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Lancaster Priory

The Priory and Parish Church of St Mary was founded in 1094 by Roger de Poitou on the site of the earlier Saxon church. Notable features include the exquisitely carved mediaeval choirstalls, and numerous religious artefacts and architectural remains of Dark Age antiquity. Memorials to local characters dating back centuries are also curiosities of historical interest.

The King’s Own Memorial Chapel built in the early 20th Century in a side chapel displays a comprehensive collection of Regimental Colours and memorial records.

Lancaster Priory has a history that goes back to the Dark Ages, and if you take a look at their website it looks to have a thriving presence too.

Nowadays we have the tabloid press, actual or virtual,  to educate us about the location and nature of evil and in mediaeval days they had their ways too. In an era with no TV, cinema or recorded music — no, not even the internet! — where even colours for clothes dyes or paintings were rare and precious, the spectacle of the church, with its sumptuously rainbow-hued decorations and coloured lights, its rituals with richly textured robes, perfumes, music and choirs overwhelmed every sense, with an impact it is difficult for us even to comprehend now.

The carvings speak for themselves to communicate across the years how people envisaged the spiritual world, and how their personal fears and hopes were reflected in their arts and crafts.

It is absolutely fascinating to begin to get an insight into the way the medieval English understood their daily reality to be underpinned by powerful, supernatural individuals.

ancient wood-carving with mythical creatures

In addition to the fear of supernatural forces, the adjacent castle, with its dungeons and comprehensive facilities for interrogation and torture conveyed from the summit of Castle Hill a clearly visible message of authority and power to the common people.

It looks so lovely now, set romantically in in this beautiful rural coastal landscape.

There’s a lot more at the Priory (including a tearoom)…this is just a taste.

ancient wood-carving with partly mythical creatures

See Lancaster Priory website for more information. The Priory is open Monday to Saturday from 9.15 am to 4 pm. The Fig Tree Fair Trade Centre & Café and a giftshop are often open. There is some disabled parking space adjacent, within the Priory / Castle precinct.