Brampton – Lanercost Priory Church

Location : Brampton
Grid Ref : NY 556637
Lanercost, Brampton, CA8 2HQ.
 

 

Lanercost Priory was founded about 1166 by Henry II. When completed in 1220, canons came from the priory in Norfolk, and remained for some 370 years until the Dissolution of the Monasteries in 1536, by Henry VIII.
 
The building went to Thomas Dacre of Naworth Castle nearby, who converted some of the buildings into private dwellings (now called the Dacre Hall). The rest of the building fell into disrepair. About 1740 it was decided to restore the nave, and use it as a Parish Church. Anthony Salvin, who had done some restoration and building work at Naworth Castle in 1844, was responsible for the Parish Church as it is now.

 

The East window contains some fragments of 16th Century glass removed from the Dacre Hall, the dining room of Sir Thomas Dacre after the dissolution. In the North transept is a monument to Lady Elizabeth Dacre Howard also by Sir J Boehm.

 

 

 

The West Front of the Church is a fine example of early English architecture (about 1200). At the top stands a figure of Saint Mary Magdalene, the Patron Saint of the Priory, which was carved about 1270.

 

In the North aisle are three stained glass window by Sir Edward Burne-Jones. There is also a bronze relief, containing the Entombment and The Nativity, designed by Burne-Jones, and executed by Sir Joseph Boehm, as a memorial by George Howard of Naworth Castle to his parents. (The original designs, in chalk, for these are in the Fitzwilliam Museum in Cambridge). In the North West corner stands the Cross, the base of which is outside on the green and has been there since 1214.

 

 The remains of the inner arch of the gatehouse. The intact gatehouse of nearby Wetherall Priory gives a good idea of what Lanercost’s entrance would have looked like.

 

The remainder of the Priory, second only to Furness Abbey in interest as a ruin, is now in the hands of English Heritage. There are the remains of the North and South Transepts, the Choir, the Sanctuary and the Cellarium.

 

The Prior’s Tower is a four storey medieval stone fortified tower, with an adjoining two storey range to the west. it was extensively remodelled in the 16th century by the Dacres as a dwelling, when a large fireplace was built on the first floor of the west range (now known as Dacre Hall) and new windows inserted in the tower.

 

The Vicarage Tower is Known as King Edward’s Tower after King Edward I lodged there on his three visits to Lanercost. it is a 13th century two storey stone Pele Tower, with a line of dog-tooth ornament below the parapet.

 

Within the ruins are several interesting tombs, including that of Sir Thomas Dacre.

 

An audio guided tour of the ruins is available from the English Heritage shop. There is a book and gift shop in the English Heritage ticket office, and also in the Parish Church. There are occasionally craft fairs held in the Dacre Hall.

 


 
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