English Heritage Introduces ‘Hour of Contemplation’ in Former Monasteries
Until October 22, English Heritage will encourage visitors to turn off notifications on their phones, end their conversations and enjoy the last hour of public access to its abbeys and priories in contemplative calm, allowing them to explore these buildings. spiritual as they were intended. .
Actor and host Stephen Fry, a tireless activist and advocate for mental health, worked with English Heritage to record an audio intro to “Time for Contemplation”.
The recording, available on the English Heritage website, invites visitors to seek peace and inspiration in the monasteries entrusted to the charity this fall and includes an evocative reading of Saint Aelred, 12th-century abbot of the magnificent Rievaulx Abbey in Yorkshire.
Dr. Michael Carter, Senior Property Historian at English Heritage, explains: “For those who lived there, these monastic buildings offered the opportunity to experience heavenly life here on earth and to discover spiritual inner peace.
“Over the centuries, people have looked to the monasteries now entrusted to English Heritage as havens of contemplation and places of spiritual and physical renewal.
“With many people having lived through the past 18 months very difficult, we invite visitors to escape their worries for a short time, using the calm, the chirping of birds, the rustle of the wind in the trees to contemplate and release their mind and spirit from the busy, noisy and demanding distractions of contemporary life.
“In a modern world, where people are constantly rushing in and expecting to be on the end of a phone 24/7, we often find the silence disconcerting. Sometimes it is important to step back, center and focus on appreciating the peace and quiet that is unique to these historic buildings – monuments of the human spirit and the divine, our ongoing quest for inner peace and fulfillment.