Plans for a great new Abbey Church began in 1840, during the priorship of Dom Bernard Murphy.
By the end of the century, when the monastery, until then a priory, was elevated to the status of an abbey, the work was well in hand. The church, still lacking a complete west front, was consecrated in 1935 and was raised to the rank of minor basilica in the same year.
It is one of England’s great neo-Gothic churches with the work of several distinguished architects including Thomas Garner, Ninian Comper and Giles Gilbert Scott contributing to its beauty and originality.
What to look for when you visit:
- The Giles Gilbert-Scott designed Nave, with its ‘unfinished’ West front: spot the arches
- The magnificent gate to the Lady Chapel; itself one of the most complete and successful schemes of Ninian Comper
- The Garner-designed woodwork of the quire, modelled on the stalls in Chester Cathedral
- Listen to the Compton organ with its 142 speaking stops and casework by Giles Gilbert Scott. The console is made from timber from HMS Bellerophon which transported Napoleon after the Battle of Waterloo
- The decorated transepts, the oldest part of the Abbey Church, designed by Dunn and Hansom in 1882
- The relics of St Oliver Plunkett