Lanercost Priory

Has been described as a Questionable Fortified Ecclesiastical site

There are major building remains

NameLanercost Priory
Alternative Names
Historic CountryCumberland
Modern AuthorityCumbria
1974 AuthorityCumbria
Civil ParishBurtholme

The now partly ruined Lanercost Priory was founded circa 1166 by Robert de Vaux. Edward I visited the priory on three occasions in 1280, 1300, and again in 1306-7 when he was taken ill and remained for six months until his recovery. In between Edward's earlier visits the Scots ransacked the priory in 1296 when they burned the cloister. No sooner had the damage been repaired than it was destroyed again the following year by Scots under the leadership of William Wallace. Documentary sources indicate considerable building work was undertaken at the priory during Edward's convalescence when the royal entourage of up to 200 people had to be accommodated. In 1346 King David II of Scotland ransacked the buildings and desecrated the church. The priory was rebuilt but many of the estates had to be sold to meet the costs of this work. Lanercost Priory was dissolved in 1537 under the orders of Henry VIII and the buildings were granted to Sir Thomas Dacre who made alterations and converted some of the monastic buildings, including Dacre Hall, into a dwelling house by 1559. The north aisle of the church was shut off from the rest and used as a parish church, while a parsonage was built for the vicar to the west of the 13th century tower. The remainder of the monastic buildings were allowed to fall into decay. In 1716 the ruins of the priory passed to the crown upon the death of the Lanercost Dacres. About 1740 it was decided to enlarge the space used by the parish church by restoring the nave. In 1896 the priory was purchased by the Earl of Carlisle. Throughout the 20th century various parts of the priory have been placed in the guardianship of the Secretary of State. (PastScape)

Gatehouse Comments

An Augustinian monastery, founded circa 1166 and dissolved in 1537. The surviving remains are mainly early C13. The priory's church nave is still in use as a church. Gateway arch of gate house survives as ruin. Brooke writes priory ruins not particular defensive but attacked on several occasions and used as a refuge. However, the prior's lodging may have formed part of a more defensive set of caustral buildings prior to it's alteration into a pele tower post reformation. As with every monastery will have had some precinct boundary with impressive gateways (the arch of a ruinous gatehouse survives) although these are not usually described as 'defensive'.

- Philip Davis

This site is a scheduled monument protected by law

This is a Grade 1 listed building protected by law

Historic England Scheduled Monument Number
Historic England Listed Building number(s)
Images Of England
Historic England (PastScape) Defra or Monument number(s)
County Historic Environment Record
OS Map Grid ReferenceNY554637
Latitude54.9659614562988
Longitude-2.6950900554657
Eastings355450
Northings563730
HyperLink HyperLink HyperLink
Copyright Alan Sawyer and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons license.
Copyright Alan Sawyer and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons license.
Copyright Alan Sawyer and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons license.
Copyright Alan Sawyer and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons license.
Copyright Alan Sawyer and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons license.
Copyright Alan Sawyer and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons license.
Copyright Alan Sawyer and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons license.
Copyright Alan Sawyer and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons license.
Photo by Philip Davis. All Rights Reserved
Photo by Philip Davis. All Rights Reserved
Photo by Philip Davis All Rights Reserved
Photo by Philip Davis All Rights Reserved

Most of the sites or buildings recorded in this web site are NOT open to the public and permission to visit a site must always be sought from the landowner or tenant.

Calculate Print

Books

  • Harrison, Peter, 2004, Castles of God (Woodbridge; Boydell Press) p. 67
  • Brooke, C.J., 2000, Safe Sanctuaries (Edinburgh; John Donald) p. 263-8
  • < >Summerson, H. and Harrison, S., 2000, Lanercost Priory, Cumbria. A Survey and Documentary History (Kendal: CWAAS Research Series 10) < >
  • Perriam, Denis and Robinson, John, 1998, The Medieval Fortified Buildings of Cumbria (Kendal: CWAAS Extra Series 29) p. 160 (plan of gatehouse)
  • Salter, Mike, 1998, The Castles and Tower Houses of Cumbria (Malvern: Folly Publications) p. 70
  • Pettifer, A., 1995, English Castles, A guide by counties (Woodbridge: Boydell Press) p. 43
  • King, D.J.C., 1983, Castellarium Anglicanum (London: Kraus) Vol. 1
  • Hugill, Robert, 1977, Castles and Peles of Cumberland and Westmorland (Newcastle; Frank Graham) p. 113-5
  • Knowles, David and Hadcock, R. Neville, 1971, Medieval religious houses in England and Wales (Longman) p. 162
  • Hugill, R.,1939, Borderland Castles and Peles (1970 Reprint by Frank Graham) p. 143-4

Journals

  • Ferguson, R.S. and Ferguson, C.J., 1866-73, 'Lanercost Priory' Transactions of the Cumberland and Westmorland Antiquarian and Archaeological Society Vol. 1 p. 95- (history) online copy

Guide Books

  • Keevil, Graham D., 2003, Lanercost Priory (London: English Heritage)
  • Moorman, John R.H., 1967 (2edn), Lanercost Priory (Brampton: John Moorman)

Other

  • Payne, A., 1998, Lanercost Priory, Cumbria Report on geophysical survey, May 1992 (Ancient Monuments Laboratory report 50/98) online copy