Dunstable Priory
Dunstable Priory
In 1131 Henry I established an Augustinian priory at Dunstable. It was at Dunstable Priory that the annulment of Katherine of Aragon's marriage to Henry VIII was anounced in 1533. The Augustinians were evicted shortly after in the Dissolution of the Monasteries, but parts of the priory church of St. Peter have survived as the parish church.

St. Peter has been called one of the finest examples of Norman ecclesiastical architecture in England. The west front is magnificent, with a huge entry consisting of four arches (1170) above a later 15th century doorway. The entry is highly decorated, with diaper pattern and stiff-leaf moulding providing relief for a profusion of small arches. To the south west of the church is the 15th century gateway, a reminder of the long vanished priory.

Inside the church, the highlight is the beautifully intricate 14th century screen, with 5 open bays. The roof looks original, but it is actually a sympathetic restoration of the Perpendicular original, dating to 1871.

There are quite a few funerary monuments and floor brasses, but the stained glass window depicting Henry I is a modern creation. The old Lady Chapel at Dunstable disappeared after the Dissolution of the Monasteries. It was in the chapel that Archbishop Cranmer made the pronouncement officially annulling Henry VIII's marriage to Katherine of Aragon.

The old west doors still show the marks of shots fired during the English Civil War.


Bedfordshire Abbeys

About Dunstable Priory
Address: Church Street, Dunstable, Bedfordshire, England, LU5 4HN
Attraction Type: Historic Church
Website: Dunstable Priory
Location map
OS: TL021218
Photo Credit: mym, licensed for reuse under the Creative Commons Licence


HeritageWe've 'tagged' this attraction information to help you find related historic attractions and learn more about major time periods mentioned.

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Augustinian (Historical Reference) - Henry I (Person) - Henry VIII (Person) - Norman (Architecture) -


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