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Benedictines to sell church treasures worth £100,000

A chalice for sale next week

About £100,000 worth of treasures from St Augustine’s Abbey in Kent are to be sold at auction next week.

The objects being put up for sale include church plate, chalices – including a Charles I chalice made in 1633 and an Arts and Crafts chalice worth £13,000 to £15,000 – as well as reliquaries and a 19th-century monstrance.

The treasures are being sold by Dominic Winter auctioneers after the remaining Benedictine monks at the abbey decided to move to a smaller friary in Chilworth, near Farnham in Surrey.

Priestly bloggers Fr Mildew and Fr Ray Blake have criticised the sale, saying more effort should have been made to keep the holy objects for use in liturgy.

Fr Blake, parish priest at St Mary Magdalene, Brighton, said that St Michael’s Abbey at Farnborough, Hampshire – another Benedictine monastery – were considering trying to acquire “as many of these items as possible”.

A spokesman for the abbey declined to comment.

Fr Blake wrote: “I only hope and pray that these sacred objects are bought and restored to the holy use for which they were intended. However, their fate is more likely to become part of some decorative scheme or possibly even to be used for a sacrilegious purpose.”

A spokesman for Dominic Winter said that all of the religious objects had been deconsecrated. The auction will be held on Wednesday and Thursday next week.

St Augustine’s Abbey in Ramsgate, designed by A W Pugin, was the first monastery to be built in England since the Reformation. It was founded in 1856. The 11 Benedictines voted to leave in 2009 and bought the Franciscan friary in Chilworth in 2010.