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.