It has been good to welcome to the Priory this weekend Emmanuel Gueroult of Donjon de Ballon for it was Hamelin de Ballon who founded us in 1087.
Hamelin de Ballon founded St Mary’s priory church and drew twelve monks and a Prior from the Benedictine Abbey of St Vincent in Le Mans.
Close to William Rufus, son of William the Conqueror, Hamelin also constructed the first wooden motte and bailey castle and was made first Lord Baron of Abergavenny.
The links between Abergavenny and Ballon date from over 1000 years ago. Several documents, cartularies and other charters, give a precise description of Hamelin’s activities in Abergavenny. He travelled back and forth between Ballon and Abergavenny several times during his life. One can imagine that he found on both sides enrichment in material and spiritual ways.
Following a tour of the church with Sir Trefor Morris (Chair of St Mary’s Priory Development Trust) the current master of Donjon de Ballon commented:
I would urge everyone to go there. It has been magnificently restored over the last 20 years under the active support and leadership of a trust chaired by Sir Trefor Morris whose enthusiasm is infectious.
The collection of medieval tombs, is unique – for example including a wooden figure of Sir John Hastings (+1325). The whole reordering of the Church has been done in a very delicate and subtle way, mixing old and new ornaments.
Welcoming the news of the reconnection with de Ballon Canon Mark Soady said:
We owe a lot to Hamelin for founding us and establishing us as a Benedictine Priory. It was after all his inspiration that our predecessor Priors and monks followed the Rule of St Benedict which has blessed us and up held us for nearly 1000 years.
I shall look forward to much closer relations with the current master of Donjon de Ballon in the near future.