Happy 800th birthday, Wroxton Abbey!

Wroxton Abbey 800th class photo

The FDU Wroxton College Spring 2017 class celebrates the Abbey's 800th anniversary with smiles and signs! (Photos by Andrew Rose)

By Andrew Rose

April 28, 2017 — It’s a big year for Fairleigh Dickinson University — 75 years ago, under founder and President Peter Sammartino, FDU opened its doors in Rutherford, N.J. The year 2017 is a very special for FDU's Wroxton College, too, as it marks the 800th anniversary of the Wroxton Augustinian Priory, which was founded by Michael Belet in 1217.

Baldwin archery

The priory was a monastery headed by a prior and the priests’ patron and spiritual guide was Augustine of Hippo, one of the greatest saints of the Christian church.

Top photo: Wroxton College Dean Nicholas Baldwin tries his hand at archery with students looking on. Bottom photo: A traditional Punch and Judy puppet show is part of the festivities.

Sadly, very little of the original priory now remains. The dissolution of the monasteries, overseen by King Henry VIII in 1536, made sure that the priory was swept away. However, those who venture down into the basement will still see the 13th century arch and 14th century moulded doorway.

Punch and Judy puppet show

To celebrate the Wroxton anniversary, the college held a special Medieval Day on April 23.

The day started with two lectures in the morning. The first was on the Augustinian Canons and the priory at Wroxton. The second lecture covered on medieval life and the life of a monk. Speakers at the second lecture were suitably attired in traditional medieval costume!

Members of the Wroxton College community enjoyed a medieval hog roast in the grounds and spent the afternoon on the back lawn watching medieval displays and playing medieval games.

Students tried their hand at archery and watched a display from a pair of fighting knights. Afternoon tea was served on the back lawn. A jester provided entertainment, and afterwards attendees saw a performance from the Ilmington Morris Men. A traditional Punch & Judy show rounded out the afternoon activities.

Medieval Day ended with a three-course meal in the Carriage House Dining Room. A similar event is scheduled in 800 years time!