Hunston Convent’s French back-story
In 1871 an expatriate English community of Carmelite nuns returned to England to their new Chichester Carmel, at Hunston just outside the Sussex city. The origins of the community were in 17th Century England, but they had escaped anti-Catholic measures by migrating abroad to the Low Countries and thence, eventually, in the 19th Century to Valognes, in Normandy, France. Here’s a snippet about the Normandy part of that story.
There is more on this story written from historic documents by one of the community’s 21st Century members in a pamphlet called I carried you
The nuns had been living at Valognes, one of the main towns on the Cotentin peninsula, Normandy, which is tipped by Cherbourg. (Their new home was to be on the Manhood Peninsula, which lies south of Chichester and is tipped by the fishing town of Selsey.) The region is famous for castle and monasteries, and is celebrated by a project, “Le Pays
From 1830 to 1871, the hotel housed English Carmelites, who, for the needs of their community, had a chapelAccessed from http://closducotentin.over-blog.fr/, October 2019 and translated by Google
built in1837. On August 5, 1871the hotel was sold for 80,000 francs to the nuns of [the] Refuge de Caen, who housed girls and children. The growing number of “refugees” led them to build dormitories, a linen room and an infirmary, commissioned in September 1872. Classrooms, dining halls and dormitories, as well as the chapel, were totally ruined during the Allied bombing raids, June 1944. The hotel itself was burned down, losing a wing. The current chapel, of Reconstruction style, was rebuilt in 1959 by MM. Isnard and Epaud, architects.