Search

Convent to close after more than 150 years of community work

PUBLISHED: 17:08 27 February 2018 | UPDATED: 17:11 27 February 2018

The main convent building at All Hallows convent in Ditchingham. PICTURE: Farrows

The main convent building at All Hallows convent in Ditchingham. PICTURE: Farrows

Archant

Dragons’ Den is known for its ruthless and demanding stars, who cause budding business people to quail.

The grounds of All Hallows convent in Ditchingham. PICTURE: Farrows The grounds of All Hallows convent in Ditchingham. PICTURE: Farrows

But a panel of “dragons” pulled together in South Norfolk is likely to be a little less terrifying.

For the group selected to hear pitches for a new use for a convent includes a bishop, a canon, two nuns and a local business leader.

The panel will decide who 
will run the All Hallows convent at the Dragons Den-style event before the current owners leave 
in May. The Ditchingham 
convent will close in May after 
160 years of being home to a community of nuns.

The sisters are taking pitches to run the complex, with applications received from religious groups, possible new communities, and those who want to continue the convent’s work with vulnerable people.

The chapel at All Hallows convent in Ditchingham. PICTURE: Farrows The chapel at All Hallows convent in Ditchingham. PICTURE: Farrows

All Hallows is closing because of an increasing workload 
for the community and the need 
to move three of the sisters into supported living.

The four remaining sisters are moving to a new church-bought mother house in central Bungay.

This means that the community has not been forced to sell the nine-acre All Hallows site, which includes a collection of houses, a chapel and gardens.

Bishop of Norwich the Rt Rev Graham James, Norwich Cathedral’s Canon Andrew Bryant, leaders of the community sisters Sheila and Elizabeth, and a yet-to-be-announced business leader will sit on the panel.

The gardens of All Hallows convent in Ditchingham. PICTURE: Farrows The gardens of All Hallows convent in Ditchingham. PICTURE: Farrows

Canon Bryant said: “Maintaining a nine-acre site with just four sisters is tough. There is a sense of relief in the letting go and a renewed focus on their mission for the sisters.

“We are looking for two things: firstly, it genuinely does continue the reaching out to vulnerable groups; and secondly, it is viable and sustainable.

“The idea is to continue that work for another 150 years.”

He added: “The community will look at all the offers and invite those that they like to come along to an event where they will meet the leaders of All Hallows and pitch their ideas to us.

The grounds of All Hallows convent in Ditchingham. PICTURE: Farrows The grounds of All Hallows convent in Ditchingham. PICTURE: Farrows

“We are very excited as 
what this allows is the site can remain a resource for the 
local church and we are really excited to see how it can be reimagined for the 21st century. What I can promise you is 
there won’t be a bishop sitting there with wads of cash and 
there will be nobody drumming their fingers.”

Other popular content

10:03

A “massive nosebleed” prompted a missing person search after a patch of blood was found on a walkway near Beccles Quay.

Yesterday, 22:00

Thousands of homes across Suffolk sit empty despite a national shortage in housing, new figures reveal.

Wed, 16:44

The fourth instalment of a country fair will once again honour the memory of a woman who suffered with MS.

10:30

An important part of Bungay’s rich history was honoured through a special event.

Most Read

10:03

A “massive nosebleed” prompted a missing person search after a patch of blood was found on a walkway near Beccles Quay.

Read more
Suffolk Police
Yesterday, 22:00

Thousands of homes across Suffolk sit empty despite a national shortage in housing, new figures reveal.

Read more
10:30

An important part of Bungay’s rich history was honoured through a special event.

Read more
St Mary's Church
Fri, 07:00

A song written to help a talented Beccles DJ through his cancer battle has been released in his memory and played out to the world on Radio 1.

Read more
Fri, 17:08

A 44-year-old man has been charged with a public order offence after an incident at a building society in Halesworth.

Read more

Later in Life

cover

Click here to view
the Later in Life
supplement

View

Local Weather

Overcast

Overcast

max temp: 20°C

min temp: 12°C

Show Job Lists

Digital Edition

Image
Read the Beccles and Bungay Journal e-edition today
E-edition

Newsletter Sign Up

Beccles and Bungay Journal weekly newsletter
Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Our Privacy Policy