A BENEDICTINE monk at Ampleforth Abbey in North Yorkshire has died at the age of 79.

Fr Francis Davidson OSB died peacefully in the monastery infirmary at Ampleforth last Monday, said a spokesman for the Abbey.

He was born in Edinburgh in February 1939 and educated at Fort Augustus Abbey School.

He joined the monastic community there in September 1956 and was sent to study Philosophy at the University of Fribourg, Switzerland, and then Theology at Blackfriars, Oxford, where he resided at Ampleforth’s Permanent Private Hall, St Benet’s Hall.

Fr Francis returned to Fort Augustus Abbey and was ordained priest in April 1965 and then joined the staff of Fort Augustus Abbey School.

In May 1972, Fr Francis was appointed headmaster, a role he relinquished in 1985.

After a brief time at Ampleforth Abbey and working in a parish in Suffolk at the request of Downside Abbey, in April 1987 Fr Francis was invited to work in the school at Portsmouth Abbey, Rhode Island, where he eventually became headmaster in September 1988.

He returned to Fort Augustus Abbey in 1992, and after working in a number of parishes was appointed prior administrator of the Abbey in 1998.

The Abbey closed later that year, and Fr Francis moved to Ampleforth Abbey, whose community he formally joined in 2001.

For five years he served as parish priest of St Mary’s Bamber Bridge, and in subsequent years worked in a number of roles, including sub-prior, acting prior, religious superior at St Benet’s Hall, and monastic auditor.

Fr Francis’s body was received into the Abbey Church at Ampleforth yesterday.

His funeral Mass will be celebrated at 11.30am tomorrow in the church, followed by burial in Monks’ Wood.