Earlier today, three members of the our canonry attended the official opening of a new Foyles book shop here in Chelmsford. The invitation to attend was sent to the Prior by Christopher Foyle, owner of Foyles, who also owns Beeleigh Abbey – a former Premonstratensian house. Beeleigh Abbey, which was founded in 1180 and which was suppressed under Henry VIII, is the closest former Norbertine house to St Philip’s Priory. In the past, Mr and Mrs Foyle have kindly invited us to visit their home and have allowed us to celebrate Mass there – for more on these visits, please see here and here.
The Chelmsford Foyles was officially opened by the novelist and member of the House of Lords, Jeffrey Archer. The shop is the third outside London and holds 15,000 titles set across two floors. It also boasts an in-store café, with double height bookshelf and balcony on one side. Foyles forms part of Chelmsford’s exciting new Bond Street retail scheme – a John Lewis store was opened there yesterday and a new cinema for the city will open there in the coming months.
The photos show: (main) Christopher Foyle (centre) with Fr Stephen Morrison (right); (bottom left) the opening ceremony itself, with Lord Archer (centre); and (bottom right) Br Gildas Parry standing outside the new book shop.