Over the weekend 23/24 November, we received the news that Fr Leo Chamberlain, Master of the Hall from 2004-07, died peacefully in the Ampleforth Abbey Infirmary after a short illness.
Fr Leo was born in 1940 and educated at Ampleforth College. He read History at Univ College, Oxford, holding the Burn Open Scholarship in History, and then joined Ampleforth Abbey in 1961. After ordination, he taught History in the Ampleforth College. He was Housemaster of St Dunstan's House 1972-1992, and then Headmaster of Ampleforth College 1992-2004 - during which time he worked tirelessly to support Christians in Eastern Europe, and oversaw the move to co-education.
He became Master of St Benet's Hall in 2004, and was instrumental in beginning the modernisation of St Benet's. He was the first to introduce a lay support staff for administration, and appointed new Fellows and Directors of Studies. He started the process of moving towards our modern selection of undergraduate disciplines - each with larger cohorts of students in each subject.
In November 2019 his health deteriorated significantly and he was admitted to York Hospital, but returned to the monastery infirmary where he died peacefully, surrounded by his fellow monks, on Saturday afternoon.
St Benet's celebrated a Requiem Mass for Fr Leo on Monday morning. The Hall will arrange a Memorial Service for him next term.
At Ampleforth, Fr Leo's body will be received into the Abbey Church on Thursday 5 December at 6pm. His Funeral Mass will be celebrated at 11:30am on Friday 6 December in the Abbey Church, followed by burial in the Abbey crypt.
May he rest in peace.