The Ammerdown Centre was set up in the early seventies by Lord Hylton (the present head of the Jolliffe family), John Todd (a publisher), Father Ralph Russell (a monk from Downside Abbey) and Revd Reginald Trevett (a school master).
In 1965, the second Vatican Council issued a strong call for the renewal of the faith of individuals and, through them, for the renewal of society. The vision of the Founders of Ammerdown was for an adult education centre that would translate the aspirations of Vatican II into practice. In particular, they wanted to help the ecumenical movement grow, promote dialogue between the Church and the wider world, and bring people from different backgrounds and faiths together so that they could learn from each other.
Together, the founders raised money for the conversion of the stable block of Ammerdown (owned by the Jolliffe family) into conference facilities that were officially opened in 1973. The exquisite private chapel was added ten years later.
Since then, Ammerdown has developed into a nationally respected centre with a special focus on interfaith dialogue, peace and reconciliation, which the Sisters of Sion who were closely involved until 2004 helped establish.
In 2004/05, an extensive building and refurbishment programme was carried out in order to bring the facilities up to 21st century standards.