Lanercost Priory, Cumbria

Lanercost Priory in Cumbria, was originally founded by Henry II in the 12th Century as an Augustinian Monastery.  Canons were brought from Norfolk priory on its completion in 1220.

Lanercost Priory from the South Eastern aspect

Lanercost Priory from the South Eastern aspect

Standing close to Hadrian’s Wall in the Border lands, it has suffered more frequent attacks than some of its contemporaries. Constant waring between the Scots and English along with regular skirmishes from the Border Reivers, left the building battle scarred and ruined. Robert Bruce, himself once laid seige to Lanercost Priory.

The dying King Edward I rested at the priory for five months in 1306 to 1307, shortly before his death on his final campaign.

Henry VIII’s dissolution of the monasteries, saw the fine building finally stripped of its goods with even the masonry and roof tiles being used to furnish other buildings of the Tudor period.

The building passed into the hands of  Thomas Dacre of nearby Naworth Castle. Some of the buildings were converted into a private residence, now known as Dacre Hall but the rest fell into ruin.

The nave of the Priory was restored in 1740 for use as a Parish Church, under the supervision of Anthony Salvin, who had previously carried out restoration works at Naworth Castle.

One of the best preserved monasteries in Cumbria

One of the best preserved monasteries in Cumbria

The Parish church dedicated to St. Mary Magdalene now hosts regular Anglican services, as it has done for 850 years.

English Heritage

Lanercost Priory is considered to be the best preserved monastery in Cumbria, with the east end of the noble 13th century church surviving to its full height. The building is now owned by English Heritage who continue conservation and preservation works.

The cloisters have a wonderfully crafted vaulted 13th-century refectory undercroft and the west range includes the Dacre Hall, which still has fragments of a 16th century wall painting, as well as the four storey Dacre Tower, adapted from the monastic kitchen.

Burials at Lanercost Priory

Part of the priory still serves as a parish church

Part of the priory still serves as a parish church

The graveyard situated to the northern and eastern aspects of the priory is the final resting place for many local notables including the Howard and Dacre families.

Famous 19th Century physician, Thomas Addison is buried here along with other members of his family and in the most recent part of the cemetery, the Chinese artist Li Yuan Chia was laid to rest in 1994.

More information

Lanercost Priory Parish website

English heritage – Lanercost Priory

Thomas Addison M.D.

Li Yuan Chia – Artist

%d bloggers like this: