St Michael's Abbey, Farnborough

St Michael's Abbey, Farnborough

Saint Michael's Abbey is a Benedictine abbey in Farnborough, Hampshire, England. The community is known for the exceptional quality of its liturgy, which is sung in Latin and Gregorian Chant, and its liturgical publishing and fine printing.


The Abbey was founded in 1881 by the Empress Eugénie (1826–1920) as a mausoleum for her late husband Napoleon III (1808–1873), Emperor of the French, and their son the Prince Imperial (1856–1879), both of whom are buried in the Imperial crypt, as is Empress Eugénie herself.

After the church and monastery were founded by the Empress Eugenie, they were initially administered by Premonstratensian Canons. In 1895, the Empress replaced them with French Benedictine monks from Solesmes. This community, famed for its scholarly writing and musical tradition of Gregorian chants, became depleted in number by 1947 and was augmented by a small group English monks of Prinknash Abbey. The last French monk died at Farnborough in the 1960's. In 2006 the community elected the first English Abbot of Farnborough - the Right Reverend Dom Cuthbert Brogan.

Abbey Church

The Abbey Church was designed in an eclectic flamboyant gothic style by the renowned French architect Gabriel-Hippolyte Destailleur.

The Abbey Church is home to a renowned two-manual organ, installed in 1905, built by the renowned firm of Aristide Cavaillé-Coll & Company: The instrument's origins are shrouded in mystery. Although installed after the death of Cavaillé-Coll, it bears his name rather than that of his son-in-law Mutin, and the internal works are of a quality which identifies this model with the highest standards of workmanship of the high days of that company. Organ recitals are held on the first Sunday afternoon of the month between May and October.

Catholic National Library

The Catholic Central Library was set up by the Catholic Truth Society after the First World War. It was for many years maintained by Franciscans in Westminster until they were obliged to withdraw. It moved into the care of St Michael's Abbey in 2007 for a probationary period pending a final decision on its future. In 2007 it was renamed the Catholic National Library, and is one of the finest collections of Catholic books in England.

External links

* [ Official website of St Michael's Abbey, Farnborough]
* [ Website about the famous Cavaillé-Coll organ in Farnborough Abbey]
* [ Historic Farnborough]
* [ Catholic National Library]

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