Contemplating Spring at Prinknash Abbey in the Cotswolds

With the welcome advent of spring, most of us become spiritually inspired to slow down and take time to smell the flowers – and, in this case, some acclaimed aromatic incense as well!

Just a few minutes’ drive away from our Inn here at Edge there is the perfect spot to celebrate spring and become quietly contemplative about the joys of life.

Prinknash Abbey is a rather unique and very special place waiting to be discovered in spring, or any season of the year. Why not schedule a visit to the Abbey before, or after, you come to taste the true flavours of Cotswolds cuisine and local ales here at the Edgemoor Inn?

About Prinknash Abbey near Stroud

Prinknash Abbey is home to a Monastic Community of Benedictine monks, who live, work, and pray on this historic estate close to the village of Cranham in Gloucestershire.

Far from shutting themselves away from the world, however, the resident monks welcome visitors with wide smiles and open arms (as long as you are respectful and keep to the designated footpaths and public areas).

Both the monastic community and the estate on which it is now settled and flourishing had a turbulent and convoluted history, until both came fortuitously together as recently as 1928 – which is when the current community moved in to Prinknash Park.

The Story of Prinknash Abbey, Gloucestershire

The story of Prinknash (pronounced “Prinnish”) dates back 900 years to the days of William the Conqueror, when the land was gifted to the Abbot of Gloucester, who built a manorial house on the spot.

After the dissolution of the monasteries Prinknash Park became a Royal hunting lodge for King Henry VIII, then passed through a succession of hands, all associated with the nobility and gentry of Gloucestershire. These distinguished families each added to and improved the house as the years passed – but the most attention that was lavished on both house and grounds came from one Thomas Dyer Edwardes, who bought the property in 1888.

Edwardes converted to Catholicism in 1924 and was moved to invite the Benedictine Community at Caldey Island near Tenby in Wales to move to Prinknash. This community – which originated in the Isle of Dogs, London – had been “wandering” seeking a safe haven for years, faced with financial and other difficulties.

The Benedictine brothers have cared for Prinknash since they moved in and took over in 1928 – the delay having been occasioned by Edwardes death in the interim. Today this prosperous Abbey serves many purposes – place of pilgrimage, tourist attraction, prayer chapel, religious retreat and commercial enterprise.

What to do at Prinknash Abbey

The monks at Prinknash are very industrious, creating and making a wide range of liturgical and novelty goods for sale in their Monastery Shop. They are particularly famous for producing three hallmark things – incense, rosaries and art (oil paintings and watercolours).

Prinknash incense has been perfected over more than a century, and is made to a traditional secret recipe on site, ordered online and shipped to customers all over the world. If you want to sample a snifter, you can buy incense in the Monastery Shop.


Catholics come from far and wide to obtain a set of Rosary beads made by Brother Giles at Prinknash. He’s been the resident Rosary maker for almost 70 years, and you can see a selection of his cord rosaries in the shop. Chain Rosaries are made to order, in a range of colours and combinations.

It is Father Stephen Horton who is responsible for the artwork on display and for sale at Prinknash. You can make an appointment to visit the art gallery, and Fr Stephen also takes commissions for portraits.

There’s a pleasant café on site, but the best thing to do at Prinkash Abbey is to simply savour the peace of the natural grounds and walled garden on a tranquil stroll, or soothe your soul with a quiet prayer in the small, serene chapel.

How to find Prinknash Abbey

Finding Prinknash Abbey by car is very easy if you’re driving on the main A46 route in South Gloucestershire, along the section between Stroud and Gloucester. Just past Painswick look out for a signposted turning to the left, which marks the entrance to Prinknash Abbey Park. There is free parking on site.

The address to aim for is in Cranham, Gloucester, GL4 8EX.

To find out more visit the Prinknash Abbey website or Facebook Page.

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