HIS work is famed around the world.
Now antique tables and chairs by the famous ‘mouseman’ Robert Thompson are among the treasures being auctioned by a monastery.
The auction is the latest initiative by the Community of the Resurrection monastery in Mirfield to raise money for a £2m revamp.
The monks want to carry out the refurbishments to allow better disabled access to the Romanesque church and they plan to convert the current monastery into housing.
Twenty-one brothers live there and take life vows of poverty, chastity, and obedience. They welcome 3,000 visitors every year.
Father John Gribben has either found or been given a growing mass of antique and historic items ranging from furniture to stamps, so he’s holding an auction.
Star lots will include two tables and six chairs from the 1920s by the famous Yorkshire firm Thompson’s of Kilburn, bearing the well-loved carved mouse trademark.
The furniture currently belongs to the Community and is believed to date from the 1920s.
Some are believed to be part of a commission for Brigadier Hargreaves of Castlegarth, Wetherby.
The Community is also putting more modern items under the hammer – an autograph of Lord Archer and a pair of former Manchester United defender (now at Sunderland) Wes Brown’s football boots.
Father John said: “Some of the brethren are quite sad at the loss of the Thompson furniture – but we love the church more.”
Other items included in the auction are the passport, initialled handkerchief and some other memorabilia of the late Archbishop Trevor Huddleston – a famous member of the Community of the Resurrection – and one of the earliest instigators of the South African anti-apartheid movement.
Father John said: “We started with an appeal to our Friends organisation.
“One elderly priest turned up with two suitcases full of things.
“His father was a priest in World War One – we have his battlefield communion set with chalice and patten. He was still using it in Canada in the 1960s.
“There’s even an unopened packet of army-issue miniature communion wafers – still sealed – and with the royal coat-of-arms on the outside.”
There are some 300 lots to catalogue already but Father John has the help of his auctioneer brother George Gribben of Bloomfield Auctions in Belfast.
Other items include Chinese coins, stamps, cigarette cards, a box of Japanese Noritake china, paintings, photographs, clocks, watches and tableware.
Other items from the Community’s own house at the Stocks Bank Road will be sold. The house was built in 1870 and was bought complete with some of its Victorian and older Georgian furnishings in 1898.
The auction will be conducted by George Gribben at 2pm on Saturday, October 22, in the Refectory of the College of the Resurrection, which shares its site with the Community.
Items can be viewed in the morning and on the previous day and 100% of the proceeds will go towards the work on the church which is already underway.
To register for a full catalogue as soon as it’s available email firstname.lastname@example.org