The Benedictine priory

Much of the early history of Lancaster Priory depends on the interpretation of indirect or incomplete information, so may be a little patchy in places.

2nd century – Date of Roman oil lamp (c. 180 AD) discovered outside the Priory church in 1910, which suggests that Christian worship took place on this site before Christianity was officially tolerated in the Roman Empire.

4th century – Roman defensive fort in Vicarage Field completed

5th century – Romans leave Britain leaving an informal settlement on Castle Hill

9th century – Christian churches established on banks of River Lune. Saxon stonework with Christian iconography has been found on Castle Hill

1086 – Castle built by Roger the Poitevin

1094 – Benedictine Priory dated by charter

1291 – The Priory produces a good steady income

1322 – Lancaster is invaded by Scots burning and plundering

1345 – Probable date of the carved oak choirstalls and misericords in the Priory Chancel, recognised by Royal Academy as “one of the most impressive sets of English medieval church furniture in England”

1350 – Black Death Lancaster lost 1 in 3 of its population

1400 – Priory’s 14 carved oak choir stalls recognised by Royal Academy as “One of the most impressive sets of English medieval church furniture in England”

Priory and parish church

1414 – Henry V handed Lancaster Priory to Convent of Syon

1430 – Henry VI founds the Parish of Lancaster and the Priory Church of St Mary is officially renamed “The Priory and Parish Church of Blessed Mary of Lancaster”

1540 – Henry VIII’s Dissolution of Monasteries

1557 – Robert Dalton of Bispham purchased the main territorial possessions of the Priory

1559 – Authority to appoint a vicar was granted to Nicholas Leynburn of Cunswick and then to his son

1638 – Dr Augustine Wildbore, vicar built large and imposing Vicarage

1722 – Two more bells added to make a peel of six

1767 – Authority to appoint a vicar acquired by Edward Marton of capernwray and continued until the early 20th century

1755 – New church, St John the Evangelist, on North Road, built

1796 – Foundation of St Anne’s on Moor Lane for worship – this became The Dukes Playhouse in 1972

Renovation and renewal

1760 – 1900 – building work includes new porch, churchyard walls, new roof, repositioning of font, new organ, improved heating and stained glass

1856 – 1864 – removal of galleried, oak pews and new bells donated by Lord Ashton

1903 – 1904 – Kings Own Lancaster Regiment Chapel built

1911 – 12 – programme of restoration

1979 – vestries extended

1993 – interior refurbishment

1999 – Visit by H.M Queen Elizabeth II to mark the 600th anniversary of the association between the Crown and the Duchy of Lancaster.

2012 – Removal of the Makin digital organ, and installation of the Willis / Harrison organ, and the dedication of the new organ by the Archbishop of York.