A Day of Celebration

Posted: 28th June 2018

Association Day: Saturday 30th June.

We are all looking forward to Association Day this Saturday, from 4.00 – 9.00pm.  Whether you are present or past pupils, staff or parents, we would love to see you there.  There will be so much going on, including performances of Shakespeare, a bouncy castle, art exhibition, the dedication of the Chapel kneelers and refreshment stalls, that it will be a great day out for all the family.  One of the highlights of the day will be staff members tripping the light fantastic in the Strictly Staff dancing event.  You too can join in! Come prepared for audience participation line dancing by clicking on the link and learning the steps:


If you would like to come to Association Day, please register your attendance at events@sapriory.com

In May we sent out the first issue of The Augustinian, the Association newsletter – if you missed your copy here we print out the articles which appeared.

Mrs Raffray, Headteacher, St Augustine’s Priory writes

In September 2017 we launched The Association to recognise that this organisation is inclusive of all members of  the St Augustine’s Priory community.

Our school was founded with a central premise from St Augustine that young people learn when they are happy. Educational psychologists have caught up with St Augustine and we know that a strong community based on this belief and a deep gratitude for the gifts we receive from this family provide all of us with something unique to Catholic education. We are really excited about the development of the Association as it draws together so many of the reasons St Augustine’s Priory is a uniquely joyful and forward-thinking Catholic school.

Catholic education is about relationships and this is what defines us. The Association therefore has been emerging from our five year strategy to make sure we broaden our Alumnae group to honour all relationships that come together in our very happy school. Parents matter to us because they have invested in us in so many ways and we miss them as well as their children when their daughters leave us. Staff and governors and trustees who have given their lives and talents also are recognised by this focus on relationships.

Please join us for our inaugural Association Day on Saturday 30th June and please spread the word so that we can stay in touch with you as we celebrate where we have come from and where we are going.

So what is the purpose of the Association?  Its objective is to create a supportive community to foster   friendship and interaction between past pupils, parents, staff and all stakeholders of the School. The proposal for the creation of this new Association is part of opening up the school to the wider community – visible and palpable examples being the new entrance and reception opened in May 2017. With the removal of the wooden fences, at last we can be seen by the outside world!  The aim of the Association is to engender pride in all who belong to it with a welcoming ethos showing that the school is an ambitious and warm-hearted community.

What do you get from membership of the Association?  First will be the establishment of a social and professional network. It will include opportunities for members to contact each other and connect via events off site both in school and via social media, for support, coaching, mentoring and advice; we will build on the success of last year’s careers evening and careers events and invite members of the Association to take a leading role in introducing the next generation of Augustinians to their chosen careers;  we will keep    members up to date with news of the school and events;  and we will invite members to a range of  social functions such our annual lunch so that they can keep in touch or regain contact with each other. We want you all to continue to be part of our journey.  And remember that membership is for you and your daughter, for life.

Membership of the Association will bring together, and keep together, people who love St Augustine’s Priory for the rest of their lives.

Welcome to the first issue of ‘The Augustinian’…

Whether you are a past pupil, a parent or member of staff, the St Augustine’s Priory Association exists for you all – to foster friendship and build on this community which has existed for nearly 400 years, first in France and then in England.

We hope that The Augustinian, the newsletter of the St Augustine’s Priory Association, will entertain and interest you,  whether you are currently associated with the school, left last year or last century!  In this first edition, among other items, you will find a brief history of the school.  The constitution of The Association can be found on The Association page of the website.

Even those pupils who left in 2017 will find that the school continues to develop and grow, each year bringing changes – this last year alone has seen the redevelopment of the School Hall, the opening of the new Reception area and the formation of the Priory Farm!

Saturday 30th June is a must for all those who would like to keep in touch with the school.  This first Association Day welcomes all those who would like to visit to come and see the school and enjoy the entertainment on offer, a day for all the family.

St Augustine’s Priory is a living community, one where our traditions are valued and treasured.  We are delighted that May sees the first exchange visits between us and Ste Marie de Neuilly, a school which occupies the site in Paris where we were located between 1862 and 1911, a great opportunity to marry our past with our present and our hopes for the future.

If you are a past pupil and your year group would like to mark a leaving anniversary, do consider celebrating the event at St Augustine’s Priory.  Whether you left 15, 30 or 50 years ago we would love to see you!  Later in May we look forward to welcoming back our Upper VI leavers of 2008 who are marking their 10 year anniversary here with Mass, tours of the school and tea [see Newsletter of 22nd June].  We would love to hear from you and help you to make your anniversary a time to rekindle friendships, treasure old memories and make new ones.

Once an Augustinian, always an Augustinian.  We hope that The St Augustine’s Priory Association – your Association – will enable you to enjoy and appreciate all that this community has to offer you, whatever your age and however you are linked to this school – the unique and wonderful St Augustine’s Priory.

Creation and Continuation…            Some of the views of old and new at St Augustine’s Priory….






A short history of St Augustine’s Priory

What were the origins of St Augustine’s Priory?  You may be surprised to learn that although St Augustine’s Priory has been located in Ealing for over 100 years, the history of the school goes back much further, to 1634.  The founder was an English woman, Lettice Mary Tredway (1593—1677), born in Beckley, Buckinghamshire, the daughter of Sir Walter Tredway and his wife, Elizabeth, née Weyman.

  Abbess Mary Tredway

By 1631 she was a nun at the convent of Notre Dame de  Beaulieu at Douai and, together with Father Thomas Carre, a priest at the English   College at Douai, conceived the idea of founding an order in France for English women who wished to follow a religious vocation.  This was not possible in the     England of that time owing to religious persecution.  The project was approved by the authorities and, in 1634 the Augustinian  convent of the Canonesses Regular of the Lateran opened in Paris.  Six English women were selected to start this new community, among them a thirteen year old girl, Margaret Dormer.  Too young to become a nun, she became the first pupil, the forerunner of all the pupils who have passed through the school.

Settled into premises on the rue des Fossés St Victor, the convent became one of the centres of English Catholics in exile and among many notable visitors were the exiled King James II, together with his consort, Queen Mary.

During the French Revolution (1789) when, alone of all the English religious communities, the     Canonesses of the Lateran remained in Paris, the nuns endured the terror of those years with their convent even being used as a women’s prison.  In the years under Napoleon the community often played host to the Emperor as he enjoyed walking in the quiet of the convent gardens.  Following Napoleon’s defeat, the Duke of Wellington visited the community.

Revolution in 1848 saw the nuns remain at their posts, but in 1862 new premises had to be found when the property on the rue des Fosses St Victor was demolished, and the convent and school moved to Neuilly, on the outskirts of the city.  During the Franco-Prussian War of 1870 the nuns temporarily moved to Brittany but returned to Paris as soon as it was safe to do so.

The nineteenth century saw the reputation of the school flourish until, in 1884 the nuns and pupils triumphantly celebrated the 250th anniversary of the foundation of the order and of the school.  As one of the oldest English institutions in Paris, news of the anniversary spread around the world, with articles appearing in international publications, including The Times.

  The grounds of the Convent in the rue des Fossés St Victor

In 1911, after nearly three hundred years, anti-clerical laws saw the community compelled to leave France for England, a country where the nuns could now practise their vocation and run their school.

For four years the community occupied Castle Hill House which used to stand on Castlebar Road.  The community bought a house on   Hillcrest Road and a new convent and school were attached to the existing Victorian House. In 1915 the nuns moved into their new home and here both community and school remained.  Alterations and additions have taken place to the structure of the buildings over the years.  For example, around 1930 the original Victorian House, which stood on the corner of Hanger Lane and Hillcrest Road, was demolished and additional cloakrooms and classrooms were built, but the essence of what was originally conceived in 1631 grows and thrives with each year that passes.

 The premises in Neuilly (from 1862 – 1911)

During the Second World War the school remained in operation and when air raid sirens sounded nuns, staff and pupils would go down to the cellars and continue lessons there.  Paper was in short supply and so after writing in pencil in their rough exercise books the pupils would erase all and re-use the books for their best work.

Many of the traditions of the nuns have been maintained and continued.  Past pupils will      remember the weekly Mass in the school’s Chapel that has always been held and continues to be so.  The importance of the Chapel and the weekly Mass in the lives of the girls and staff is immeasurable.  Older former pupils will remember Reverend Mother’s Feast Day when the school gathered to wish Reverend Mother a happy Feast Day and the afternoon was filled with games and a film show.  Nowadays we celebrate the School’s Feast Day on the Friday before the Lent Half Term with a school assembly, games and a school Mass. Other practices, such as the May Devotions or the assemblies, demonstrate that the centrality of the Catholic faith is paramount to the life of St Augustine’s Priory.  These, however, are only the outward demonstrations of a faith that is at the heart of the school and without which St Augustine’s Priory would not be the school that it is.

Aerial view of St Augustine’s Priory, showing the original Victorian house on the right of picture.

Although the order of nuns dispersed from St Augustine’s in the autumn of 1996, their spirit and faith lives on in the school which they nurtured for so long.  All who attend this school can be proud that they belong to such a rich and varied community.


We would love to hear from you with your news and announcements.  Do please send us any news you would like to be produced in our newsletter.

An April Wedding

Here is the latest news from one of our past pupils…

We hear from Mrs Lukomski, mother of Claudia (Upper VI leaver 2009), about Claudia’s recent wedding. Claudia attended St Augustine’s   Priory from four years of age until leaving after her A Levels.  She then read History at university and after a year of   working decided to do an MBA at UCAM (Private Catholic University) in Murcia in the south of Spain. During her studies Claudia worked in the administration section of the University and that’s where she met Santiago who had come to Murcia for the same reason.


Mrs Lukomski writes, ‘Santiago proposed to her in Rome two years ago and this year on 14th April they were married in the beautiful monastery chapel which belongs to the University where they met.’

In their wedding invitation Claudia and Santiago quote these beautiful words from Pope Francis,

“It is often said that marriage is “out of fashion” … in a culture of relativism and the ephemeral, many preach the importance of ‘enjoying’ the moment… that it is not worth making a life-long commitment, a definitive decision, ‘for ever’, because we do not know what tomorrow will bring. I ask you, instead, to be revolutionaries, I ask you to swim against the tide; yes, I am asking you to rebel against this culture that sees everything as temporary and that         ultimately believes you are incapable of responsibility,  incapable of true love. I believe in you and I pray for you”.

We wish Claudia and Santiago many years of happy, married life together.


Raising funds for the Alzheimer’s Society

In other news, Mrs Sue Sampson who, many will remember, was Head of Science at St Augustine’s Priory for many years before her retirement a few years ago, is doing a sponsored charity skydive for the Alzheimer’s Society on 25th August 2018.

The Alzheimer’s Society invests in research, fights for the rights of those affected by dementia and offers information, advice and support to people affected by dementia.

Mrs Sampson writes, ‘This involves a bit of free fall and then (hopefully) a controlled descent with a softish? landing.’

If anyone would like to sponsor Mrs Sampson’s leap into the unknown (!) please go to her Just Giving page on https:/www.justgiving.com/fundraising/Sue-Sampson 2

Rededication Service at St Benedict’s

2018 is the centenary of the ending of the First World War and in November St Benedict’s Senior School will rededicate its memorial to all its past pupils who perished in World War I and World War II.

Many past pupils of St Augustine’s Priory will have had relatives who attended St Benedict’s school, so if you, or anyone you know is related to any of the people listed on the memorial (below) please do get in touch, via the St Benedict’s Senior School, to be invited to the rededication service.  The school’s number is 020 8862 2000.

Categories: Priory Post The Association Whole School