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, Sir Ninian Comper and Sir Giles Gilbert Scott contributing to its beauty and originality.
What to look for when you visit:
- The Sir 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 Sir Ninian Comper
- The Garner-designed woodwork of the choir, modelled on the stalls in Chester Cathedral
- Listen to the Compton organ with its 142 speaking stops and casework by Sir 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 Chapel of St Oliver Plunkett, home to his beautiful reliquary.