St Augustine's, Chilworth

 The foundation stone for the new friary at Chilworth was laid in 1890. The architect was F. A. Walters, who also designed St John's Seminary at Wonersh and Buckfast Abbey. The overall cost of building the church and friary (about £7,000) was met from a bequest of Mary Anne Alliott, an aunt of Father Arthur Wells, who is regarded as the founder of the friary. The first friars took up residence in 1892. While most Franciscan friaries are to be found in urban settings, this friary was built in a relatively quiet place to be the Novitiate for the order. Every friar spends his first year of Franciscan life as a Novice, and the purpose of that year is to make a break with the previous way of life, and to embrace the new way of living. In those days, novices did not generally have holidays or meet with their families, although they did write, and could receive letters. Since 1892, therefore, for the next hundred years or so, every man who has entered this particular branch of the Franciscan Order has spent his first year at Chilworth .                     Post Code: GU4 8QR