A Blue Plaque in Woodbridge for Carmelite nun, Sister Margaret.
A new blue plaque has been unveiled (March 2023) by The Woodbridge Society in Church Street, Woodbridge, to commemorate the Carmelite nun, Margaret Agnes Rope, who lived and worked there in the 1920s and 1930s.
Sister Margaret of the Mother of God was a notable stained-glass artist of the Arts and Crafts Movement. In Suffolk, her stained-glass windows can be found in the Church of the Holy Family & Saint Michael at Kesgrave and in Saint Peter’s Church at Blaxhall. The church at Kesgrave is a memorial to her brother, Michael Rope. In Norfolk, there are windows to her designs in the convent at Quidenham. She also received many commissions for windows in other parts of the U.K. including Shrewsbury Cathedral and Tyburn Convent, and from Australia, Italy, and South Africa.
A community of Carmelite nuns was established at Woodbridge from the convent at Notting Hill. Nine nuns and two extern sisters arrived from London on 6th September, 1921. On 8th September Cardinal Bourne, the Archbishop of Westminster, blessed the grounds and the convent, which was named the Convent of the Magnificat. By 1925 the number of nuns at Woodbridge Carmel had increased to twenty.
In a short time the convent buildings on Church Street became too small for the nuns as their numbers continued to grow. The town had become increasingly noisy and unsuited to the contemplative life of the nuns. The bishop of Northampton closed Woodbridge Carmel and the nuns departed Woodbridge to establish themselves in Rushmere village near Ipswich, on 9th November 1938. Ten years later, in 1948, the community moved to their present convent at Quidenham Hall, in Norfolk.
In Woodbridge the site of the former convent on Church Street has been named "Carmelite Place". Several of the windows which Sister Margaret made for the Convent of the Magnificat at Woodbridge are now at Quidenham.
For more information about the windows at Quidenham, click this link: Margaret Rope Windows