Lanercost Priory 17th September 2005

 Lanercost Priory was founded around 1169 by Robert de Vaux, Lord of Gilsland.  Much of the stone used in its construction came from nearby Hadrian's wall.  It was an Augustinian house, the canons serving as priests in several local churches.  Edward I spent five months at Lanercost recovering from an illness in 1306-1307.  The monastery was dissolved by Henry VIII in 1537 but the nave remained in use as a parish church, ensuring its survival to the present day.  The remainder of the church, although roofless, is in good repair and contains some fine tombs.  While many of the monastic buildings were destroyed, the west range of the cloister was converted into a residence for Thomas Dacre who was granted the Priory (excluding the nave) by Henry VIII in 1542.  The Priory passed to the crown in the 17th century and was leased to the Howard family who bought it in 1869.  The ruins were gifted to the nation in 1929 and they are now in the care of English Heritage.  The church continues to be managed by the parishioners.  There is a Lanercost web site which has some additional information and 3D reconstructions of the Priory before its dissolution.

The ornate tomb of Lord Thomas (d. 1525) and Lady Elizabeth Dacre in the south transept chapel.

Opposite view of Lord Thomas Dacre's tomb.

North transept chapel.

Tomb of Sir Humphrey Dacre and his wife Lady Mabel (d. 1510) in the north transept chapel. 
North west corner of the cloister

The Presbytery

South range of the cloister with the 16th century Dacre tower in the background.

Fireplace in the Dacre tower.

The undercroft below the south cloister range.  Food and drink was stored here.

North east corner of the cloister and the south transept

 Inside the nave, looking towards the north aisle.

Roman altars found near Lanercost.

 West end of the church.  The niche at the top contains a statue of St. Mary Magdalene.

The Lanercost Cross.  The cross carried an inscription in Latin (now only partly remaining), stating that it was made in 1214. It was moved inside the church in 1888.