About St Richard Reynolds
The College has been placed under the Patronage of a saint with local connections: Saint Richard Reynolds. Saint Richard Reynolds O.Ss.S, was a Bridgettine monk of Syon Abbey, founded in Twickenham by Henry V. He was born in Devon in 1492, educated at Corpus Christi, Cambridge, and joined the Abbey in 1513. He was martyred at Tyburn on 4th May 1535 with three Carthusian Priors John Houghton, Robert Lawrence and Augustine Webster (a monk of Sheen Priory in Richmond) for refusing the Oath of Supremacy. Also martyred with them on that day was Blessed John Haile the parish priest of Isleworth. He was beatified in 1886 and canonised by Pope Paul VI as one of the Forty Martyrs of England and Wales on 25th October 1970. His feast day is 4th May.
More about Syon Abbey
The Monastery of St Saviour and St Bridget of Syon was founded in 1415 by King Henry V on the banks of the Thames at Twickenham, across the river from his other great foundation of the Sheen Charterhouse of Jesus of Bethlehem. The Order of the Holy Saviour, commonly called the Bridgettines after its founder, Queen Birgitta, or Bridget of Sweden. Bridget was a great Swedish mystic, who founded Syon’s motherhouse, Vadstena, in 1377. The Bridgettines were a double Order, its houses comprising a larger number of Nuns, and a smaller number of Monks, known as Canons. First among the Canons was the Confessor-General, with the whole House presided over by the Lady Abbess. The Order spread quickly throughout Europe. King Henry’s foundation was originally for 60 Nuns (including the Abbess) and 25 Canons (the Confessor-General, 12 priests, 4 Deacons and 8 Lay Brothers). Syon Abbey soon became one of the Order’s most celebrated houses, enjoying an enviable reputation for the holiness and learning of its members. In a short time it had built up one of the finest renaissance libraries in the country.
Following the dissolution of the Monastery by Thomas Cromwell under Henry VIII, the community moved in exile to the Netherlands, and were one of the important houses to enjoy a brief return to their home under Queen Mary (1553-57). They were once again expelled in 1557, and attempted settlement in various places in France and Spain, before finally settling in Lisbon between 1594 and 1861, when they were able to return to England, finally settling at South Brent in Devon. Following the Dissolution of the Mother House of Vadstena in the Swedish Reformation, Syon Abbey became regarded as the Order’s senior House, and it was to Syon Abbey that Elisabeth Hesselblad wrote for permission to take private vows as a Bridgettine when she founded a revival of the Bridgittine Order in the early twentieth century. The suggested reconstruction of the Syon Abbey Church by Dr Jonathan Foyle (2004) shows how it might have appeared around 1530. It is based on archaeological excavations at Syon Park by The Time Team and Birkbeck University. It was a magnificent and imposing building estimated to measure about 37 metres wide by 145 metres long.