Fort Augustus Abbey School
Old Boys Association
outer defences dismantled & ordinance to
1867 Fort sold to 14th Lord Lovat who uses it as a shooting lodge and to house tenants.
1876 15th Lord Lovat, Simon, presents Fort to the English Congregation of Benedictines. Prior Fr. Jerome Vaughan, related to Lovat's wife as was Fr.Adrian Weld-Blundel.
1878 Oct.16th High Mass for opening. Architect Peter Paul Pugin present, having harled the porous whinstone of the old Fort and converted Guest house. Joseph Hanson later removes harling as letting water in. Sum equivalent to rent of Borlum for 19 years promised by Lord Lovat, his entire gift worth over £8,000.
Community = 5 priests, 4 juniors + 4 lay brothers. 3 Ampleforth monks + 1 from Ramsgate.15 boys, school Syllabus = languages, astronomy, geology, natural & mental philosophy, agriculture, chemistry. domestic architecture, political economy, general law of contracts & property.
1878-80 Gales & prolonged frosts. No heating or front doors in Monastery or College. Skating on ice & Summer boating on Sabbath incences Free Kirk.
1879 14th Centenary of the birth of St. Benedict celebrated Aug. 24-26 by procession of relics and blessing of statues, attended by 100 clergy & 300 lay-people. Gale that destroys Tay Bridge demolishes unroofed gable-end of new calefactory.
shows 6 monks, 6 divinity students + 1 lay brother. 38 scholars in new
Benedict's Priory constituted by Pope as "Abbey", (
1887 Death of Lord Lovat on Moy grouse moor - is 58 years old. "3rd Chief is a pupil, created Captain of School following year.
1888 1st Abbot consecrated July 15th Fr.Leo Linse (remaining till 1909).
1891 Census 16 priests (12 English 2 Scottish), 13 students of theology/humanities, + 4 shoemakers, 2 tailors, miller, carpenter, print compositor, wheelwright. 36 pupils ( 13 Eng, 8 Sc, 5 Irish,4 Argentinean, 2 Tasmanian + 1Australian, French & Italian). Total of 230 pupils up to closure of school 1894.
Annual boat race: In farm carts to Kytra, 1.00pm start , finishing F.A. top lock.
" kist of whistles" (manufactured1875) from Battersea sent to
Inverness by special train, by lorry procession through
St.Benedict's College closes at Christmas, thereafter a junior seminary, to train monks
1899 Fr. Luke Cary-Elwes who had played violin with Elgar in village school, joins community & paints the Catacomb Chapel at the Abbey.
1908 Fr. Odo Blundell
1910 Abbey rejoins Eng. Congregation.
1911 2 subarines "weird, wicked-looking brown things" arrive Mar. 15. Officers dine in the refectory.
1912 Sir David Oswald Hunter Blair becomes second Abbot. "a flamboyant Oxford-educated Scottish aristocrat".
1912 -14 Fr.Odo Blundell holds Mass in Firth Of Clyde Fleet, -- opposed by Louis of Battenberg but upheld by Jellicoe as Chaplain.
& nearby Convent continue. Many monks become Chaplains -- e.g. Fr
MC who joined London Irish charge at Loos after previously losing right
and right eye in grenade explosion. College building used as military
for Belgian wounded. Blundell serves on HMS Collingwood with future
GeorgeVI at battle of
Hunter Blair resigns 1917. Fr Andrew Joseph Mc Donald elected Aug. He
1924 Jan. 59 names on roll. HM. Fr. Ninian Macdonald + staff Ambrose Geoghan (Brass Band & Choir), Cyril Dieckhof, Luke Cary-Elwes (Orchestra), John Lane Fox (Prefect of Studies), Victor Le Jeune, Francis Blackwell, Basil Wedge, Aelrid White, Ronald Alexander.
Lay Staff : Commander Farie (Prefect of Discipline), asst by T.Byrne Esq, J. McNally Esq, Miss Tyler (matron). P.T. Staff Sgt. Hobban -- Army Featherweight boxing champ.
1925 Abbot elected onto Parish Council & HM re-elected Pres. Mactavish Shinty Assoc.
1926 First parade of Scout Corps - Armistice Day.
1927 Gale in Jan. damages many trees.
rains and a rapid thaw brings surface of
Oct. Two " graceful" seaplanes by the Boathouse pier for boys to inspect.
1931 New lighting system throughout the school, including stage lights.
1932 Summer - Gypsy Moth aircraft lands on , & makes 3 flights from, field south of the Tarff, flown by Sq.Leader F.Noakes. Swimming in Canal & Loch Uanagan. Winter - Publication of Fr.Ninian Macdonald's "History of Shinty" & of Fr. Cyril Dieckhoff's "Gaelic Dictionary.
died Feb.18th funeral with choir of monks. Transport : Fiat replaced by
pool completed with diving platform & board. Villagers help fight
burns out Gym & Theatre - where boys had been smoking in the prop
Immediate plans for improved buildings. King George celebrations -
Lovat Biography - uncomplimentary review in Sunday Times: "obscure upbringing and meagre education". Abbot Hunter Blair challenges article.
1936 Jan. - "arctic conditions" for three weeks - sledging and skating on Loch Tarff.
Summer - new tennis court
constructed by boys &
staff - filling
1939 Heatwave. Trout weighing 50lbs caught by Fr. Bernard. Commander Farie posted to command "HMS Impregnable".
1940 30 cadets take flights in flying boats. Hamish Mac Donald wins steeplechase. July 24th the ATC visit Achnacarry to witness unarmed combat, firing etc.
1950 Snow from end of November to Chriustmas.
1951 Flu epidemic. Severe weather - toboggan run Glendoe Hill.
Abbey electricity plant to
be switched off - an end to
Br. Francis' labours in engine house & at lade. Village has
many houses, tubular lighting in some shops. Br Placid catches 5 fish
(18 - 21
lbs). Rowing & sculling under Cmmdr. Farie. Mar.6th Fire starts at
Grant's Garage. Abbey team respond to alarm in 5 mins."some villagers
quicker, they were found running tyres & carrying spare parts out
garage at high speed." July 5th Inter-house Boat race. July 7th boat
with OBs to
1952 Election of 5th Abbot Fr Oswald Eaves - had run ATC during war. Jan.gales fell trees in the area, then 3-4 weeks snow & ice .GeorgeVI died Feb.6th.
June 2nd. Construction of
1954 School war memorial of granite from Royal Balmoral, unveiled. May 30th Aberdeen Diocesian Rally brings 2,500 pilgrims to the cricket pitch. BBC TV feature shown of life of school & Abbey - but no TV set to watch it.
1955 15th Jan.temperature -19C. Skiing, tobogganing & skating on the Tarff. May 22nd BBC broadcast of service. Hot Summer - swimming in canal when pool out of commision. Church windows glazed & "inspected" by 30,000 visitors. Br.Malachy Hanson disappears Feb.13th.Searches by villagers & Altyre & Gordonstoun, Mt.Rescue squads + bloodhounds & walkie-talkies. Not found till July 10th 1957 on Corrieyairack in a ditch near the path, spectacles nearby.
made by 2 boys paddled up river to
mild but another gale. Monster sightings in Feb.& March. Fire in
of control till monks extinguish. Old Convent built 1842, had been
church, convent for two different orders, Prep school, private house
converted to flats. Mr. Pimley retires there after 30 years teaching.
displays of the Northern Lights. Refugee pupils arrive from
over 100.Br.Adrian's poultry produces 8,000 eggs in Feb. Cold weather -
coldest place in
1959 Freeze up after partial thaw at end Jan. Skating Loch Unagan & Tarff.School "Hamlet" considered for the Edinburgh Festival Fringe. Dec - Lord Lyon presented coat of arms to Abbey.
1960 OB.Lt Cmmdr W.D.MacDonald running Inchnacardoch Hotel. Fr.Celestine Haworth becomes 6th Abbot. Fr. Mark Dilworth headmaster.