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Hilfield SSF

This house offers guest and retreat accommodation, click for more information

Hilfield Friary set on the edge of the Dorset Downs in the heart of Thomas Hardy’s Wessex is the foundation house of the brothers’ order and retains a special place in the affections of the Society. This is where many have begun their life as Franciscan brothers, and being the site of the cemetery of the European Province, is where they all end up! There have always been others living alongside the brothers at Hilfield, and since September 2009 there has been established The Hilfield Friary Community – an ‘intentional community’ of SSF brothers together with men and women who are committing themselves to share in the Franciscan life and work of the Friary for a limited period of time. The life is centred around the chapel and the refectory; common prayer and meals eaten together are the framework for everything else that goes on.

The ministry of the community is centred around hospitality and a concern for justice, peace and the integrity of creation; the land is worked to provide wholesome food and to conserve the very rich diversity of plant and animal life, including what has been described as ‘one of the finest wildflower meadows’ in Dorset. St Francis has been named the patron saint of ecology and there is an annual programme of weekend and day courses which explore and share particular Franciscan insights of caring for the environment and of peaceable living with people and creation. Further information about the Hilfield Friary Community can be found at

The Friary Guest House (open from Tuesday to Sunday) has room for up to ten people who come for retreat and to share the life of the community for a short period. There are also two self-catering houses which between them contain sixteen beds and are suitable for groups and families. Although the work among homeless men or ‘wayfarers’, carried out for a long time at Hilfield, has now come to an end, the Friary continues to provide places for those in particular need who come for asylum, refreshment and restoration; referrals for this can be made to The brother-in-charge. Individual day visitors are welcome and there are also facilities for groups.

Hilfield CourtyardLand Management - The ProjectRaymond Christian Flowers in Chapel
(l-r: The Courtyard Hilfield; Land management, Project Volunteers; Raymond Christian arranging flowers in Chapel)

Click here for our Around the Houses page for locations and links to each house