ITV’s Alastair Stewart Hosts Fundraising Dinner

St Augustine’s held a Fundraising Dinner for Friends, donors and their guests, which was hosted by Alastair Stewart. The high-profile broadcaster, who went to school at the St Augustine’s Abbey School, has been a long supporter of the restoration of St Augustine’s and the proposed Education, Research, and Visitor Centre.


At the Dinner he gave an entertaining and passionate speech in which he called upon people to “preserve history”.


Alastair Stewart gives his speech


Citing the world-famous Houses of Parliament, Alastair Stewart said that we must always think of Pugin when we see them, and so think of Ramsgate. It was from his home is Ramsgate, next to St Augustine’s, that Pugin designed much of the Houses of Parliament.


Alastair Stewart said, “Pugin gave us a real treasure, something that represents a huge amount to the nation and the world. It is St Augustine’s in Ramsgate: the church Pugin built as the model that embodies his unique and valuable ideas. Look at the Houses of Parliament and you will see Pugin’s work everywhere. A symbol of our nation, the tower often known as Big Ben, is Pugin’s work, yet he pointed people not there but to St Augustine’s.


“We need just sixty thousand pounds to save history. St Augustine’s needs your support to open a dedicated education, research, and visitor centre, and to complete its restoration. This building is too important to lose. Please help if you can.”


Alastair Stewart also spoke about his time at the School which used to be run by Benedictine monks on the St Augustine’s site. “I remember the peace, the quiet, and the consolation that I could find in that church.”


Alastair Stewart chats with guests


Speaking after the dinner, the Rector of St Augustine’s, Fr Marcus Holden, said, “I am very grateful to Alastair Stewart for hosting this fundraising dinner for us. The visitor centre will enable us to tell the stories of St Augustine and Augustus Pugin, and to attract many more visitors, pilgrims, and tourists to Ramsgate. By restoring the interior, the church will once again be Pugin’s complete vision of the Gothic arts revived.


Fr Marcus Holden, Rector


“We need to raise the money to match-fund our Heritage Lottery Fund bid. Please help us to achieve this project, to re-present Pugin to the world, and to secure this most important site for the future.”


Fr Marcus Holden (Rector), John Coverdale (Centre Manager), Alastair Stewart, Andrew Sharp (Project Management Board)


Donors, Friends, and their guests enjoy the Fundraising Dinner



Donors and guests from London



Alastair with fellow Old Augustinians



Oonagh Robertson (long-standing volunteer) with Fr Marcus Holden



Alastair Stewart jokes with a guest


Come and celebrate one of Thanet’s most notable residents this week!

Pugin Week 2014 - Poster


Alastair Stewart (of ITN broadcasting)

Paul Atterbury (of BBC Antiques Roadshow) in association with The Pugin Society


Victoria Consort (performing Terribilis Est – “It is Awesome”)

Sung Traditional Latin Mass on the date of Pugin’s death

Fr Marcus Holden, Rector, on Pugin’s life in Ramsgate


PLUS special tours of the tower (pre-booking essential)

Art in August – *New Exhibition*

Art in August (1)

St Augustine’s is welcoming fans of art and culture throughout August, with a display of work by London artists in the west cloister.

There are various kinds of art, from glass to printing to etching to watercolours. Many of the works have been inspired by the beautiful Gothic style of Pugin at St Augustine’s, and compliment the newly-restored Victorian stained glass.

The brand new display opened on Friday 2nd August, running until Sunday 31st August. Visitors will be able to admire the artistic creations in the east cloister. St Augustine’s has three cloisters, one containing the vibrant terracotta Stations of the Cross by De Beule (1893), one under repair, and the other will contain the exhibition.

This is a new venture for St Augustine’s, as the site is itself such a wonderful work of art. The works, as you can see, complement Pugin’s creation very well. It means that St Augustine’s is taking a pro-active approach to art, and we hope that it will encourage people to look at the art at to create art themselves. As St Augustine’s becomes a centre for artistic talent, we hope to encourage artists across a range of media, and to welcome more and more people to see the permanent and other art available to admire here.

The artworks on display are available for sale. Please contact the Stewards if you are interested.

The artists and their materials are as follows:

Karen Butti – Embroidered textiles

Nick Haseltine – Screenprinting

Juliet Johnson – Coloured and etched glass

John Richards – Pen and ink, watercolour

Paul Sharrock – Etching, digital prints, linoprints

DON’T FORGET: Cantate Chamber Choir concert – 7.30pm – St Augustine’s – 12th July

Don’t forget to book for CANTATE CHAMBER CHOIR concert on 12th July!

St Augustine’s — 7.30pm — Pimm’s and summer refreshments included!

Cantate Concert - 12.7.14

Cantate Chamber Choir will perform a wonderful set of music in honour of the Patron Saint of the Isle of Thanet, St Mildred.

The concert will be at St Augustine’s, Ramsgate, on Saturday 12th July at 7.30pm

In the interval Pimm’s and other summer refreshments will be served in the Garth Cloister Garden (included in the price), and the second half of the concert will be sung outside.

It promises to be a most enjoyable evening.

Tickets are £10, and the price includes interval refreshments.

Cantate logo

Tickets are available from 01843 592071, or by e-mailing, or on the door.

Sat 12th July – 7.30pm – St Augustine’s, Ramsgate

Schools: Cardinal Vaughan Memorial School on Retreat at St Augustine’s

The Cardinal Vaughan Memorial School, London, held its Year 10 retreat at St Augustine’s on Thursday 26th and Friday 27th June 2014, bringing its pupils to Ramsgate for the first time. Half the year came on Thursday, and the other half on Friday.

The main features of the day had the pupils put into two groups. One group watched a film telling the story of St Augustine and his place in English history – the film was partly shot in St Augustine’s itself. The other group was halved again, and taken on tours of the site. One group was led by the Rector and the other by the Centre Manager. These tours gave the pupils an appreciation of Pugin and his creation, and the meanings of the many items and designs in St Augustine’s.

For many of the boys this was their first explicit encounter with Gothic Revival architecture, and they were told about its symbolism, and its value to the nation. This was part of a great cultural education for them. They were also told about Augustus Pugin, his links with the Houses of Parliament, and his connection to Ramsgate. Many boys were fascinated by his tomb, here in St Augustine’s.

After the tours Fr Marcus gave a short talk to the pupils. CVMS is a Catholic school for boys, and so this talk was on the nature of Catholicism in England, and its long history dating back to the Roman Empire and, later but most especially, to St Augustine’s mission in 597.

The talk was followed by a period of prayer led by the lead teacher, Mr. Kelly, then Mass was celebrated by Fr Marcus. The relic of St Augustine was venerated by the pupils and staff following Mass.


Mass with pupils from the Cardinal Vaughan Memorial School

Fr Marcus said, “The Cardinal Vaughan Memorial School retreat were excellent days. The boys seemed to engage with both the historical and spiritual aspects of their visit, and I hope they benefitted from their retreat. We very much look forward to welcoming them again, and expanding our provision to schools.”

The fundraising campaign for St Augustine’s to match fund a Heritage Lottery Fund Grant is ongoing and you can donate to it here. This will enable the construction of an Education, Research, and Visitor Centre which will greatly enhance school visits as well as opportunities for other groups, tourists, general public, and researchers to learn about and enjoy Pugin’s designs.