Fr Edmund Hatton
Fr Edmund Hatton, Benedictine monk of Ampleforth Abbey who among his many roles spent more than thirty years revolutionising and tending Ampleforth’s orchards, died peacefully at Ampleforth Abbey in Yorkshire on Friday 31 August 2012 at the age of 90.
Christopher Hatton (Edmund was his monastic name) was born in West Malling where his father, Sir Ronald Hatton, was for many years the director of the East Malling Research Station in Kent, a major centre for crop research. Christopher was educated at Ampleforth College and joined the monastic community in January 1941. He was ordained priest on 23 July 1950, along with Basil Hume, with whom he studied theology in Fribourg. Fr Edmund Hatton worked in the Ampleforth Abbey orchard from the late 1940s until his first parish appointment in 1980. With the background of his father’s knowledge and experience, he introduced many changes and made the orchard the thriving enterprise it is today, with more than 2,000 trees and more than 40 varieties of apples. In 1982 Fr Edmund published a book of apple recipes, Cooking Apples, which was revised and re-published in 2009.
However, Fr Edmund combined his work in the orchard with a number of other tasks at Ampleforth: from 1953-1963 he was Assistant Housemaster in Junior House, with a two-year period (1955-1957) when he was Assistant Procurator and priest-in-charge in Oswaldkirk; in September 1963 he became Junior Master and from September 1966 until August 1975 was the community’s Novice Master.
At nearly sixty years of age, Fr Edmund began work on the parishes when he was appointed parish priest of Our Lady and St Chad, Kirkbymoorside (1980-1986). Other appointments followed in Bamber Bridge (1986-1989) and Warwick Bridge (1990-1999), before Fr Edmund went to reside at the Monastery of Our Lady of Mount Grace, Osmotherley. He returned to Ampleforth Abbey in 2006.
Fr Edmund’s body was received into Ampleforth Abbey Church at 8pm on Thursday 6 September. The Funeral Mass will take place in the Abbey Church Friday 7 September at 11.30am, followed by burial in the Monks’ Wood at Ampleforth.