Aelred Arnesen read theology at Queens’ College, Cambridge. After ordination he served in a parish in Newcastle upon Tyne. In 1955 he joined the Society of St Francis, an Anglican community of friars, and made his life profession with them. In 1966, with the support of the Society of St Francis, he founded Ewell Monastery, the Anglican Cistercian community at West Malling in Kent, to which he was transferred as a monk in life vows. When the monastery was closed in 2004 he moved to Cambridge where he is able to read and write.