Caldey Abbey Church, together with the " Cottage Monastery," the original building erected by the Caldey Benedictines now occupied by Cistercians, was completely destroyed by fire on Wednesday last.
At about 7 p.m. one of the monks observed flames issuing from an upper win
dow and raised the alarm. The Community were quickly on the spot and fought the flames desperately with extinguishers. stirrup pump' and fire buckets. A strong breeze fanned the tames, which spread rapidly to the church roof. Within a few minutes the fire had reached gigantic proportions. Whilst the monks were trying to cut off the rest of the Monastery and thus isolate the fire, the islanders, including the women and children, worked energetically carrying water and removing furniture from the guest quarters, refectory. study-rooms, workshops. It was thought impossible to obtain help from lenby as it was low tide and it was known that the boats would be high and dry on the sands at Tents'', Harbour.
R.A.E. SPEED BOAT HELP
The fire brigade, however, managed to cross with an R.A.F. speed boats complete with their equipment. They placed
their hose in the village pond and by playing a strong pressure of water on either end of the burning building, prevented the fire from spreading.
The church is a complete ruin. Its famous high altar constructed of stones taken from pre-Reformation monasteries, was surmounted by a beautiful reredos, of which no trace is left. The oak choir stalls and organ were of considerable value. The whole of the library with its contents was destroyed. Nothing remains of tie Sacristy. a study-room, sub-Prior's toom, sleeping quarters and various offices.