Guided Tours

New for 2018, Guided Tours of  the History of St. Mary’s Priory Church are available on most Saturday mornings (other days possible on request).

Come and discover the history of our beautiful Grade I Listed Norman Priory, started in 1080, consecrated in 1089, completed circa 1160 – but continually changing over the centuries.

Follow the changes made during the Dissolution of the Monasteries and the major restoration made by the Victorian aristocracy, or as the Rev Timothy Ganz once said, “the Victorians putting flesh on Norman bones” – and the floor that went up – and then down courtesy of 20th century industrialists!  What did it look like before the Dissolution – was it a Cruciform with tower, transepts, crossing and choir – or was it a nave with an apse?

Learn about the conservation of the Alabaster Arch on the Great West Door – the only external Alabaster Arch in the UK and the earliest alabaster carving in the UK – said by the head of conservation of the Church of England on a recent visit, to be of both national and international importance.

See the picture gallery below – hover-over or click-on an image for more information.

Admission:  Tours are free but a donation towards the Conservation of the Priory Alabaster Arch (CoPAA) would be much appreciated.

Format:  The Tour consists primarily of looking at the history of this 900+ year old Priory pointing out the changes to the building over time followed by time to look round the Priory’s monuments, artefacts and stained glass with a free Guide Book

Duration: The tours last for as long as you are interested – it could be 15 minutes or an hour – it depends entirely on what you want when you visit. 

When: Tours are on Saturday mornings between 10:00 and 12:00 when the Priory Pantry is open for tea, coffee and home-made cakes!  Other times can be arranged on request.

Facilities:  As well as refreshments in the (warm) Priory Pantry, toilets (including for those with disabilities) are available

Booking:  To avoid disappointment, it is advisable to book in advance to ensure that there is a guide available – please see Guided Tours on the Contacts page – we look forward to seeing you.

Note: the guides are local volunteers and not experts in church architecture – we welcome anyone who can tell us more about the building we love!