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Thursday, December 8, 2016
Ampleforth's oldest monk has died
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 Fr Benet Perceval, the oldest member of the monastic Community at Ampleforth, has died at the age of 92. He died peacefully in the monastery infirmary in the early hours of Friday 30 January 2009, surrounded by some of his fellow monks in prayer.

Fr Benet's death was marked later that day by the tolling of the Abbey's 'Gregory John' bell, with 1 toll every 30 seconds for each year of Fr Benet's
life. Peter Perceval ('Benet' was the name he received when he became a monk) was born in Wimbledon in 1916 intrigued and delighted, he would say in later years, to be related to Spencer Perceval, the only Prime Minister to be assassinated (shot in the lobby of the House of Commons in May 1812).

In 1926 he went to school at Ampleforth. Apart from a three-year period when he was studying in Oxford from 1937-1940, he was to spend the rest of his life in the North Yorkshire valley. He received the name Benet when he joined the community in September 1934 and after his Oxford studies fulfilled a variety of roles in the monastery and school: from 1945-2009 he was secretary to the Ampleforth War Memorial Trust Fund, providing bursaries for students to Ampleforth College. He was Manager of the school shop from 1948-1957 and was then appointed the first Housemaster of St John's House, a post he held until 1980. For the next six years he was Second Master at Ampleforth College.

In 1988 Fr Benet became Prior of the Community as well as being on the Farm Board and Farm Committee overseeing work on Ampleforth's farmland. Other roles included Acting Senior Classics Master in the College and Assistant Guestmaster. He faithfully served successive Abbots as a member of the Abbot's Council and in recognition of his outstanding service to the Community and the English Benedictine Congregation he was appointed to the titular dignity of Cathedral Prior of Durham in1993. Even into his 80s, Fr Benet was very active and from 1997 he was put in charge of the woodlands around Ampleforth, giving his own advice about which trees to remove and where to plant new ones.

Part of his lasting legacy to Ampleforth can still be seen at nearby Gilling Castle, where more than 50 years ago Fr Benet planned the re-planting of the magnificent mile-long tree-lined approach to the Castle. Fr Benet's body will be received into the Abbey Church at Ampleforth on Thursday 5 February at 6.30pm. Solemn Sung Funeral Mass will take place at 11.30am in the Abbey Church on Friday 6 February, followed by burial in the Abbey
vault.

Liam Kelly

Fr Benet Perceval, the oldest member of the monastic Community at Ampleforth, has died at the age of 92. He died peacefully in the monastery infirmary in the early hours of Friday 30 January 2009, surrounded by some of his fellow monks in prayer.

Fr Benet's death was marked later that day by the tolling of the Abbey's 'Gregory John' bell, with 1 toll every 30 seconds for each year of Fr Benet's
life. Peter Perceval ('Benet' was the name he received when he became a monk) was born in Wimbledon in 1916 intrigued and delighted, he would say in later years, to be related to Spencer Perceval, the only Prime Minister to be assassinated (shot in the lobby of the House of Commons in May 1812).

In 1926 he went to school at Ampleforth. Apart from a three-year period when he was studying in Oxford from 1937-1940, he was to spend the rest of his life in the North Yorkshire valley. He received the name Benet when he joined the community in September 1934 and after his Oxford studies fulfilled a variety of roles in the monastery and school: from 1945-2009 he was secretary to the Ampleforth War Memorial Trust Fund, providing bursaries for students to Ampleforth College. He was Manager of the school shop from 1948-1957 and was then appointed the first Housemaster of St John's House, a post he held until 1980. For the next six years he was Second Master at Ampleforth College.

In 1988 Fr Benet became Prior of the Community as well as being on the Farm Board and Farm Committee overseeing work on Ampleforth's farmland. Other roles included Acting Senior Classics Master in the College and Assistant Guestmaster. He faithfully served successive Abbots as a member of the Abbot's Council and in recognition of his outstanding service to the Community and the English Benedictine Congregation he was appointed to the titular dignity of Cathedral Prior of Durham in1993. Even into his 80s, Fr Benet was very active and from 1997 he was put in charge of the woodlands around Ampleforth, giving his own advice about which trees to remove and where to plant new ones.

Part of his lasting legacy to Ampleforth can still be seen at nearby Gilling Castle, where more than 50 years ago Fr Benet planned the re-planting of the magnificent mile-long tree-lined approach to the Castle. Fr Benet's body will be received into the Abbey Church at Ampleforth on Thursday 5 February at 6.30pm. Solemn Sung Funeral Mass will take place at 11.30am in the Abbey Church on Friday 6 February, followed by burial in the Abbey
vault.
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Tags: Ampleforth, Fr Benet Perceval


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