|OS grid reference||SU5770468214|
|Former name(s)||St Mary's Seminary|
|Founder(s)||Dom Gabriel Gifford|
|Dedication||St Edmund the Martyr|
1615 Founded in Paris
|Heritage designation||Grade II*|
|Designated||10 November 1980|
|Architect(s)||J Arnold Crush|
|Abbot||Geoffrey Scott OSB|
|Priest(s)||Peter Bowe OSB|
Douai Abbey is a Benedictine Abbey at Woolhampton, near Thatcham, in the English county of Berkshire, situated within the Roman Catholic Diocese of Portsmouth. Monks from the monastery of St. Edmund's, in Douai, France, came to Woolhampton in 1903 when the community left France as a result of anti-clerical legislation. The abbey church is a grade II* listed building, and the gatehouse, hall and three blocks of buildings are grade II listed.
The community of St. Edmund was formed in Paris in 1615 by Dom Gabriel Gifford, later Archbishop of Rheims and primate of France. With his backing the community flourished. Expelled from Paris during the Revolution, the community took over the vacant buildings of the community of St Gregory's in Douai in 1818.
Waldeck-Rousseau's anti-clerical Law of Associations (1901), which "severely curbed the influence of religious orders in France" led to the community being given the minor seminary of St. Mary in Woolhampton by Bishop Cahill of Portsmouth, moving from Douai to Woolhampton in 1903. The abbey church was opened in 1933 but only completed in 1993 due to financial constraints.
The monastery was greatly expanded in the 1960's with the building of the new monastery designed by Sir Frederick Gibberd. The abbey had in its charge Douai School until the latter's closure in 1999. In 2005, two monks returned to Douai, France to form a community there and restore the historic links to English monasticism.
The monastery and its community have traditionally maintained strong links to the Stuart dynasty and the Jacobite cause; with King James II of England buried in the monastery in Saint-Germain-en-Laye, near Paris (the community's home from the early 17th century till the French Revolution and the community's relocation to Douai in northern France), members of the House of Wittelsbach (present pretenders to the Jacobite claim) being educated at the community's former boarding school (at their present location), and the current abbot, Geoffrey Scott OSB, is a member of the Jacobite Society.
In April, 2007 a monk was ordained priest, the first priestly ordination for five years. As of 2012, the community consisted of 26 monks with than a few of those being junior monks. The monks are spread over a number of works, with seven parishes in England, the small daughter house in Douai, France, and three monks in Rome including the current abbot of the ancient Benedictine community at the Basilica of Saint Paul Outside the Walls. The community has strong links with Oxford, where some of the junior monks are doing their training. Most of the younger monks tend to manifest an allegiance to the orthodox reform within Catholicism, as typified by Pope Benedict XVI. The abbey's solemn liturgies at Christmas and Easter are always well-attended. The patron of the monastery is St Edmund King and Martyr, whose feast day is 20 November.
Because of its unique and marvellous acoustics, during March 1990, Douai Abbey was used as a location for British male vocal septet The Hilliard Ensemble´s recording of Italian renaissance composer Carlo Gesualdo´s liturgic responsory “Tenebrae”.
See also 
- Directory, Diocese of Portsmouth Retrieved 6 February 2013
- "Douai Abbey Church, Woolhampton". British Listed Buildings. Retrieved 17 June 2011.
- "Gatehouse and Flanking Blocks at Douai School, Woolhampton". British Listed Buildings. Retrieved 17 June 2011.
- Schultenover, David G. (1999). "An Anthropological View of the Modernist Crisis" (HTML). Journal of Religion and Society 1. ISSN: 1522-5658. Retrieved 2007-09-09.
- The Rt. Rev. Abbot Geoffrey Scott, O.S.B., The History of Woolhampton Parish November, 2005]
- April 2011, Douai Abbey Newsletter Retrieved 6 February 2013
- James II, British Royal Family History Retrieved 6 February 2013
- Our Monks, Douai Abbey Monks Retrieved 6 February 2013
- Hilliard, Trovar.com Retrieved 6 February 2013
- Douai Abbey website
- Douai Parish Website
- Photographs of the Abbey
- Details from listed building database (39694) - abbey church, grade II*. Images of England. English Heritage.
- Details from listed building database (39689) - gatehouse, grade II. Images of England. English Heritage.
- Details from listed building database (39691) - hall, grade II. Images of England. English Heritage.
- Details from listed building database (39690) - block 15m N of gatehouse, grade II. Images of England. English Heritage.
- Details from listed building database (39693) - range 50m N of gatehouse, grade II. Images of England. English Heritage.
- Details from listed building database (39692) - block 30m NE of gatehouse, grade II. Images of England. English Heritage.