St Benedict’s Chapel  

The tiny chapel of St Benedict’s (opened in 1862 on the feast of All Benedictine Saints and completed in 1875) was originally set apart for the private prayer of the Novices.

Its reredos portrays scenes from the life of St Benedict and the windows show many of the saints associated with him.

At the centre of the reredos stands St Benedict, holding his Rule and calling his monks to listen. To the left is a panel showing his early life in the cave at Subiaco. To the right Benedict is shown at the moment of his death, receiving the Body and Blood of the Lord. Together they show the man who began his monastic journey as a solitary hermit but ended dying amongst his brethren. They support his weak limbs and help him offer the prayer that he could no longer make alone.

The windows offer a short history of monasticism in the west through the saints that they portray. Alongside St Scholastica, Benedict’s sister, is the monk and Pope, St Gregory the Great, who wrote the Life of St Benedict. He sent his monk St Augustine to England and he is also portrayed. Also shown are many great figures of English monasticism, such as Benet Biscop, monastic founder, St Bede the writer and historian and St Boniface the missionary and martyr. St Anselm, philosopher and theologian is portrayed, as is St Wulstan, the last Anglo Saxon Bishop. Wulstan lays his crozier upon the tomb of St Edward the Confessor, from whom he received his see.