Building started 14 years after the Norman Conquest and the Priory was completed in the mid 12th century. Famous for the unique West Door with the only known Alabaster Arch (circa 1160) in the country. The Dissolution of the Monasteries saw a large part of the Priory (cloisters, tower, transepts, choir, north aisle and clerestory) destroyed or removed, leaving only a large Parish Church.
The explosion of church building in the Victorian era saw major additions to the Church overseen by the eminent church architect GE Street with later changes overseen by Bodley and Hare and the last major change was the lowering of the floor in the 20th century (by two and a half feet) to its original pre-Victorian height in the 1930s. The History of the Priory Church can be read in the History section.
Opening - the Priory Church of St. Mary is now open on Tuesday afternoons as well as the normal service times and the Priory Pantry opening on Saturday mornings - details here.
Ceremonies - the Priory Church is also a beautiful place for Weddings, Christenings and for those sad occasions when we say goodbye to loved ones and friends - further details can be found on the Ceremonies page.
Events - community events and concerts often make use of the splendid acoustics of the Church - a sample of some past events can be seen here and new ideas always welcomed!
If you would like to book the church for a Ceremony or an Event, please contact the Verger Rosemary Tunstall - contact details can be found on the Who’s Who page.