Room 2: History as a life-long vocation: the career of Christopher Watkin

Another Downside monk engaged in historical research was Dom Aelred Watkin (1918–97), though his career as a historian neither started nor stopped with Downside. Watkin entered the monastery in 1936, having never previously visited. Interested in historical study since boyhood, Watkin followed the usual course of monastic studies until matriculating at Cambridge to read History in 1943. Even before graduating, he became a Fellow of the Royal Historical Society. Watkin subsequently taught in Downside School, rising to headmaster in 1962 and publishing multiple works including The Great Chartulary of Glastonbury (1946–58) and the Registrum Archidiaconatus Norwyci (1946–48), drafts of which remain at Downside. From 1975–89 he was parish priest of Beccles, Suffolk, and was elected mayor in 1979, wearing his mayoral chain over his monastic habit. Returning to Downside in 1989, Watkin was made titular abbot of Glastonbury in recognition of his life-long contribution to history.

Selected by the monks of Downside.

Shown here are:
- Watkin’s published work on a liturgical manuscript from Winchester;
- a page of Watkin’s typed notes with handwritten additions;
- a photograph of Watkin wearing his mayoral chain.