Lanercost Priory

Burtholme in Cumbria is where you’ll find Lanercost Priory, which was founded in 1166 by Henry II. Completed some years later in 1220, Canons were there for around 370 years, until Henry VIII ordered the dissolution of monasteries in 1536.

Ownership then passed to the Dacre family who converted some of the original monastery buildings into a private home, while leaving the rest to rot. The future of these remains was however secured in 1740, when the Nave was restored and the buildings use changed to a Parish Church.

The building remains as a Parish Church today, and has several notable features, including a monument to Lady Elizabeth Dacre Howard, and a carved figure of St Mary Magdalene, who was the Patron Saint of the Priory. Three of the stained glass windows in the church are also popular with visitors, and were designed by notable pre-raphaelite painter Edward Burne Jones. Also on the site is an example of a Pele Tower, a fortified keep where Edward I once stayed, and the archway of the original priory’s gatehouse.

The priory ruins are now owned and managed by English Heritage. Visitors can pick up more information and souvenirs at the English Heritage Gift Shop at Lanercost, and also take a guided audio tour around the ruins. These ruins include the priory’s choir area, the North and South Transepts, and Tombs, including that of Thomas Dacre.

Just 12 miles from Carlisle, and close to local facilities such as the Lanercost Farm Shop, Lanercost Holiday Cottages, and all the shops and art galleries in Brampton, this is an ideal starting point for anyone wanting to learn about local history.

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