Was the first abbot of Downside really an agent for the foreign office during the Great War? Did he use his being a Benedictine monk as a perfect cover so as to obtain information on Britain’s enemies? 

An illuminating talk by Dr Stella Fletcher has shed light on the wartime exploits of Abbot Edmund Ford, and you can now watch the talk on our YouTube channel, where you can find out the answers to the above questions. 

Known as one of the builders of the abbey church here at Downside, this lesser known aspect of Ford’s life has come to light through research in the abbey’s archives. Dr Fletcher explains how Downside’s links with the high echelons of Catholic society enabled Ford to become a very unassuming spy. 

You can find out more about the abbey’s archives here, and also keep up to date with future events on our events page.