Lancaster Priory
Lancaster Priory
The Priory and Parish Church of St Mary, Lancaster, as it is officially known, is mostly a 15th-century building, though it contains several pre-Conquest reminders of an earlier building, including a Saxon doorway and fragments of Saxon crosses.

The original priory was founded in 1094 by Roger of Poitou, as a dependency of Seez, in France, but there was a Saxon church on the site as early as 630 AD. In 1414 the priory was moved to Syon, Middlesex, and in 1430 St Mary's became the parish church of Lancaster.

Perhaps the most interesting feature of the Priory is the series of 14 beautifully carved misericords, dating from the 15th century.

These carvings are among the most interesting in England and cover a range of designs including winged figures, monsters, lions, angels, priests, and both male and female figures. Some of the carvings suffered the indignity of mutilation during the Reformation, but enough remains to show the quality of the carving and the fascinating range of subjects.

The pulpit is Jacobean, and was once a 'triple-decker', though it has been modified several times as tastes changed. There are fragments of Anglian crosses on display, a wonderful set of tapestries, and a large collection of regimental colours that may be among the most complete in Britain.

The church stands on a prominent rise above the River Lune, beside the remains of Lancaster Castle. The site has been used since at least Roman times, and traces of Roman fortifications can still be seen in the field north of the church. You can see the Roman remains by following the footpath which leads from the Priory down to St. George's Quay.