VISIT US

To discuss holding your wedding or any event at The Monastery, contact Kate or Fran to arrange a personal welcome tour.

Call 0161 223 3211 or email Kate or Fran now.

We would love you to visit us at The Monastery! You’ll be sure of a warm welcome, and we know you’ll enjoy the time you spend with us.

For more information, click here.

Keep up to date with the amazing array of events we hold all year around.

**The Monastery is open to the public 10am-4pm, Sunday to Thursday each week. Free entry & parking. All welcome!**

Insight into The Monastery: Early History Questions

How much do you know about the early history of The Monastery? Read further to find out some common questions we are often asked about the early history of the Franciscans in Gorton:

 

When did the Franciscans arrive in Gorton and where did they live?

In November 1861, a group of Franciscan Friars arrived in Gorton by train and took up residence at Bankfield Cottage, just off of Gorton Old Road (the grounds on which The Monastery would later be built). At the time, Bankfield Cottage was surrounded by four and a half acres of land, though Gorton was becoming an increasingly industrial area.

 

Why did the Franciscans choose to build The Monastery in Gorton?

It was the then Bishop of Salford, William Turner, who granted the Franciscans brothers the parish of Gorton in 1861. In those days, the parish covered a large area of approximately 25 square miles and included Gorton, as well as parts of Bradford, Openshaw, Fairfield, Longsight and Reddish.

The Monastery is also believed to be on a spiritual ley line and the exact location may have been chosen due to this reason – a mystery that we are still trying to uncover to this day.

 

How long did it take the Franciscans to build The Monastery and how could they afford to build such a large site?

The building work began in 1863 and was then later completed in 1872 (ten years, nine months and twenty-eight days after they began).

Due to their vow of poverty, the Franciscan friars had little money but were able to build this magnificent site due to the help and donations from supporters and the local Catholic community. In fact, they couldn’t actually afford to employ builders for the project and it was the local community – including men, women and children – who helped to build the site.

 

Who was The Monastery built for?

When the Franciscans arrived in Gorton, there were approximately three-thousand people living in the nearby town of Gorton, predominantly engaged in the agriculture, cotton and the emerging engineering industries.

As well as functioning as a Franciscan training centre, the Franciscans were also very active in engaging with the social and spiritual needs of the local Catholic community. The Franciscans helped to serve the needs of the local community – on site, there were schools, a parish hall, youth clubs, theatre and music groups, choirs and brass bands!

 

We offer a range of talks and tours at The Monastery where you will be able to discover more information about the history of the site. Please visit our talks and tours page for more information on available packages.

To book any of our talks or tours, please call (0161) 223 3211.

Insight into The Monastery: Emma Bryning, Visitor Experience Manager

Emma has worked at The Monastery since June 2016, initially starting as the Learning & Community Officer before being promote to Visitor Experience Manager in August 2018.

Emma is responsible for the management of the Visitor Services team, which includes the Visitor Services & Support Officer, the Digital Marketing Apprentice and our team of dedicated and enthusiastic Monastery volunteers. She manages our diverse public programme, including Open Days, large-scale community events and regular activities, as well as looking after The Monastery’s community, education and outreach activities. She also oversees and helps to deliver public talks and tours at the site, manages the Gift Shop and interpretation at the site, and generally helps to try to improve the visitor experience at The Monastery.

  • How did you get involved working at The Monastery?

I started working at The Monastery as a Learning & Community Officer working alongside the then Trust Coordinator as part of a job share to create new community and learning projects at the site as part of the Heritage Lottery Funded, Sharing The Story Project.

Prior to this, I was organising events at a University and also interning at the Sir John Soane’s Museum. Although I had volunteered at a number of heritage sites and museums beforehand, it was really exciting to be offered my first paid role in a heritage site and I felt very lucky to be able to work in such a beautiful building with a rich and interesting history.

  • What do you do in your day-to-day role at The Monastery?

It is quite difficult to describe a general day at The Monastery, as each day is so different! For me, it can also depend it if is an open day or not – if it is a busy open day or if we have a public or community event on, I will usually spend most of my time on the ground floor making sure that everything is set-up beforehand, running smoothly during the open day and making sure that our volunteers feel like they are being supported whilst they are here.

Whether it is an open day or not, I usually check my emails and see if we have any phone messages first thing in the morning – these are usually from people wanting to book Afternoon Tea, a tour or looking for information on our opening hours.

During the week, I attend our daily meeting at 10am where we go through everything taking place in the building that day and the next day, this can include events as diverse as weddings, community room bookings, open days, tour groups or corporate dinners!

For the rest of the day, I might be updating the website, working on new marketing materials for the public programme, attending a community meeting, leading a school workshop, delivering a talk or tour, checking a social media post or blog, working on the volunteer rota, thinking about fundraising ideas, helping with a placement project or organising a public event – usually a variation of the above!

  • What is your favourite part of the building and why?

My favourite part of the building is probably outside where the old front doors and entrance used to be. It is an area of the building that I don’t think many of our visitors tend to go to, but I think it is really special to imagine the hundreds (sometimes thousands) of people who throughout each day would walk from Gorton Lane straight into those doors and enter the Church. It is so interesting to think of how different the local landscape used to be with lots of different shops and old terraced houses just across the road.

  • What are your favourite events at the building and why?

I really enjoy when we run our community and family days at The Monastery. It is always really nice seeing lots of people engaging with the building in different ways and getting involved in all of the activities on offer. I am looking forward to a lot of our different public events this year including craft fairs, a book fair, a collaboration with PDSA, an Our Kids Social event, a local history day, a Music at The Monastery event, and our annual ‘Christmas Story’ day!

  • If you were going to buy something from The Monastery Shop what would it be and why?

We have a really nice selection of children’s books and toys so I usually tend to buy these from the shop for my little niece and new godson. I also tend to get a Monastery mug as a nice gift when I am visiting a friend or family member that I haven’t seen in a little while!

  • What is your favourite time at The Monastery and why?

My favourite time of the year is probably in the summer – I really enjoy being able to go sit outside in the cloister garden and enjoy the sunshine during my lunch break, and it is great at that time of the year for playing children’s games outside as part of a learning session or community day.

However, my favourite time of day in the building is during the evening or at night. The building has a completely different feel to it – it is very atmospheric and you can just imagine what it felt like for the friars walking through the cloisters and around the friary at night!

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