About the convents


The Augustinian convents


In 1609, the first English Augustinian convent was founded at Louvain ; its first members were seven Englishwomen  who had originally entered the Flemish Augustinian convent of St Ursula’s. They placed their new house under the patronage of St Monica. In the wake of the French Revolution, the progress of the revolutionary army towards Louvain decided the community to leave for Greenwich in June 1794. They stayed in Hammersmith, before moving to a more secluded and commodious location at Amesbury (Wilts) in January 1795, where they remained until December 1800, when they settled for the next 60 years at Middlestreet Manor, Spetisbury (Dorset). In 1860, the community purchased Abbotsleigh House at Abbotskerswell, near Newton Abbot (Devon) and had a new convent and church built: they remained at St. Augustine’s Priory until the house dissolved in 1983 due to dwindling numbers. 


In 1629, the Louvain house was prosperous enough for five of its members to start a new foundation, Carmersstraat, at Bruges ; it became known as the convent of Nazareth. In 1656, the convent opened its doors to Charles II and his exiled court. With the exception of two sisters who remained, all the nuns left Bruges in June 1794 ; they initially sought to settle in London, and after a difficult period during which the sister had to disperse to various lodgings, they settled together at Hengrave Hall, Suffolk, in August 1794. After the signing of the Peace of Amiens 1802, the nuns voted to return to Bruges, thereby indicating that their attachment to their initial foundation was perhaps stronger than their sense of belonging to English soil. They left Hengrave Hall in October 1803 and settled anew in Bruges in November of that year. The Bruges community is still active today. In 2015, Francis Young wrote a very informative post after his visit of the community ; click here to read.


The third and last English Augustinian foundation is that of Our Lady of Sion, which was founded in 1634. Its initial founders Mary Tredway (who originally professed over twenty years previously, as a Canonness at Notre-Dame-de-Beaulieu) and Thomas Carre (from the Douai college) first envisaged an English foundation at Douai, but were streered towards Paris by George Leyburne, once chaplain to Henrietta and a patron of the Canonesses. Louis XIII granted Tredway and Carre letters patent to buy a house in or near Paris stating that the convent of St Augustine should take on only English postulants and be of no cost to the city. The support of Archbishop Henri de Gondi was much harder to obtain, since he required proof of the financial stability of the new foundation. The influence of Mme de Combalet (Cardinal Richelieu’s niece), Mary Tredway’s finally managed to overcome his initial reticence. In 1638, after four years of difficulties in finding a place, the community settled in the rue des Fossées-St-Victor, and enjoyed a long period of stability there. Like many Parisian nuns, they were arrested and imprisoned in their own convent in October 1793. They were joined, during their captivity, by the sixteen English Benedictines from the convent rue du Champ de l’Alouette in Paris. After the execution of Robespierre on 28 July 1794, they refused to leave and remained in Paris, still at the same address. 

Printed chronicles, annals, obituaries and histories of the Augustinian convents

Bowden, Caroline (ed.),The Chronicles of Nazareth (The English Convent). Bruges, 1629-1793, Catholic Record Society, Woodbridge: Boydell, 2017.
Cédoz, F-M-Th, Un Couvent de religieuses anglaises à Paris de 1634 à 1884 : Ouvrage précédé d’une lettre de son Éminence Mgr. Le Cardinal Langenieux, Paris : Victor Lecoffre, and London : Burns & Oates, 1891.
Daumont, Octave, Le Cloître de Nazareth. « Couvent anglais » de Bruges, Bruges : Desclée De Brouwer, 1935.
Hamilton, Adam (ed.), The Chronicle of the English Augustinian Canonesses Regular of the Lateran at St. Monica’s in Louvain. Now at St. Augustine’s Priory, Newton Abbot, Devon, 1548 to 1625, 2 vols., Edinburgh and London : Sands & Co., 1904.

The Benedictine convents


The monastery of the Glorious Assumption of Our Blessed Lady opened in 1598; it was the first of the English convents in exile, founded specifically for English women who, until then, had no choice but to join existing communities on the Continent, although they often did not speak their language. The convent was placed under the authority of the archbishop of Mechelen; with the support of missionaries in England, who acted as recruiting agents, it was initially successful in attracting high numbers of postulants. The social status and good repute of its founding members played in its favour, especially since the house enjoyed the support of both Archduke Albert and Archduchess Isabella. However, the convent fell prey to a bitter dispute about governance and spiritual direction, especially over the degree of involvement of Jesuits in the spiritual life of the convent. That dispute divided the community and drastically affected the number of new entrants in the 1620s and 1630s. The community nevertheless managed to endure, but was forced to leave in the aftermath of the French Revolution, in 1794. The nuns returned to England, where they settled at Winchester, opening a school, until they transferred to St Mary’s Abbey at East Bergholt, Suffolk, in 1857. During the First World War, the Abbess, who was German, was sent away from the East coast to Stanbrook Abbey, During the Second World War, most of the nuns moved to Swynnerton, although some went to Stanbrook, After the war they bought a large estate near Haslemere where they stayed until closed by the Bishop of Brighton & Arundel in 1975. The remaining religious were dispersed amongst Stanbrook Abbey, Warwick, Oulton Abbey, Staffs and St Scholastica’s Abbey, Teignmouth, the last nun dying in 1995. (with thanks to Roberta Anderson for updated information on the more recent history of the community)


Founded in 1623, the convent of Our Lady of Consolation was the only one of the seven Benedictine convents in exile to be established under the authority of the English Benedictine Congregation. It originated from the initiative of two Benedictine monks, Dom Rudesind Barlow, President General of the English Congregation (1621–29) and Dom Benedict Jones, Superior of the London District of the Order, who gathered nine postulants to create the new monastery. Augustine Baker acted as spiritual director of the Cambrai nuns from 1624 to 1633, and deeply influenced their spirituality. When the house’s official confessor, Dom Francis Hull, tried to enforce his Ignatian approach, the house remained faithful to Baker. Several nuns, such as Gertrude More, wrote to defend his teachings against his detractors. The convent and all its assets were taken by French Revolutionaries in October 1793. In May 1795, the nuns returned to England, where they joined the monks of the English Benedictine Congregation at Woolton, Lancashire. In 1807, they moved to Abbots Salford, Warwickshire and, in 1838, they settled at Stanbrook Abbey, Worcestershire; they recently settled in new, eco-friendly buildings at Wass, in North Yorkshire.


The Ghent convent, also known as the Abbey of the Immaculate Conception of our Blessed Lady, was the direct result of the bitter dispute which opposed some nuns to their abbess at Brussels, Mary Percy. The Ghent house enjoyed very close links with Jesuit missionaries at home and was able to recruit new entrants even during hard times. It was also politically active, supporting both Charles and James Stuart during their exile. It was founded in 1624 by a group of Sisters who left the Brussels convent in order to create their own community under the spiritual guidance of Jesuit confessors. In the aftermath of the French Revolution, as troubles spread across Flanders, the community decided to return to England. It settled first in 1798 at Preston, Lancashire, then moved to Caverswall Castle, Staffordshire, in 1811. Finally, the nuns moved to Oulton, Staffordshire, where they remain today. The history of the Ghent community is documented in more detail here


The convent of our Blessed Lady of Good Hope was founded in 1651, from the cloister at Cambrai, partly through the personal acquaintances of Clementia Cary at Henrietta Maria’s English court. The nuns had to move five times before finally settling at rue du Chant de l’Alouette, in April 1664. Initially under the authority of the English Benedictine Congregation, like their Cambrai mother house, they chose to submit to the authority of the archbishop of Paris. The agreement took effect in 1657, and Paris therefore came under the authority of the archbishop, while it retained Benedictine spiritual directors and confessors. Their close links with the monks of Port Royal meant that the nuns were, for a time, suspected of Jansenism. In 1793, the convent’s assets and papers were taken by revolutionary officers. In 1794, the nuns were removed to Vincennes, where they were held as prisoners at the castle, before being allowed to join the Augustinian Canonesses in their convent. In March 1795, they left Paris; they arrived in London in July, and moved several times before settling in 1836 at Colwich, Staffordshire, where they remain today.

Pontoise (initially at Boulogne)

This convent was a daughter house of Ghent, founded in 1652 by six of its Sisters, led by Mary Knatchbull. The initial foundation at Boulogne met with stern opposition from the local ecclesiastical authorities; François de Perrochel, the local bishop (1643–75), refused them entry into the town until they procured the necessary licence. When the climate proved contrary to the nuns’ health, Abbess Christina Forster sought permission to move to Pontoise, where the community settled in May 1658. The convent was chronically in debt and never managed to stabilise its finances, which had repercussions upon its attractiveness to new entrants. When the annual deficit reached an estimated £10,000, the convent was suppressed in April 1786 and all its property and assets sold at auction. The nuns moved to other houses, and six of them joined the Dunkirk foundation.


This convent was founded in 1662; it was Ghent’s second daughter house, after Boulogne/Pontoise in 1652, and before Ypres in 1665. When the Pontoise cloister closed, in 1786, its Dunkirk sister house welcomed six of the remaining nuns, along with their manuscripts. In 1793, however, the convent was seized by the French revolutionaries and its property taken. The nuns initially stayed with the neighbouring English Poor Clares, and then with those at Gravelines. Finally, the three communities were sent to the local gaol together. Two Benedictine nuns died in captivity. In 1795, the nuns were given permission to leave and they travelled to London in May. There, they used a house formerly occupied by Mary Ward sisters at Hammersmith. In 1863, they were able to move to their own, newly-built convent, in Teignmouth, Devon. The abbey has now closed due to lack of members.


The monastery of Gratia Dei was the last foundation of English Benedictine nuns in exile. A daughter house of the Ghent community, it was founded in 1665 by Mary Knatchbull, initially as an English house; when it proved unable to attract enough recruits to be viable, it was made into an Irish convent in 1682, and under this denomination, it attracted a steady flow of Irish members. In 1688, the nuns moved to Dublin at the request of King James II, but they returned to Ypres following James’s defeat at the Battle of the Boyne in 1690. Unlike the other English Benedictine houses, the community decided not to return to the British Isles in the eighteenth century. It left Ypres only when the Abbey was destroyed in 1914; the nuns moved to Kylemore, Ireland, where they remain today.

Printed chronicles, annals, obituaries and histories of the Benedictine convents

Anon., A History of the Benedictine Nuns of Dunkirk, now at St Scholastica’s Abbey, Teignmouth, Devon, London: Burns & Oates, 1958.
Anon., Annals of the English Benedictines of Ghent, now at St Mary’s Abbey, Oulton Oulton, 1894.
Anon., Chronicle of the First Monastery Founded at Brussels for English Benedictine Nuns, A.D. 1597, Saint Mary’s Abbey, Bergholt, 1898.
Reverend Mother Prioress of Colwich and J. S. Hansom (eds), ‘The English Benedictines of the convent of our Blessed Lady of Good Hope in Paris, now St. Benedict’s Priory, Colwich, Staffordshire’, Catholic Record Society, Misc. VII, vol. 9 (1911), pp. 334–413.
Rumsey, M. J. (ed.), ‘Abbess Neville’s Annals of Five Communities of English Benedictine Nuns in Flanders 1598–1687’, Catholic Record Society, Misc. V, vol. 6 (1909), pp. 1–72.
The Lady Abbess and Community (eds), ‘Obituary Notices of the Nuns of the English Benedictine Abbey of Ghent in Flanders 1627–1811’’, Catholic Record Society, Misc. XI, vol. 19 (1917), pp. 1–92.
The Lady Abbess of East Bergholt and J. S. Hansom (eds), ‘Registers of the English Benedictine Nuns, Brussels, 1598–1856’, Catholic Record Society, Misc. IX, vol. 14 (1914), pp. 174–99.
The Lady Abbess of Teignmouth and the Archivist (eds), ‘Registers of the English Benedictine Nuns of Pontoise OSB, etc. ’, Catholic Record Society, Misc. X, vol. 17 (1915), pp. 248–326.
The Right Reverend Lady Cecilia Heywood, Abbess of Stanbrook and J. Gillow (ed.), ‘Records of the Abbey of Our Lady of Consolation Nuns at Cambrai 1620–1793’, Catholic Record Society, Misc. VIII, vol. 13 (1913), pp. 1–81.

The Bridgettine convent


Founded in England in 1415 and endowed by Henry V, the monastery of Syon Abbey (Isleworth, Middlesex) was a double monastery; it was led by an Abbess, but both nuns and monks took their professions there, and lived in separate quarters. The community survived the 1539 dissolution of their house by relocating in the Continent. Fifty-six nuns and seventeen monks went into exile in the Netherlands; they dispersed into small household groups, before a more formal, smaller community gathered once again around Katherine Palmer, then Abbess of the Bridgettine Dutch convent of Maria Troon. Twenty sisters and three brothers briefly returned to England in 1557, under Mary I, only to go into exile again, this time as a whole community. Never managing to settle in one place, the group wandered over a variety of locations in the Netherlands, then France, before settling more durably in Rouen, France, in 1580. The group then left Rouen to settle in Lisbon (then in Spanish-ruled Portugal), in May 1594. There, they benefitted from the support of Philip II and, after 1638, of the Lisbon College; however, they were removed from other English convents and from the bulk of English exiles, who had chosen to settle mostly in Flanders and Northern France.

Over the years, the Lisbon house fell foul of two great fires. The first, in 1651 destroyed a large proportion of the nuns’ papers and buildings, although the monks’ accommodation remained untouched. The sisters therefore had to remove themselves to the neighbouring convent of Esperanza, where they remained for five years during the reconstruction of their convent, where they returned in October 1656. There, the last brother died in 1696, leaving only the nuns in the house. The second fire was greater in scale, in the wake of the Lisbon earthquake of 1755. The convent was once more partially destroyed, and the Bridgettines had to appeal for funds to rebuild.

In 1809, when Portugal was invaded by Napoleonic forces, the Duke of Wellington took possession of the house, and the nuns were forced to seek asylum with the Irish Dominicans. Ten of them decided it was time to return to England (where they settled at Aston Hall); however, conditions there proved much more difficult than they had hoped. That group finally split, with some sisters returning to Lisbon and others leaving religious life. The surviving Lisbon community returned to England in 1861, later than most of their compatriots. After a brief stay at Spettisbury (Dorset), they settled at Chudleigh (Devon) in 1887, where they remained active until the closing of the abbey in 2011.

Printed chronicles, annals, obituaries and histories of the Bridgettine convent

John Rory Fletcher, The Story of the English Bridgettines of Syon, Syon Abbey, 1933.
Note also this interesting website: https://patrimoniocultural.cm-lisboa.pt/lxconventos/ficha.aspx?t=i&id=603

The Carmelite convents


The first English Carmelite house was founded in 1619 by Mary Roper, Lady Lovel. The nuns were driven out of their convent by advancing French Revolutionary troops in June 1794, and they returned to England via Rotterdam. After a short time in London, they came to Cornwall where Lord Arundel bequeathed the Manor Hall of Lanherne, Newquay. There they remained until 2001. Their daily lives were documented in a short informative video, which you can view here. In 2001, the community had dwindled and decided to amalgamate with the community of St Helen’s, Eccleston (Mersyside, founded in 1914, closed in 2015) and to entrust the care of the Lanherne convent to the Franciscan Sisters of the Immaculate, who took it over and still remain. The Antwerp Carmel differs from most other English convents in the fact that it contributed to the foundation of several daughter houses which, although they did welcome English members, were primarily appealing to local populations. Such houses include Bois-le-Duc (1624), Bruges (1625), Cologne (1630), Alost (1631, suppressed 1783), and Düsseldorf (1643). The Antwerp convent is also the mother house of the Lierre and Hoogstraten convents, which were English foundations.


The Lierre Carmel (in the diocese of Antwerp) was founded in 1648 as a daughter house of Antwerp. They first lodged at the Refuge of Nazareth, which belonged to the Bernadine nuns of Lierre. In 1651, the commnunity moved to a cluster of small houses in Kerkstraat, before settling into brand new, purpose-built premises in that same street in 1717. They remained there until, like their Antwerp sisters, they were driven out in the summer of 1794 (July). Like most English nuns in the wake of the Revolution, they then returned to England. They rented property from Sir John Lawson of Brough at St Helen’s, Auckland, co. Durham until 1804 ; they later moved to neighbouring Cocken Hall and finally to Darlington in 1830, where the Carmel of Our Lady of Mount Carmel and St Joseph remained.


The Convent of Hoogstraten was founded in 1678 and dedicated to Our Lady of Sichem ; it was a daughter house from the Antwerp Carmel. Between 1701 and 1712 the community retreated to Mechelen because of the unsettled times. In 1790 under the leadership of their confessor Charles Neale, three nuns left Hoogstraten (with 1 from Antwerp) to establish a convent in Maryland at Port Tobacco. Like their Antwerp and Lierre sisters, the hoogstraten Carmelites were affected by the movements of the French Reloutionary troops and they left the town in 1794 in order to return to England. In December of that year, they settled at Canford (Dorset). In September 1825 the community moved back to the Continent, in an uncharacteristic move reminiscent of their Augustinian sisters of Burges. But they did not return to their to original convent of Hoogstraten ; they settled in France at Torigny (Normandy) before moving again in 1830, to Valognes. They finally returned to England and settled at Chichester in 1870, where they built their own premises and remained until 1994, when the house closed down due to dwindling numbers.

Carmelites Port Tobacco, Maryland

The first English Carmel in America was an offshoot from Hoogstraten. It was founded by a group of four nuns : Ann Matthews and her two nieces, Ann Teresa and Susanna, three American women from one of the foremost families of Maryland had taken the veil at Hoogstraten. Together with an English sister, Clare Joseph Dickeson, they traveled to the New World with their Confessor, Charles Neale, in 1790. They settled at Port Tobacco (Maryland) where their revenue came from growing tobacco on the lands they purchased. In 1831, after the death of Neale, they moved to Baltimore, where they opened a school. Although they have moved several times to diverse locations in the city, the Baltimore Carmel is still active, and is the mother house of seven other American Carmels. 

The Conceptionist convent 


In 1658, a small group of nuns from the Nieuport Franciscan convent left to found a separate house in Paris, as Sisters of the Immaculate Conception (also known as the Blue nuns); they became known as the convent of Bethlehem. They first settled in the Faubourg Saint-Jacques, and in 1660 they moved to other premises in rue de Charenton, Faubourg St Antoine. During the events of the French Revolution, the convent was seized, in October 1793; a year later, (November 1794), the nuns were imprisoned with their English Augustinian Sisters at their convent  of Our Lady of Sion. They were released in 1795. At that point, three of the nuns decided to return to England, but the rest of the community were given permission to return to their convent before it was eventually put up for sale by the Directory in October 1799. The remaining six nuns returned to England in January 1800; there, they first briefly stayed in London before moving to Cossey (Norfolk).  In July 1800, they finally settled in Magdalen Street, Norwich, where they opened a school; yet, for lack of new postulants, the community dispersed in 1806.

Printed chronicles, annals, obituaries and histories of the Conceptionist convent

Joseph Gillow and R. Trappes-Lomax (eds.), ‘The Diary of the Blue Nuns … 1658 – 1810’, Catholic Record Society, vol. 8 (1910).


The Dominican convent


The convent of Dominican sisters was founded in 1661 by Father Philip Thomas Howard OP at Vilvorde near Brussels. Professions up to 1668 were made at Vilvorde, until they moved to Brussels to ‘Het Spellikens’ (the pin House) in 1669. The church and monastery were rebuilt in 1777. Like their Carmelite sisters, they were forced to flee in the summer of 1794 by the advance of the French revolutionary forces ; they fled to England where they befriended Jane and Catherine Berkeley, nieces of one of the community’s late Prioresses, Sister Margaret Joseph. The Berkeleys put Hartpury Court, near Gloucester, at the sisters’ disposal. The community opened a school for young girls. After the 1829 Roman Catholic Emancipation Act, the nuns had a chapel built, and dedicated to Mary. The school was closed in 1833 and, since Hartpury was getting too derelict, the nuns raised money for the building of a new convent at Atherstone (Warwickshire), to which they moved in September 1839. They later moved one last time, to the isle of Wight, until the closure of the convent in 1989.

Printed chronicles, annals, obituaries and histories of the Dominican convent

The Prioress and community of Carisbrooke, Isle of Wight (ed.), ‘Records of the nuns of the second order’, Catholic Record Society, Dominicana, vol. 25 (1925), pp.176–241.

The Franciscan convent

Bruges (initially at Brussels, then Nieuport)

The convent of English Franciscans (third Order of St Francis) opened in Brussels in August 1621; it was dedicated to St Elizabeth. In 1637, as the community grew, they moved to Nieuport, in Flanders (Our Lady of the Angels), but recurrent health scares in that house convinced them to change location. They removed themselves to Princenhof, in Bruges (Our Lady of Dolours), in 1663. The convent was successful enough to generate one other convent in 1658, although under a different denomination: the Conceptionist community, founded in Paris, and known as the ‘Blue Nuns’. The Franciscans were able to remain in Bruges until the summer of 1794 when, like most of their English sisters, they decided to return to England in order to escape the threat of the oncoming French army. They first lived in Winchester (Hampshire), before finding a permanent home at Taunton Lodge, Taunton (Somerset) in 1808. In 1950, the Franciscans sold the convent to the Sisters of St Joseph of Annecy.

Printed chronicles, annals, obituaries and histories of the Franciscan convent

Richard Trappes-Lomax (ed.), ‘The English Franciscan Nuns, 1619-1821, and the Friars Minor of the same province, 1618-1761’, Catholic Record Society, Franciscana vol. 24 (1922).

The Poor Clare convents


Founded in 1607, the convent of Nazareth was an initiative led by Mary Ward who, during her time as a lay sister with the Poor Clares of St Omer, wished to open a house specifically for the English; she left the community in 1609, but the convent kept growing, eventually allowing the foundation of three more houses (below). The town of Gravelines, however, was the theatre of a two-month siege during the 1658 conflict which opposed Spain to France, and in 1666, the town was hit by the plague. Later, in the aftermath of the French Revolution, the Poor Clare community became host to a prison, where they were kept in captivity for 18 months, together with their Benedictine and Poor Clare sisters from Dunkirk. Their assets were seized. Upon their release, the commnuity moved to England ; they reached London on 3 May 1795. They then benefitted from the hospitality of Lady Mary Elizabeth Nugen, duchess of Buckingham, who invited them to Gosfield Park, near Halstead (Essex). However, in 1814, the Poor Clares were amongst the minority of English nuns who decided to return to their continental convent, at Gravelines. Despite initial success, their numbers dwindled and, in 1838, the community decided to bestow the house upon the local Ursulines, before returning to England. In 1857, they established St Clare’s Abbey, in Darlington (Co. Durham), where they stayed until 2007, when they merged with the Poor Clares of Much Birch (Herefordshire).


Convent of Bethlehem. Founded originally 1625 by four Irish sisters and Eleanor Dillon as Abbess. The convent was unable to receive novices but it was intended to open a school there: the four Irish sisters left to establish new convents in Ireland in 1629. The main foundation dates from 1652. During the 1658 war between France and Spain: Dunkirk was occupied as a result of the Battle of the Dunes and liberated by the English (26 Jun). They left the town to stay with the English Benedictines at Ghent, but no sooner had they left Dunkirk, but they were invited to return. They remained in Dunkirk until 1793 when they were imprisoned with the Poor Clares at Gravelines for 18 months and, like them, took the decision to move to England.


The convent of the Immaculate Conception was, like the Dunkirk house, an offshoot of Gravelines. There are doubts concerning the date of the foundation, sources stating 1619 or 1629, with the latter date being the more plausible option.


Another offshoot of Gravelines was the convent of Jesus-Mary-Joseph, founded in 1644 at 24 rue de Joyeuse. In the wake of the persecutions linked to the Popish Plot in 1681, the house received a number of English refugees as guests ; in the eighteenth century, it also offered asylum to some after the Jacobite events of 1715 and 1745. On 2 October 1793, the French Revolutionary forces took possession of the convent ; on the following day, the convent was to be used as a prison, where a number of other expatriate Englishwomen were brought to join the nuns. In February 1794, the women and the Religious were expelled, and the convent, including its chapel, became a common goal for prisoners of the revolutionaries. They decided to return to England in July 1795, first staying briefly in London, before moving to Haggerston Castle (Northumberland). In 1807, the community moved to Scorton Hall, near Catterick (Yorkshire).

Printed chronicles, annals, obituaries and histories of the Poor Clare convents

Foster, Ann M. C,. ‘The Chronicles of the English Poor Clares of Rouen I’, Recusant History 18.1 (1986): 59-102 and ‘The Chronicles of the English Poor Clares of Rouen II, Recusant History 18.2(1986): 149-91.
Gillow, Joseph, ‘Registers of the English Poor Clares at Gravelines, 1608-1837’, Miscellanea, Catholic Record Society 9 (1914), 25-173.
Girard, Sébastien, La Première règle des pauvres dames religieuses de Sainte Claire, Caen, 1681.

The Sepulchrine convent


The English convent was founded out of the Flemish convent at Tongres in October 1642.  Susan Hawley had professed there in that same year and oversaw the foundation of the English house in Liège, of which she became Prioress from 1652 to 1698. The nuns remaining in Liège until the summer of 1794, when, fleeing the impact of the advances of the French Revolutionary forces like most their English religious Sisters, they decided to return to England. They stayed briefly in London, then moved to Home Hall (Yorkshire), where they stayed for two years before moving on to Dean House near Salisbury (Wiltshire). In 1798, they moved to  New Hall, near Chelmsford (Essex), where they remained until 2005.

Printed chronicles, annals, obituaries and histories of the Sepulchrine convent

Hawley, Susan, A Brief Relation of the Order and Institute, of the English Religious Women at Liege, Liège, 1652.
The Mother Prioress of New Hall, Records of the English Canonesses of the Holy Sepulchre at Liège, edited by R. Trappes-Lomax (ed.), Catholic Record Society, Misc. X, vol. 17 (1917).

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