 acres) adjacent. They had a toft with a garden and eleven acres in Popple and a strip of land in Stoneypath-both familiar names today and nearby. To our great disappointment, the name Nunraw does not occur, since it was probably of later origin. Names did change. There is mention of "Nunhopis, formerly Yesterhopis" near Gifford -a grange which occasioned many disputes with the Laird of Yester, who seized it in 1471. Though no direct evidence has come to light, it is not just a ranging shot to say that the lands designated as "East Grange" in the Bishop's list may well have been what is now known as Nunraw.
Our first real clue to the story of Nunraw occurs when a stronghanded neighbour, Sir Robert Lauder of the Bass, tried to occupy the house of Whitecastle and lands. Later documents use the designation "Quhitcastel alias Nunraw," which seems to show that "Whitecastla" . was the formal name of the property and "Nunraw" - the Nun's Row (of houses) the popular one. Prompt action by the Nun's agent, one Dickson, backed by loyal tenants, seems to have been effective.
Sir Robert Lauder appealed to the Lords of Council "anent the castin doune of the house of Quhite castell" which had proved to be the only effective remedy against a powerful squatter. But the Acts of the Council do not complete the case and the rest is silence.
Evidently the nuns needed the support of powerful friends and "a large part of the history of the nunnery throughout the 16th century may be summed up in one phrase-the house of Hepburn." This powerful family, the Hepburns of Hailes, earls of Bothwell, began to regard the convent as quite a family preserve. The last three Prioresses were Hepburns: Janet who died about 1519 being succeeded by Elizabeth-not the convent's choice-who ruled till her death in 1563 and was followed by a sort of nominal prioress Isobel Hepburn. During this period, the names of Luke, John and Patrick Hepburn appear successively as bailies of the Prioress, acting "by speciall precep onder hir seill."
All this was a century before the system of public registration of deeds. that is still the pride and linch-pin of Scottish conveyancing. Hence. our knowledge of who-owned-what has to be gleaned from various sources. A valuable source at this time is the Protocul Books of the Burgh of Haddington. And there at last we find clear record that John Hepburn of Beinston, as an act of gratitude for being ransomed from an English P.O.W. camp, resigned to his cousin, .the Prioress, Elizabeth Hepburn, after his death the personal use of the lands and revenues of Easter and Wester Nunraw. The date is 9th March, 1542.
Only by looking over the top of his spectacles could the historian fail to note what really happened. For, in the same Protocul Books, we find that he also resigned to his cousin a life interest in the mill and teinds of Garvald. Again the same story about his release from captivity in England is rehearsed but the fact that he had received the property in feu from the convent some twelve months previously is passed over in silence. To prove this, we have the previous grant made by the Prioress and twenty-three nuns, all named, but the like grant covering Nunraw seems to have perished. In volume IV, of the Protocul Books, folios 35 to 82 are missing.
Other documents in this volume show that John Hepburn was assiduously buying up all the sub-tenants of the nuns at Garvald just about this time, intending to carve out an estate for himself with the "manor and fortalice of Nunraw" as his residence. But the convent remained the feudal superior all the time.
In February, 1547/48, the lords of Council- one being the Abbot of Melrose - had little doubt about the real ownership of Nunraw and the Prioress was ordered to keep the place and fortalice of Nunraw "surlie fra our auld ynimeis of Ingland." She got little time to prepare, for the English forces were soon swarming along the Lammermuirs. Nunraw fell and was given in custody to Crichton of Brunston. Within a few weeks, the English were masters of Haddington itself, though the Convent. or "Abbey" as it was always called, remained in Scottish hands, and there within its walls a Scottish Parliament took the fateful decision to send Mary, the six-years-old Queen of Scots, to France to become the bride of the Dauphin.
Late in 1549, the tide of occupation rolled back and the nuns recovered Nunraw through the good offices of Lord Sempill.On the death of the Prioress Elizabeth in 1563, Patrick Hepburn resumed all rights enjoyed by his father, John, over Nunraw. He was knighted in 1574, died in 1583, and was succeeded by his son, another Patrick Hepburn, who married Helen Cockburn. That the family lived in affluent circumstances is proved by the tempera-painted ceiling bearing the initials of Patrick and his wife Helen which was done about this time.
Patrick Hepburn who held the house from 1583 until his death in 1617, must have undertaken a very substantial enlargement. building the central oblong block and the south tower (no.2 on the plan). After this extension Nunraw was now a large dwelling in the 'Z' tradition so favoured by the Scottish landed gentry class.
The names Patrick and John seem to follow one another as son succeeded father but in 1647 we come across a romantic double marriage. John Hepburn of Nunraw, a widower, married Mary Melville, widow of John Murray, a minister. Her daughter Jane married his son Patrick and they received Nunraw as a gift. The Hepburn hold was to last another century and then, in 1747, Francis Hepburn sold Nunraw to James Dalrymple, seventh and youngest son of Sir Hew Dalrymple, 1 st Baronet of North Berwick and Lord President of the Court of Session. Major Dalrymple had not followed the family leaning towards a legal career. Being then about 50. he seems to have decided to seek a more peaceful life at Nunraw for his wife, Margaret Cunningham, and his only son Hew, a boy of seven. He must have known the countryside too since his mother came from Pressmennan. In 1766 this son. Hew, already a widower at 26, succeeded as Laird of Nunraw. He married again and soon the castle or fortalice of Nunraw rang with the voices of children - his five sons and four daughters. But not for long.
By 1779 he was heavily in debt and had to sell the property, the purchaser being James Hay, who took over on 2nd February, 1780. Thus began a connection with the Hay family of Yester, Drumelzier and Whittinghame - the handsome Hays, his brother Robert sat to Raeburn. It was to last exactly a century. James Hay, then over 40, had not sought fame and fortune like his elder brothers Robert and Alexander in the East India Company. His father, then close on 80, may have needed his help to manage Drumelzier and Whittinghame. but these estates went to Robert in 1789. Having no heir - unmarried as far as we know - James Hay disposed of Nunraw in favour of two of the younger sons of Robert, Laird of Whittinghame. The first, Alexander, a mere youth of 19, was killed at Waterloo. 1815. The second Charles Erskine Hay died in Paris in 1827, being then only 26. Two months before he died. he gave Nunraw to his three unmarried sisters. Christian. Anne and Eliza.
They took sasine of the property in July, 1827, by the hands of Rev. Dr. James Walker, one of the ministers of St Peter's. Edinburgh, acting as their attorney and Procurator. He duly received "earth and stone of the ground of the said lands. clap and happer of the said mill. a handful of grass and corn for the said teinds and all other symbols requisite," on their behalf They seem to have managed Nunraw through an overseer, William Black. mentioned in this deed. In 1843. the three sisters agreed to sell to their youngest brother. Robert Hay of Linplum. and he paid £17,000 to them in part purchase.
Robert must have been an interesting character. ill-fitted for farming after his years (1826-38) as a leader in an archaelogical expedition to Egypt which yielded fruitful results for the British Museum. He had just published (1840) a folio work entitled 'Illustrations of Cairo' and had brought home to Scotland as his wife Kalitza Baraki, daughter of the chief magistrate in Crete. When the sale of Nunraw was finally completed in 1860. he commenced extensive restoration work on the house but he died in 1863 before completing it.
His son, Robert James, Alexander Hay, then 23 - was at Cambridge - where he took an M.A. The young Laird continued the work of restoring the "castle". and thus in 1864 discovered the painted ceiling. dating back to 1610. Already referred to and discussed more fully later. Like his father, R. J. A. Hay was fond of travel and in 1875 brought home as his bride from Florence Caterina Maria Teresia, third daughter of Marchese di Monte Castello of Tuscany. When he inherited Nunraw, the property was already burdened with large debts and these soon increased.
Eventually, in 1880, Mr. Hay decided to break the entail and he was in fact living in Florence with his wife and two little sons when the sale to Walter Wingate Gray, Esq., was finally completed. Lt.-Col. W. W. Gray, D.L, V .D., with his wife Mary Stuart Stephen, one of the Glasgow shipbuilding family, beautified the interior of Nunraw House with oak panelling and also added to the exterior building.
On his death in 1931, after 50 years of peaceful possession, his executors sold the place to Marcus Spurway, Esq. He, too, carried out many improvements in the house, which included the supply of electricity from the mains benefit then shared with Garvald village.
In 1945, His Grace the Archbishop of St. Andrews and Edinburgh, knowing that Dom Camillus Claffey, the Lord Abbot of Mount St. Joseph Abbey in Ireland was seeking a suitable site for an abbey, informed him of several properties then for sale. The second one inspected was Nunraw and, the legal transactions being greatly facilitated by the courtesy of Mr. Spurway, the first seven monks were able to take possession on the Feast of the Purification of Our Blessed Lady, 2nd February, 1946. They were welcomed by His Grace, Archbishop McDonald, O.S.B., who, on that day, offered the first Mass to be celebrated in the house. The pioneer community found another staunch friend in the Rev.James B. Walsh, Parish Priest of Haddington.
Before long, several young Scots were admitted in to the Community and it became necessary to construct a larger chapel and the summer of 1947 was devoted to building a temporary one from two R.A.F. huts. July was made memorable by a visit from the Most Rev. Abbot General. In autumn, Sancta Maria Monastery was raised to the dignity of an Abbey, and on 21st November the monks elected the Right Rev. Dom Coiumban Mulcahy to be the first Abbot of the Community. At that time, Dom Columban, as Definitor-General of the Order, was residing in Rome, but he returned in time to be installed in office on St. Andrew's feast. His Grace, Archbishop McDonald, O.S.B., conferred on him the Abbatial Blessing, thus restoring to Scotland on the Feast of the Purification, 2nd February, 1948, the line of Cistercian Abbots broken four hundred years before by the Reformation.
The Abbey had been just two years founded and already numbered thirty-seven members. Plans were prepared by Peter Whiston, A.R.S.A., A.R.I.B.A., for the building of a new Abbey when building restrictions would allow and a partial permit having been granted, the first sod was cut by His Grace the Archbishop, Most Rev. Gordon Joseph Gray, M.A., on Easter Monday, 14th April, 1952. A disused quarry known as "Rattlebags" near Dirleton was purchased and cleared. Old sand and gravel pits on Nunraw estate were re-opened and by the summer of 1954, the Marian Year, foundations and some underbuildings had been completed.
Then, on a truly memorable day, 22nd August, 1954, Feast of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, His Grace the Archbishop laid the Foundation Stone of the Abbey in presence of over 13,000 people, happy to be there despite rain and mist and mud. Work is carried on bya small number of monks, helped and trained by a few skilled workers. Adapting a famous phrase, it would not be inappropriate to say of these that seldom was so much owed by so many future monks to so few. Our sincere gratitude is due also to all those good men who came in the summer months and gave long hours of voluntary labour to help the building of an Abbey and Church which may, we hope, become another "Lamp of the Lothians",
Ut luceat omnibus.
[In these pages, It seemed preferable to spare the reader the Interruptions occasioned by footnotes and references to sources. But great care has been taken to check all the facts. In particular, the courtesy and help of the staff in Register House, Edinburgh, is gratefully acknowledged].
THE BUILDINGS AT NUNRAW HOUSE
Visitors to our Abbey frequently ask how much of the present house is pre-Reformation. In the Eighth Report of the Royal Commission on Historical Monuments in Scotland (1924), Nunraw House is described as "mainly modern, but there is a mediaeval nucleus overlaid and obscured by a mid-19th century restoration and addition, save at the north eastern angle, Where a late 16th century tower rises from the stable court."
But it would be incorrect to think of this tower as Nunraw fortalice or a mere pill-box on the slopes of the Lammermuirs. The first really accurate Map of the Lothians drawn by Timothy Pont in 1610 shows Nunraw as a substantial mansion designated by two towers. So, it was far more than a "peel tower." The Report quoted above, refers to the original structure as built on a Z plan and as being identical with that of Hatton Castle, Forfarshire, which was built in 1575. It is obvious that at some time since the house ceased to be Church property, it has been "modernised," the old stone being covered with fine ashlar and windows of a style to suit a baronial mansion have been opened or contrived. This would explain the thickness of the walls, which is as much as 5 feet in places.
The Ceiling. Nunraw's main interest for antiquarians is the painted ceiling executed in tempera and discovered in 1864. Originally it measured 30 feet by18 feet and was composed of 14 strong oaken joists supporting long panels on which the colours had been laid. The ceiling today is somewhat smaller, 20 feet by 17 feet 6 inches, but two other sections are preserved in the National Museum of Antiquities. In each panel the prominent feature is the title and armorial bearings of monarchs who flourished in mediaeval days. The shields give the arms of the kings of Scotland and England, the kings of France, Arragon and the king of Sicily. There are two shields to each panel, the remaining space being filled in by representations of birds, beasts and allegorical figures. In the centre of the ceiling, the words "Gratus Esto"are printed and the monogram "P.C.H." Experts are of the opinion that these letters refer to Patrick Hepburn and Helen Cockburn, his wife, who were owners of Nunraw from 1595 to 1617. Mr. M. R. Apted, M.A., Her Majesty's Inspector of Ancient Monuments, in a recent article (1958) on "painted Ceilings in Scotland," finds corroborative evidence in the symbols used by the painter, some of which can be traced to an emblem book, first published in Lyons in 1557, which was popular and of which a number of editions were published, one in London, 1591, and a final one in Paris in 1622. He is satisfied that "the date of the Nunraw ceiling can be narrowed down to the years following the Union of the Crowns, since one of the emblems depicts the lion and the unicorn seated on either side of the thistle and since the arms of the King of England, although defaced, can be seen to have been quartered with the tressured lion rampant of the Scottish Royal arms." Therefore the date is after 1603 and not later than 1617, when Patrick Hepburn gave Nunraw to his son, John, on the occasion of his marriage to Elizabeth Broun.
The Dovecote. A short distance from the mansion stands a 16th century dovecote of the circular variety. Projecting string courses divide it into five tiers, which narrow towards the top. Near the base, the circumference is 63 feet and the walls are 3 feet 8 inches thick, containing 450 nests. The cote is surmounted by a hexagonal cupola of modern design.
Sir Walter Scott. It has been said that Nunraw has a strong claim to be recognised as the "Ravenswood" of Sir Walter Scott's "Bride of Lammermoor." (Trans. E L. Antiq. Vol. 1, Part V). This tradition led Lily Pons, world-famous for her interpretation of the part in Donizetti's opera, "Lucia di Lammermoor," to visit the original "Ravenswood" in June, 1948. She was much surprised to find it occupied by monks. It is known that Sir Walter Scott stayed in Gifford, while doing some of his writing, and took long walks in the vicinity of Garvald. Certainly there are points in the description of "Ravenswood" castle as "in a gorge of a pass or mountain glen ascending from the fertile plains of East Lothian" (Chap. II) and his mention of the ancient proprietors as inter-married with the Douglasses and Hays, which support the claim. Further, Scott's reference to the rumour of Lucy Ashton's marriage as the most talked of matter "betwixt Lammer Law and Traprain" certainly shows that the locality was providing him with a backdrop to his story. In his introduction, Sir Walter admits that his story of the reluctant "Bride" is founded on several versions of the marriage on 24th August, 1669. of Janet Dalrymple, daughter of the first Lord Stair, to David Dunbar of Baldoon, near Wigtown, followed by the death of the unhappy girl three weeks later The historian will hasten to point out that all this took place in Galloway nearly a century before the Dalrymple family's short ownership of Nunraw. We can only agree with him and add that the claim rests on the sands of conjecture and there it will remain.
[The writer, Fr. Michael Sherry (93), was the first monk to set foot on Nunraw. He was Superior of the Foundation from 2nd February 1946 until the election of the first Abbot, Columban Mulcahy, in November 1948. The meticulous care he gave to researching the history of Nunraw might have been directed to further academic work. The practical demands of establishing a community and building a new monastery were to occupy him for the following decades. He acted as Clerk of Works during all the time of construction of the new abbey, that is for over twenty years. His interest and love of Nunraw, evident in the above, remains fresh and unabated at the age of ninety three].