Lancaster Priory

Lancaster Priory
Lancaster Priory

Lancaster Priory

Lancaster Priory is located in Lancashire
Lancaster Priory
Location in Lancashire
Coordinates: 54°03′03″N 2°48′21″W / 54.0507°N 2.8057°W / 54.0507; -2.8057
OS grid reference SD 474 619
Location Lancaster, Lancashire
Country England
Denomination Anglican
Website Lancaster Priory
Former name(s) St Mary's Church, Lancaster
Status Parish church
Functional status Active
Heritage designation Grade I
Designated 22 December 1953
Architect(s) Henry Sephton
Paley and Austin
Austin and Paley
Architectural type Church
Capacity 900
Length 145 feet (44 m)
Number of spires 1
Spire height 96 feet (29 m)
Materials Sandstone
Slate and lead roofs
Parish Lancaster St Mary with
St John and St Anne
Deanery Lancaster
Archdeaconry Lancaster
Diocese Blackburn
Province York
Vicar(s) Rev Chris Newlands
Curate(s) Dr Joel Love
Reader Prof Richard G. Carter,
Jim Garbett, Lois C Kirtley, Canon Christine Mullineaux
Director of music Jeremy Truslove
Organist(s) Ian Pattinson FRCO, Shaun Pirttijarvi
Churchwarden(s) Ken Maunder,
George Howson
Parish administrator Bron England

Lancaster Priory, formerly St Mary's Church, Lancaster, is the parish church of the city of Lancaster, Lancashire, England. It is located near Lancaster Castle and has been designated by English Heritage as a Grade I listed building.[1] It is an active Anglican church in the deanery of Lancaster, the archdeaconry of Lancaster and the diocese of Blackburn. Its benefice is combined with that of St John and St Anne.[2]



It is likely that a Roman church was on the site around 200.[3] In 1912 excavations revealed a wall beneath the present chancel area which may be from this time.[4] It is known that a church existed on the site from 630,[3] and a small Saxon doorway has been exposed in the west wall of the present nave.[4] In 1094 Roger de Poitou established a Benedictine priory, dedicated to St Mary, as a cell of the Abbey of Saint Martin of Sées in Normandy, France.[3][4] Around 1360 the nave was widened to about 49 feet (15 m).[3] In 1431 the church was transferred from Sées to Syon Abbey near London, and following this there was a major reconstruction in Perpendicular style.[4] In 1539 the monastic institution was abolished by Henry VIII and the following year the priory became a parish church. In 1753 the bells were removed from the tower because it was dangerous. Henry Sephton was commissioned to demolish and rebuild the tower.[3]

In 1870 Paley and Austin carried out work on the chancel, and in 1882 they added a vestry and organ chamber.[5] In 1872 the old organ had been replaced by a new one in the north aisle.[3] In 1887 a peal of new bells, donated by James Williamson, was rung for the first time and in 1894 a clergy vestry was built adjacent to the choir vestry.[3] A south porch designed by Austin and Paley was added in 1903 and in the same year an outer north aisle with a polygonal apse was built.[4] This aisle forms the memorial chapel to the King's Own Royal Lancaster Regiment. In 1922 the organ was rebuilt by Arthur Harrison of Durham. In 1972 the bells were overhauled and re-hung.[3] The pipe organ was replaced in 1982 by an electronic organ made by J. and J. Makin,[6] and in the same year the choir and clergy vestries were converted into a refectory.[1]



The church is built in sandstone with roofs of slate and lead.[1] Its plan consists of a west tower, a four-bay nave and a four-bay chancel with a clerestory under a continuous roof, a north and south aisles and a south porch. At the east end of the north aisle is St Nicholas' chapel and at the east end of the south aisle is St Thomas' chapel. To the north of the north aisle, occupying the west four bays, is the King's Own Regiment Memorial chapel and to the east of this is the refectory and kitchen.[1] The tower is in four stages surmounted by corner pinnacles and an embattled parapet. In the first stage is a south doorway and above this in the second stage is a four-light window. The third stage has a round window above which is a clock face. The bell openings in the fourth stage have four lights. The parapets of the aisles and nave are embattled. The south porch has two storeys with a staircase turret to the east, and crocketed pinnacles. The east window has five lights and Perpendicular tracery.[1]


The carved choirstalls are made of oak and, dating from 1340, are the third oldest in England. Pevsner states that they are "about the most luxuriant canopies in the country".[4] The seats have misericords, some of which have carvings. At the back of the stalls are modern embroidery panels.[7] The carved pulpit dates from 1619. It was originally a three-decker pulpit with a canopy surmounted by a crown on a Bible. In 1999 the canopy was reinstated, using the original crown.[8] The stone base of the font was installed in 1848 and its carved wooden cover is dated 1631.[9] The three brass chandeliers are dated 1717. The stained glass in the east window was designed by Edward Paley and made by Wailes.[4] On display near the south west door is a replica of an Anglian Runic Cross which was discovered in the churchyard in 1807. The original is in the British Museum.[10] The church plate includes four flagons, a chalice and two breadholders dated 1678–79, a small chalice presented in 1728 and a cup dated 1757.[4]

External features

In the churchyard is a sandstone sundial dating from the late 18th century which was restored in 1894 and which is listed Grade II.[11] Also in the churchyard and listed Grade II are the Rawlinson memorial dating from the late 18th century,[12] and a tomb chest with a damaged marble effigy dating from the mid-19th century.[13]

Present day

The church holds the usual services of an Anglican church,[14] the civic ceremonies of a city's parish church and occasional concerts, and the church is open for visitors.[15] Food is served in the refectory during the summer months[16] and in the bell tower is a bookshop.[17] In 2010, Lancaster Priory joined the Greater Churches Group.[citation needed]

See also

  • List of ecclesiastical works by Paley and Austin


  1. ^ a b c d e "Priory and parish church of St Mary, Lancaster", The National Heritage List for England (English Heritage), 2011,, retrieved 17 May 2011 
  2. ^ Lancaster St Mary (The Priory), Church of England,, retrieved 11 September 2009 
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h Time Line, Lancaster Priory,, retrieved 30 April 2008 
  4. ^ a b c d e f g h Pevsner, Nikolaus (2002) [1969], North Lancashire, The Buildings of England, New Haven and London: Yale University Press, pp. 153–155, ISBN 0-300-09617-8 
  5. ^ Price, James (1998), Sharpe, Paley and Austin: A Lancaster Architectural Practice 1836–1942, Lancaster: Centre for North-West Regional Studies, p. 84, ISBN 1-86220-054-8 
  6. ^ The Organ, Lancaster Priory,, retrieved 30 April 2008 
  7. ^ The Ancient Monastic Stalls, Lancaster Priory,, retrieved 30 April 2008 
  8. ^ The Pulpit, Lancaster Priory,, retrieved 30 April 2008 
  9. ^ The Font, Lancaster Priory,, retrieved 30 April 2008 
  10. ^ Anglian Runic Cross, Lancaster Priory,, retrieved 30 April 2008 
  11. ^ "Sundial approximately 15 metres south of tower of Priory Church of St Mary, Lancaster", The National Heritage List for England (English Heritage), 2011,, retrieved 17 May 2011 
  12. ^ "Rawlinson Memorial approximately 13 metres north of tower of Priory Church of St Mary, Lancaster", The National Heritage List for England (English Heritage), 2011,, retrieved 17 May 2011 
  13. ^ "Monument approximately 19 metres west of tower of Priory Church of St Mary, Lancaster", The National Heritage List for England (English Heritage), 2011,, retrieved 17 May 2011 
  14. ^ Services, Lancaster Priory,, retrieved 30 April 2008 
  15. ^ Lancaster Priory, Lancaster Priory,, retrieved 30 April 2008 
  16. ^ Refectory, Lancaster Priory,, retrieved 30 April 2008 
  17. ^ The Bell Tower, Lancaster Priory,, retrieved 23 April 2008 

External links

Media related to Lancaster Priory at Wikimedia Commons

Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Lancaster — Lancaster, usually derived from the city of Lancaster in England, can refer to: Geographic locations Australia*Lancaster, VictoriaCanada*Lancaster, New Brunswick *Lancaster, Ontario *Lancaster Sound, in Nunavut England *Lancaster, Lancashire, a… …   Wikipedia

  • Lancaster, Lancashire — infobox UK place country = England latitude= 54.047 longitude= 2.801 official name= Lancaster population = 45,952 (2001 Census) shire district= City of Lancaster shire county = Lancashire region= North West England constituency westminster=… …   Wikipedia

  • Lancaster — /lang keuh steuhr/; for 4 8 also /lang kas teuhr/, n. 1. the English royal family that reigned 1399 1461, descended from John of Gaunt (Duke of Lancaster), and that included Henry IV, Henry V, and Henry VI. Cf. York (def. 1). 2. a member of this… …   Universalium

  • Lancaster Royal Grammar School — See Royal Grammar School for the other schools with the name RGS. Lancaster Royal Grammar School Motto Praesis ut Prosis, ( Lead in order to serve ) Established c.1235 …   Wikipedia

  • Lancaster Castle — Infobox HM Prison name = HMP Lancaster Castle size = 200px caption = opened = 1196 type = Adult Male/Category C figures = 238 (August 2008) location = Lancaster, Lancashire governor = Peter Francis prisonid = 311 Lancaster Castle is a castle and… …   Wikipedia

  • Pleasington Priory — Church of St Mary and St John Baptist Pleasington Priory from the southeast …   Wikipedia

  • St John the Evangelist's Church, Lancaster — St John the Evangelist s Church, Lancaster, from the south …   Wikipedia

  • Great Malvern Priory — Coordinates: 52°06′37.72″N 2°19′42.92″W / 52.1104778°N 2.3285889°W / 52.1104778; 2.3285889 …   Wikipedia

  • Christ Church, Lancaster — Christ Church, Lancaster, from the northeast …   Wikipedia

  • St Thomas' Church, Lancaster — St Thomas Church, Lancaster …   Wikipedia

Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”