Willen Tales

Willen in the 60s: the arrival of the monks

Back to life in an 'unspoilt village'
As the village gradually transformed from being labourers cottages to owner occupier the social life began to change also. The coming of the monks to the Society of the Sacred Mission made a huge difference to the villagers of Willen.

"When the monks first came they really wooed the village. They were very friendly and we used to have harvest suppers in one of Mr Rees' barns where the Hospice is now. We would put bales of straw around and there were things to eat and country dancing. Fr Sidney would say from the pupit 'We're going to have a party and bring some dancing mixture"

George and Frances

"When the monks first arrived, it was about 2 o'clock in the morning. Fr Ralph stuck his head out of the window of the car and I said 'Are you a fermenting order or a brewing order?' But they were a teaching order. "

Don Beamish

"The monks used to go to the cinema in Newport Pagnell - it was the second oldest cinema in the country. Unfortunately the projector would often break down and then the monks would start singing hymns until it was working again!"

Alan Calder

"My father used to go to church every Sunday - he thought I was a heathen because I didn't go very often. The monks were lovely, they would go back with him after church and drink a couple of bottles of sherry with him...
Looking towards the war memorial in the days before Dutch elm disease
...One night we went to have dinner with them at the Priory. They had just lost one of the monks. I said 'Very sorry to hear about poor old Joseph' and they said we've still got him! I asked what they meant and they said 'He's on the mantlepiece'. He'd been cremated!"

Howard Rees

Next page about the coming of Milton Keynes