Bishop Henderson School Visit

Bishop Henderson School visited Downside this month for a day of activities with the Monastery Library. 

The children enjoyed a game of I Spy round the Abbey Church, finding and drawing different parts of the church, including the tomb of Cardinal Gasquet and the Choir stalls, before investigating how monasteries used to be sustainable by making butter and planting their own lettuce seeds. In the afternoon, we returned to the church for a question and answer session with Dom Michael. 

A highlight of the day was learning about the Gordon Riots. After hearing about what happened during the riots, the children wrote newspaper articles reporting on the events. You can see some extracts of their brilliant writing below:


Headlines included:

Riot Destroys Chapel!

Bath’s Biggest Story: The Gordon Riots

Building on Fire!

Burning a Chapel!


Story extracts detailing the events:

Yesterday, I witnessed a riot between the Catholics and Protestant. The mob started chucking altars and belongings out the chapel. Suddenly the mobs caught a priest (Father Brewer) trying to escape. The mob chased him up the road and then he went into a shop called the Cobblers and he told him to get out. 

At 10.00 am yesterday morning, an angry mob chased after a monk. Whilst trashing the chapel, the mob spotted a monk walking down the streets of Bath. They decided to chase after the monk. Shocked, he ran into a cobblers. The owner – Billy Chalk – saw the mob and threw the monk out of the door. 

He tried the police station but the police would not keep him safe, so lastly he tried the Golden Lion. The owner of the Golden Lion finally said “yes” to the monk, and decided to give him a horse. So the monk took the horse, gave the owner some money and fled for his life. The monk was never seen again after yesterday. We don’t know his name today, even after hearing lots of different stories, no on knows his name. John Butler was the only man who got the blame for the riot and in the end he got hung and sentenced to death. 

All of the people said they saw a man wearing bright blue clothes. He was John Butler, and 8 other people were arrested.


Some of the children imagined interviewing people who were at the scene:

“I’ve seen mobs chucking all sorts of things out of the windows and burning it all.”

“All I could smell was fire of wood and paper; I was so shocked.”

“I was so scared: all I smelt and breathed in was ashes. All I could see was fire.”


One even used a quote from Fr Brewer, the monk who fled the scene;

“I am being chased by mobs!”


Many of the children also drew an image to accompany the article. Some of these can be seen below.

To find out more about our education visits, contact us here. We can cater to all key stages.