With the solemn blessing of Dotn Gabriel Tissot as Abbot of Quarr, the restoration of a pre-Reformation abbey was completed, For Quarr Abbey was first founded by Baldwin de Redvers, Earl of Devon. in 1132, when St. Geoffrey sent the first Abbot of Quarr and his companions from the abbey of Savigny in Normandy. Savigny was a Benedictine house founded in 1105 by St. Vitalis, with its own characteristic observance. Within forty years of its foundation, the abbey counted some thirty daughter-houses in England and Normandy, all closely united to the mother-house in what would now be called a C'ongregation. In 1135, monks from Savigny re-peopled the pre-Conquest abbey of Buckfast; Furness and Byland are among its better-known houses in this country; While in Normandy its most famous monastery was that of La Trappe.
Affiliated to Citeaux
In 1147 Savigny, with all its daughterhouses, was affiliated to Citeaux, and thus (Nur became a Cistercian abbey. Relatively little is known of the mediaeval history of Quarts The monastery seems to have been flourishing and influential, and its Abbot had a scat in the House of Lords; careful excavations carried out in 1890 show that the buildings—of which very little remains above ground --were such as one would expect to find in a Cistercian house of middle size.
Two abbeys were founded from Quarr: Stanley in Wiltshire, in 1151, and Buckland in Devon, in 1280. But by 1536 it had dwindled; there were only ten monks under the Abbot William Rippon, and the revenues amounted to £181 15s. 241. Thus, in spite of the fact that Henry VIII's commissioners themselves bore witness to the good reputation of the monks of Quarr, the abbey was dissolved with the smaller houses by the Act of 1536. The work of destruction was well done, and sixty years after the dissolution a local antiquary found little more remaining than we see today.
The restoration of Quart began in 1907, when the exiled Benedictines of Solcsmes bought sonic of the Quarr property and built the present monastery a few hundred yards from the ruins of the Cistercian abbey, which they were not able to acquire until five years afterwards. The new buildings, which form a complete monastery with chapter-house, cloisters, refectory and guest-house, were designed by Dom Bellot; in October, 1912, the abbey church was consecrated.
The monks of Solesrnes were able in 1922 to return to France, but they left a small colony at Quarr; it was hoped that vocations would come, and that this colony might develop into an independent abbey. That hope has been abundantly realised. and Pope Pius XI, by a brief dated November 25 last, raised the monastery to the rank of an abbey.
On a January Day The Bishop of Portsmouth, to whose friendship the new abbey owes much. officiated at the abbatial blessing on January 25. The Solesmes Congregation, to which Quarr belongs, was represented by its Superior-General, the Abbot of Solesmes, and by the Abbots of Oosterhout, Farnborough, Wisques, Kergonan, Paris and Ligua. The Abbots of Belmont. Buck fast and Ramsgate, and the Prior of Prinknash, were also present; the Abbot of Downside was represented by Dom R. Brookes. Many members of the diocesan and other clergy were present in the choir, among them Provost Mangan of Rycle, Mgr. Canon J. P. Collings, of Westminster Cathedral, Fr. J. Burke, of Dublin University, Fr, M. Dunlop, and others. At the luncheon which followed the ceremony, a telegram from Cardinal Pacelli was read, giving the Holy Father's blessing.