A little bit about our beautiful building
Lancaster Priory Church is a Grade 1 listed building, located on a site which has seen Christian worship since Saxon times. It is of huge historical and archaeological importance and is one of the most frequently visited parish churches in the North West. Lancaster Priory is the Mother Church of the City of Lancaster, and it is well known and respected throughout Lancashire and beyond as a place of excellence for its music tradition.
Watching over Lancaster
Lancaster Castle and Lancaster Priory Church, which occupy the summit of Castle Hill, stand proudly above the city. It is likely that a Roman building existed on the site prior to others, possibly around the year 200. A Saxon church is thought to have stood on the site from the sixth century. The Church, which stands today, occupies the site of the original pre-1430s structure. Some of the old stone belonging to the original Priory building has been used in the construction of this Medieval Church.
A long and rich history
The historic churchyard forms part of the attractive and peaceful setting of these two significant buildings, with long views out to Morecambe Bay. It also forms part of the Scheduled Ancient Monument site of the Wery Wall and Roman settlement on Castle Hill and is therefore of utmost Historical and Archaeological importance. It contains a number of ‘listed’ monuments of historical interest such as the 19C marble tomb chest and effigy surrounded by cast iron railings and a restored Gothic style 18C sundial. In 1912 excavations revealed a wall beneath the present chancel area, which may be from Roman times, and a small Saxon doorway has been exposed in the west wall of the present nave. See our timeline of events dating back to the 4th century.
An interesting and unique interior
The carved choirstalls are of oak and, dating from 1340, are the third oldest in England. They are described as “about the most luxuriant canopies in the country”. The carved pulpit dates from 1619. The stone base of the font was installed in 1848 and its carved wooden cover is dated 1631. The three brass chandeliers are dated 1717. The stained glass in the east window was designed by Edward Paley and made by Wailes. The church plate includes four flagons, a chalice and two bread holders dated 1678–79, a small chalice presented in 1728 and a cup dated 1757. Cynibald’s Cross – now in British Museum. In 1807 a runic cross was found while digging in the churchyard. The cross is 3 feet in length, and 1 foot 9 inches across. A replica of the cross is now on display near the south west door of the Priory. In the churchyard, a Sandstone Sundial dating from the late 18th century which was restored in 1894 and which is listed at Grade II. Also in the churchyard and listed at Grade II are the Rawlinson memorial dating from the late 18th century and a tomb chest with a damaged marble effigy dating from the mid 19th century.