The Nunnery Project

The Nunnery Project was put to the States of Alderney's Policy and Finance Committee in May 2016, its purpose to ensure the continued preservation of the oldest standing building in the Channel Island's. The Roman Small Fort, locally known as the Nunnery.

OBJECTIVES

The proposed Nunnery project plan (download original business plan below) proposed that the States of Alderney adopt the Nunnery Covenant (download original draft covenant below) to ensure that the future management of the Nunnery, by any party, will ensure the preservation of this historically important site and its use as a focal point for interest in the island’s built and natural heritage.

Upon adoption of the Covenant a management group made up of experts and interested parties, including a representative of Guernsey Heritage Services, the Alderney Society and the Alderney Wildlife Trust (through its subsidiary AWTE), should then be established to ensure the objectives of the covenant are met. This group will report to the site’s owners (the States of Alderney) and ensure a dialogue is maintained between owner and user.

The States of Alderney would then lease the Nunnery site to Alderney Wildlife Trust (Guernsey charity No 261). By using this existing charitable company to manage leases and capital assets, the costs of infrastructure are dramatically reduced and existing financial systems of the Charity can be utilised.

This lease will:

• Incorporate the Covenant document ensuring AWT delivers the objectives of the Covenant, with the oversight of the Covenant Management Group
• Enable the creation of a Field Centre within the Nunnery site (pending the approval of the Building and Development Control Committee for a change of use of the building to allow joint residential and commercial use).

The income generated by the commercial activities undertaken at the Nunnery, primarily the running of the Field Centre, but not excluding other income sources such as donations, sponsorship, running of events (provided that they do not breach the conditions of the covenant), will be distributed between:

1. Income for the maintenance of the Nunnery complex
2. Income to cover the costs of the site manager accepting that this should be established on an agreed basis and tied to the income generated through the Field Centre.
3. Investment in the development of the site inclusive of archaeological research, site conservation and public interpretational materials to ensure the wider aims of the Covenant are achieved.

ACTIVITES OF THE NUNNERY FIELD CENTRE

The aim of this plan is to make the Nunnery a focal point for Alderney. The Nunnery will become a site which not only attracts new visitors to the island and improves the experience of the existing visitor base, but also provides a useful resource for the resident community and meets the island’s need to protect and conserve its heritage.   To do this the following activities will form the core of the plan.

Conservation and Research Programme

A Conservation Plan is being drawn up for the Nunnery by Dr Monaghan with the assistance of Guernsey Museum’s Archaeology and Historic Sites curators. This will cover, amongst other things:

• Routine care and maintenance of the site
• ‘Quick wins’ to rectify problems that can be dealt with cheaply and simply
• Conservation priorities for the future, which may require fund-raising or expert advice
• Sympathetic interpretation and utilisation of the site
• Highlighting issues which may affect public access to the site, public safety and minimising damage by visitors. 

Research Programme

The Research programme will be led by Dr Monaghan and will include:
• Selective excavations in and around the Nunnery Complex
• Publication of the results in academic and ‘popular’ formats
• Public lectures and educational events
• Online engagement via blogs, posts and web seminars
• The promotion of Longis as a location for investigation by other bona fide academic and scientific bodies.
The research will investigate the standing Roman fort but will also seek to answer such questions as: did another Roman building precede it? Was there a settlement beyond the walls? What happened in the ‘Dark Ages’? Where are the Tudor buildings inhabited by the Chamberlain family? Indeed, was it ever a Nunnery? The use of the site by the British army and the German occupying forces are further avenues for research.

Public engagement: 

The Nunnery Field Centre will endeavour to operate under an open door policy subject to the availability of the site Manager/ ABO warden, who will manage day-to-day operations on the site, and any restrictions of on-going operations (i.e. archaeological digs). 
The Manager/ABO warden will undertake regular presentations and open sessions co-ordinated with the Alderney Society and Guernsey Heritage Services to inform residents and visitors about the Nunnery and the projects associated with it. A website will be established and social media engagement has already commenced. This will further enhance the profile of the site and Alderney overall beyond the island.

Events

The representatives of the Covenant Management Group, working with the site manager, will organise a programme of site tours and other events including talks about the site and related topics held elsewhere on the island (e.g. the Island Hall). 

This programme will be marketed through Visit Alderney, the Alderney Museum, the AWT via The Wildlife Trusts and the AWT Centre, as well as through its links to Guernsey Heritage. The events will be aimed at both the visitor and resident markets.

Provision of a Field Centre at the Nunnery

The provision of Field Centre-type accommodation will open up a new sector to Alderney’s offering to visitors. The Nunnery has four rooms including one family room (4 persons) and three twin rooms available in the main house (Flat 1).

In total, it is envisioned the Flat 1 would sleep 10 people. This will provide an income to cover the maintenance and running costs of the Nunnery and for a parttime Manager (from Year 3 onwards) to manage the Field Centre (this Manager has volunteered his time in years 1 and 2 to develop the project).

The principal source of residents for the Centre has currently been identified as the ABO and by combining the roles of ABO Warden and Nunnery Manager, who would be resident within the building in Flat 2, there is the opportunity to reduce overheads and create unified management practice.
 

 

UPDATE

The Accommodation provided by the Nunnery Field Centre opened in June 2018, though the AWT has not as yet secured a full lease, with the covenant incorporated at this time.  

   

Downloads

FilenameFile size
nunnery_field_centre_business_plan_19052016_v2.pdf1.26 MB
final_draft_nunnery_covenant_190510.pdf625.18 KB