Dom John Stutter (1842-1922) was chaplain to Acton Burnell in Shropshire for 31 years. Besides this long service to the Smythe family, he also found time to invent a loom, the Stutter loom. 

Living in rural Shropshire and surrounded by grazing sheep, it is no wonder Dom John decided to create his own loom. Sadly, little to nothing is known about the loom, other than it is mentioned in the writings of Dom David Knowles, another noted Downside monk. Perhaps the beauty of the loom lies in this lack of knowledge of it.

Knowles notes that, Dom John Stutter, known for his skill with machinery, put it to good use in the quiet hills of south Shropshire in the mission of Acton Burnell, once home to the whole Downside community, outside of Shrewsbury. There, with Salopian sheep, grazing in abundance, Stutter patented his own loom known as the ‘Stutter Loom’ in the tradition of the home of the birth pangs of the Industrial Revolution with Coalbrookdale and Ironbridge just twenty miles to the east.

Besides being chaplain at Acton Burnell, Dom John also spent time on the mission at St John’s Bath, Stratford upon Avon, Coventry and Stanbrook. He also became a Fellow of the Royal Astronomical Society in 1901. Dom John died at Downside in 1922 and is buried in the cemetery here. 

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Dom John Stutter is shown below standing on the right.