Ewell Monastery was founded in 1966 at West Malling in Kent. It is an Anglican Cistercian monastery. Here the integrated monastic life of the Cistercian reform is followed by monks and lay people. Worship and prayer, work and study are lived out as a response to Christ. It is a commitment of Christian discipleship lived out in the communion of brothers in the solitude of the monastery.
The particular history of the Reformation in England, Scotland and Wales precluded for a long time the setting up of community life in the Church of England.
But the nineteenth century reforms of Church life and worship enabled a new start to be made. Women's communities were the first to appear in 1845 and then about twenty years later the men. Mission sisters and priests were accepted for the active good works they did among the poor. By the turn of the century there was a more general acceptance by moderate opinion in the Church of England for the community witness of worship and prayer as a real part of the ministry of the church. Several of the active sisterhoods became more monastic in character and some took on the rule of Benedict.
The way was now open for men to do the same and the first Benedictine community for men was founded in 1914 at Pershore in Worcestershire which eventually became the well known Nashdom abbey. There were several attempts to live a Cistercian community life but none survived more than a short time. During this period much of the restoration of Anglican community life between 1845 and 1945 was influenced by the Catholic revival on the Continent.
When we began in 1966 it was clear that modern Anglican Cistercian life would need to be seen as Anglican rather than a copy of a Catholic model. We have been accepted as Cistercians on this basis and were voted by the Cistercian Order to be in spiritual communion with our Catholic sisters and brothers. What counts for everything is the real call to live the life of a Cistercian in the Anglican Church. We are still the only Anglican Cistercian community in the entire Anglican Communion.
Since 2014 the Anglican Cistercian Order has been accepted by the Anglican Advisory Council for religious communities. The Revd Br Geoff J.H.H.B.M. van der Weegen, O. Cist. is the prior. The brothers lead the Cistercian un-cloistered life of prayer in their own homes.