Lancaster Priory Church
OS Grid ref:- SD 474 619
A monastery was located on or near the site of today's Lancaster Priory on Castle Hill by the 700's or 800's.
Roger de Poitou, son of Roger of Montgomery, 1st Earl of Shrewsbury, founded the Benedictine priory, dedicated to St Mary, in 1094 as a cell of the Abbey of Saint Martin of Sées in Normandy. In 1539 the monastic institution was abolished at the dissolution of the monasteries under King Henry VIII and the following year the priory became a parish church.
Most of the magnificent interior is medieval, but there are traces of a Saxon church. The oak choirstalls with their rich woodcarving and carved misericords date from 1340 and are the third oldest in England, John Ruskin described the fretwork on the stalls as 'the finest in England'.
Cynibald's cross, an Anglo-Saxon runic cross was found in the churchyard of the Priory in 1807 and is believed to date to the late 800's, it is now displayed at the British Museum, the priory church houses a replica of the cross which has a runic inscription in the middle which commemorates Cynibald, son of Cuthbert, possibly a king or prince of Northumbria.
The carved Jacobean style pulpit dates to 1619. The stained glass in the east window was designed by Edward Paley. The church plate includes four flagons, a chalice and two breadholders dated 1678–79, a small chalice presented in 1728 and a cup dated 1757.
There are also numerous religious artefacts including Viking ornaments and crusaders coffins and architectural remains of Dark Age origin. The church also contains the Kings Own Memorial Chapel, built in the twentieth century, from which hang probably the largest collection of surviving regimental colours and battle honours.
The refectory and coffee shop offer light refreshments and there is also a gift shop.
Part of the Choir Stalls and the replica of Cynibald's Cross
Traces of Roman fortifications around the church have been discovered during building works and archaeological digs and some of these have been left exposed in the field to the north of the church. The field is reached by the footpath which leads from the Priory down to St. George's Quay on the River Lune.