Given the hoped for good weather and a slightly quieter church schedule (after last Summer’s busy programme) a programme of worked is planned for this Summer starting on July 24th.

After a day of meetings with contractors, Diocesan Advisory Committee Secretary, CADW Inspector, our Architect and Archeologist -in-residence a schedule of work is now planned.

The first piece of work will see Islwyn Pugh Construction and CT Bains  working on refurbishing the Lewis Chapel Roof.

Gibson have been commissioned to install a new Boiler System in the church in readiness for the winter, this will not only improve our heating, but will also re-open a fire exit thus increasing the attendance possible in the church.

Major repair work to the east end of the Priory Centre roof and wall will take place in late August.

Also going on is preparation work for the lowering of the North walk way in 2018 and off site the creation of a new Plinth for Jesse and an accompanying Altar for the Lewis Chapel.

All this work is being funded by major grants, donations and Legacies. We are especially grateful to  Listed Places of Worship Roof Repair Fund and the All Churches Trust for their support.

The Vicar, Canon Mark Soady welcoming the news of this programme of work said.

We have a duty of stewardship for this Grade 1 building of National importance. We are grateful for the support and help we are being given to keep the building in tip top condition – and also to make it a welcoming, safe, friendly place to visit and worship in.


This July marks the 180th Anniversary of the Founding of the Additional Curates Society, we will mark this great Anniversary at 11am on Sunday, July 30th when the General Secretary, Fr Darren Smith SSC will be our Preacher.


On the 12th July 1837 Joshua Watson founded the Additional Curates Society, charged with the important task of resourcing the Church’s ministry.

Our Associate Priest Fr Malcolm Lane is a former  Treasurer and Trustee  of ACS and our last Incumbent Fr.Jeremy Winston was its Chairman until his untimely death in 2011.

We are grateful for the support the Society gives to us as a Parish, and gave to the Holywell Community on its early days.

The last Choir service of the Summer will be on Sunday, July 19th, but they are not taking all the Summer off.


The choir will be spending the week of August 7-13 as Choir-in-Residence at Rochester Cathedral in Kent.Rochester is one of the oldest cathedrals, with a large part of the building dating back to Norman times.

The Music Director Tim Pratt write:

Although it is one of the smaller cathedrals in England it is a real gem, and well worth a visit. Having spent much of my youth singing in the cathedral, it will be a real treat for me to return and for the first time ever, conduct a choir in that building. We will leave early on Monday morning, in order to reach Rochester in time for a rehearsal before our first Evensong. We will be singing on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday, when there will be three service (Matins, Eucharist and Evensong), before returning to Wales. On the Wednesday, the cathedral will be hosting a diocesan Mothers’ Union festival, and we have been warned to expect more than 150 people for Evensong on that day. We will beSummer of for the Choir – well not

During the week the choir will singing a new set of settings for the Magnificat and Nunc Dimitis which Tim Pratt has written for the occasion.

Either pop up to Rochester to hear the choir sing or keep update with their daily activities while in Rochester  by following  their blog.

The Festival of Liturgical Music from August 28th  – September 3rd will also see the Choir in action.


A number of RSCM medals were presented at The Priory Church this weekend, including a Gold medal with honours.

Simon Pratt, former Head Chorister and current Concentor gained his God Medal with honours ” in recognition of his exemplary conduct and outstanding work”.

Other recipients were:


  • Sam Proll


  • Ffion Boyce
  • Daisy Bayliss
  • Rebecca Taylor
  • Sophie Sevenoaks

Congratulating the recipients the Vicar Canon Mark Soady said:

We are truly blessed with our music foundation at the Priory Church. I am grateful to our Director of Music, Tim Pratt for his nurturing of our Choristers from a very young age.

We have a great bunch of Choristers- well done!


After the success of the Easter craft morning at Holy Trinity Church, the Abergavenny Anglican Churches have organised another event, to run the week after school breaks up. The theme will be creation, as a springboard to the Bible Study exhibition on Creation to be staged at St Mary’s  Priory at the Food Festival. The Easter craft day featured glass painting, card-making, stencilpainting and even jewellery making. There were refreshments for both children and parents. This next event will be on Tuesday, July 25, from 10am to 11.30am, to coincide with the usual Little Footprints session. Youngsters must be accompanied by their parents/grandparents or guardian throughout the event, which will be held at Holy Trinity.


The Bible Society exhibition of Creation art will be the centre of St Mary’s offering over the Food Festival weekend.


For a number of years, Fr Mark and Tim Pratt have been talking about the possibility of running a week-long festival of Liturgical music. The original ideas involved a very full schedule of three services a day with recitals and concerts throughout the week, and as nice as the idea was, it became clear it just wasn’t realistic. However, rather than just abandon the concept, we’ve developed a smaller scale, but hopefully just as effective programme to celebrate the rich variety of liturgical music.

icosa choir.jpg

Each day of the week will feature a lunchtime recital of liturgical music, and then different choirs will sing Evensong; each day’s service will feature music from a different century. The full programme is printed below. It will be great to welcome visiting choirs to the festival, we are particularly excited to be able to host “Icosa” Choir who are from Manchester and comprise a large number of former members of the National Youth Choir. We hope the festival will provoke interest and support both from our local community, but also the wider Anglican church.

The week will kick off with two Pre-reformation Services – Vespers and Compline – which our own choir sing each month through the year, with a Festival Launch reception in between. It promises to be a fascinating and intriguing week – please come along and support the festival!




Day 1 – Monday 28th August (Pre-reformation)

St Mary’s Priory Choir

6.00 pm           Choral Vespers (Treble voices)

6.30 pm                       Festival Launch Reception

7.30 pm                       Choral Compline (Men’s voices)


Day 2 – Tuesday 29th August (16th Century)

Ethelbert Consort

1.15 pm                       Lunchtime Recital – Organ

5.30 pm                       Choral Evensong


Day 3 – Wednesday 30th August (17th Century)

Academia Musica

1.15 pm                       Lunchtime Recital – Voice

5.30 pm                       Choral Evensong


Day 4 – Thursday 31st August (18th Century)

Ethelbert Consort

1.15 pm                       Lunchtime Recital – Voice

5.30 pm                       Choral Evensong



Day 5 – Friday 1st September (19th Century)

St Mary’s Priory Choir

1.15 pm                       Lunchtime Recital – Organ

5.30 pm                       Choral Evensong



Day 6 – Saturday 2nd September (20th Century)

St Mary’s Priory Chamber Choir

1.15 pm                       Lunchtime Recital – Voice

5.30 pm                       Choral Evensong



Day 7 – Sunday 3rd September (21st Century)

Icosa Choir

6.00 pm                       Choral Evensong followed by choral recital

8.00 pm                       Closing Buffet Supper





“Sometimes we need to take risks” was the message delivered by the Canon Mark Soady at the Monmouthshire County Council Civic Service at St Mary’s Priory Church on Sunday, June 25th.


Using the Parable of the Good Samaritan as the basis of his address he drew a distinction between the religious officials , bound up by their desire to keep to, not just the letter, but the minutia of the law: and the Samaritan, whose driving influence was Love. Fr Mark said, ” I am certainly  not saying we should bin all Health & Safety rules, but we need to approach them wisely. As last week’s disaster at Kensington shows we need rules to protect people, but leadership is about knowing where the line is drawn with regard to rules and regulations. We need to think more about our heart than saving our backsides. We need a balance as in all things.


Jesus Christ the Saviour, who I believe, in allowed himself to hang on a cross so that he, in love, could wipe away my sins, he  didn’t first go and do a risk assessment – and it is He who following the parable of the Good Samaritan orders me/us to ‘Go and do likewise’.

Making mention of the Council Chairman’s Charities he said, “In naming Wales Air Ambulance as one of her charities Cllr Maureen Powell is hoping to support a group who are sometimes called to  take ‘risks in love’ to receive the sick as did the Samaritan in todays Gospel”.

As Refugee week draws to a close Fr Mark pointed out that the other message of this parable is that all humans are our neighbours – even if they look different or behave differently from us. “This Town and County has  a good record of welcoming ‘the alien’ in to their community, I commend this County for its programe of welcome for refugees – long may it continue”.