THE FRIARS AYLESFORD
The Friars is the home to a small community of Carmelite Friars, who first came here in 1242. There are a number of original medieval buildings that go back to 1280, including the Pilgrims' Hall and two walks of the original cloisters. The Carmelites left at the dissolution of the monasteries in 1538. However, they were able to return in 1949. The place is now a centre for pilgrimages and retreats. There is an open door for everyone. There are a number of conference rooms for day groups as well as a guest house with accommodation for about 100 people.
In the late 1950s, an open air shrine was built for the pilgrims. The architect was Adrian Gilbert Scott who built the shrine in the Gothic style. There are some notable religious art: stained glass windows, sculptures and ceramics by Philip Lindsey Clark, Michael Clark, Moira Forsyth, Adam Kossowski and Charles Louis Norris OSB.
There are two restored barns. One is used as a tea room and gift shop and the other is available for community events.
As well as the Rosary Way there is a Peace Garden to provide a place for prayer and peace for all faiths or none.
The medieval buildings are Grade 1 listed while the Shrine is Grade 2 listed. We are in the process of restoring the Shrine beginning with the gutters, drainage and the roofs. Donations are required for the restoration project and for the maintenance of The Friars so we can ensure the place remains a place of welcome and hospitality to all.
Charity No: 1068518