Photo: Friends of Rydal Hall

Friends of Rydal Hall

The Friends of Rydal Hall is a voluntary group of people associated with the Hall. It exists to support the work of the Hall and the resident community. Each year, The Friends donate funds to enable community members to optimise their time here as a way of thanking them for their ministry.

Many Friends visit or stay at the Hall regularly and have come to love its distinctive hospitality, tranquillity and spirituality.

By becoming a Friend, you can help Rydal Hall to support community members and develop the Hall’s offer through regular prayer, by providing practical and financial help and by acting as an ambassador for Rydal Hall to encourage people to come and stay or visit. If you would like to support Rydal Hall by becoming a Friend, please call the General Enquiries line: 01539 430830.

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Trip to Keld Chapel and Shap Abbey

The main event of the year for The Friends of Rydal Hall is a three-day residential AT HOME, held at Rydal Hall, with a different theme chosen each year. The 2019 AT HOME was held from Wednesday 15 May – Friday 17 May. The theme was “Cumbria’s Sacred Spaces”.

Keld Chapel

The Programme included a thought-provoking and stimulating illustrated talk on the first evening given by the Revd Canon Cameron Butland (President of The Friends) who set the scene for “Cumbria’s Sacred Spaces”  by explaining how we can ‘read’ the landscape by clues which our forefathers have left behind in the shape of the lie of the land and rock markings.

Keld Chapel

After the Annual General Meeting on Thursday morning, and an early lunch we set off in a minibus to Keld, a small village near Shap, where there is a tiny chapel.  In olden days this was used by Monks as a place to stop and pray.  It is preserved as a chapel and used for occasional services.  Apart from the chapel space, there is a separate room

where the monks could sleep to break their journey. It was rather dusty inside and cold but we could imagine it as a refuge where monks could be refreshed by prayer as they sheltered there.

Walking across Shap Abbey

From Keld about half the group set off to walk across the fields to Shap Abbey, a little more than a mile away, whilst the less mobile were taken by minibus. The walkers, who were challenged on their journey by a few difficult stiles, were unaware when they were approaching the abbey as it is strategically nestled into the countryside, an example of how 

carefully the site was chosen against fear of attack and well-placed for protection against the weather, and supplies of fresh water, wood and stone. At the well-preserved site of the Abbey, Cameron was able to show examples of some of the features which he had spoken about in his talk the night before. The minibus was driven close to the Abbey so that everyone was able to access the ruins and take part in the afternoon’s activities.

Shap Abbey

On the way back to Rydal Hall, we were invited to Cameron’s home for tea where his wife, Alison made us all very welcome. We were revived with afternoon tea – a variety of delicious cakes, colourful pieces of fruit and comfortable chairs. It was a successful visit both in interest and because as a group all were able to participate and no-one was excluded due to frailty.