The Chapel

Now home to holy relics

Sir Walter Scott's granddaughter Charlotte married James Robert Hope in 1847. In 1853 they added a private wing to Abbotsford, creating a dedicated tourist route through the gardens and through the historic house, while steering the ever-rising visitor numbers away from the family’s home. The Catholic Chapel was added in 1855.

James Hope Scott was an important figure in the Oxford Movement and a close friend of John Henry Newman (later Cardinal Newman, and now Saint John Newman). In the early 1840s, with Newman, Hope-Scott became one of the leaders of the Tractarian or Oxford Movement, which sought to return the Anglican Church to a richer Mediaeval form of worship. This movement was deeply conservative and fought against liberal theology and a perceived secularisation of the church. It developed into Anglo-Catholicism and many of its members became Roman Catholics. James Robert Hope-Scott and his wife Charlotte were received into the Roman Catholic church in 1851.

Newman and Abbotsford

In 1845 Newman left the Church of England and was received into the Roman Catholic Church. Newman’s beatification was officially proclaimed by Pope Benedict XVI on 19 September 2010 during his visit to the United Kingdom, and his canonisation followed on October 13th 2019, after documentation of additional miracles. A selection of items he gifted to the family along with the story of James Hope Scott and Newman form part of a permanent exhibition in the Chapel. The items, including robes which are now classed as sacred relics, were gifted by Cardinal Newman to Mary Monica, daughter of James and Charlotte, who had become a close friend. One of the robes is believed to include a 16th-century tapestry panel which has been mounted on to 18th-century silk, while the other is a peerless example of 19th-century vestment clothing.

For more information on Newman.