A CHILD AT THE ABBEY
For sixteen years the author accompanied by the class teacher from Dane Ghyll (Mrs. Allen) has guided children round the abbey. After each visit Mrs. Allen sets the children a piece of writing – a report on his or her visit. Here is just one of them.
“My Furness Abbey Experience”
On a scorching hot, summer’s day, our class was at Furness Abbey on a school trip. I was trying to keep up with Mrs. Leach, who was our guide for the day, while she led us along the grass towards the church. Once we arrived at the church, something very strange happened. There was a sudden thud and everything in front of me became blurred. I stood up, but the abbey was different. The walls had no holes or cracks in them and monks in brown tunics were walking along silently, while others wore white tunics with black aprons and beads.
I rubbed my eyes to make sure the heat wasn’t getting to me. Opening my eyes again, I saw exactly the same picture as before. Suddenly someone walked towards me. I asked him where I was and what I was doing there. He didn’t answer but just walked on by, as if he didn’t notice me. All of a sudden it clicked. The people I saw were monks and I was back in time, but I was also invisible. Behind me a lot of monks followed as we approached the huge room. I entered and saw several monks praying. At the head of the room, reading the prayer was what must have been the Abbot. Once they had finished the monks split up.
After about an hour we went out of the Parlour and set off towards the Frater, Southeast from the Cloister. In the Frater there were plenty of monks eating their lunch. They were eating salad with bread and they seemed to be enjoying it much more than I would have done, then again I wouldn’t be eating it. Strangely enough though everybody sat and ate in silence.
We left the Frater and set off towards the Chapel near the kitchen. On the way we passed the Infirmary Hall and I peered in and I saw many monks in beds and a few monks and the Infirmarer looking after them.
I passed the kitchen on my way and saw monks cooking fish. It smelt delicious, as delicious as freshly cooked gingerbread. I stopped to sniff and ended up wandering in. Many monks were in there helping. I sneaked some into my pocket and ran off.
I dawdled along past the Chapel and the Undercroft until I finally arrived at the Chapter House.
The best thing about the day was that it was fun. I walked back to the church wondering if I would ever get back to reality. I heard singing from the Church that was beautiful. Sitting down to listen everything became blurred once more.
I opened my eyes – I was back, and the surprising thing was that in real time I hadn’t been gone for any amount of time. I started to listen to Mrs. Leach again.
By Ross Parke year 5.
Georgia Drew and Daniel Eccles at the Abbey
This is how the Abbey may have looked in the time of Ross’s creative writing.