Heritage Category:
Listed Building
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Date first listed:
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Statutory Address:

The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

Lancaster (District Authority)
National Grid Reference:
SD 47361 61939



SD4761NW PRIORY CHURCHYARD 1685-1/6/231 Priory and Parish Church of St Mary 22/12/53


Anglican parish church. Largely c1430 on earlier site, with west tower of 1754-5 by Henry Sephton of Liverpool (contractor William Kirkby), with south porch and north chapel c1903 by Austin and Paley, and with a north refectory and office formed in 1982 from the former choir vestry of 1871 and the clergy vestry of 1904; restored 1912. Dressed sandstone for the medieval portions and sandstone ashlar for the rest, with roofs of slate and lead. West tower, and nave and chancel under a continuous roof, with clerestorey and embattled parapets, N and S aisles, a S porch, a N chapel, and a N office and refectory. The 4-stage tower has set-back buttresses, corner pinnacles, and an embattled parapet. The south doorway has a moulded arch under a hoodmould from which hang small swags, a motif repeated in all the arched openings above. The second stage has a 4-light south window divided into 2 sub-arches with reticulated tracery and a roundel above. The third stage has on the north and south sides a round window, perhaps intended for the clock face which is now placed above it. Each bell opening has 4 lights, divided in the upper stage into 2 pairs with an angel's head in the spandrel, but below a deep unmoulded transom only 2 lights with cusped heads. The 4-bay nave and 4-bay chancel are indistinguishable except that the plinth steps beneath the eastern bay of the nave and that the nave roof is more steeply pitched. The 4-centred windows in both aisles and clerestory are set under hoodmoulds and have splayed hollow-moulded reveals. They are of 3 lights with cusped heads, and their hollow-chamfered mullions rise straight to the arch. Between them are buttresses with set-offs, which are rectangular below the first set-off and v-shaped above it; the battlements rise to form diagonally-set crocketed pinnacles above them (those in the aisles have been removed). At the base of the battlements runs a string course which breaks forward into a grotesque head where it passes in front of the buttresses. Under the south aisle window in the 2nd bay from the east is a low 4-centred doorway said by VCH to date from 1828, but apparently late C19. The 2-storeyed south porch has a taller staircase turret to the east and buttresses which rise to freestanding pinnacles, again with crockets and grotesque heads. The doorway has moulded jambs with fleurons in the arch mouldings above; between 2 cusped windows is a canopied niche containing a statue of the Virgin and Child. The east window is of 5 trefoiled lights and has Perpendicular tracery. INTERIOR: 4-bay nave and 4-bay chancel separated by a wide chancel arch and arches across the aisles which, like the chancel arcades, have rich mouldings in 2 orders under a hoodmould. The piers in the chancel have deeply-moulded capitals and 4 half-round shafts with hollows between; those in the chancel arch have similar capitals and triple shafts (with hollows) on each cardinal face. The nave arcades may have been built slightly later (see north-east respond) and have 2 orders of plain chamfers resting on octagonal piers with simply-moulded capitals. The King's Own Memorial Chapel is separated from the north aisle by an arcade of 4 narrow bays with clustered piers which have capitals carved with a 'black letter' Latin inscription. The moulded south doorway, inside the porch, is of late C12 date and has restored angle shafts. In the west wall of the nave is a doorway said to be pre-Conquest. It was found during the 1912 restoration and has plain square jambs, the left-hand one of fairly recent stone, with a plain lintel on shouldered corbels. At the west end of the nave the central part of the C18 gallery survives and has carved Royal arms attached to its front. The open timber nave roof dates from 1912. FITTINGS include, to each side of the chancel choir stalls with gables which are encrusted with foliage carving - Pevsner called them 'about the most luxuriant canopies in the country.' 10 misericords survive, all mutilated to some extent. The reconstructed pulpit incorporates C17 woodwork, including the date '1619'. The font is of 1848, but the carved oak octagonal font cover is dated '1631'. The east window was designed by Paley and made by Wailes. The early C20 glass in the north chapel was made by Shrigley and Hunt, except for the west window, which is a memorial to the dead of the First World War. 3 brass candelabra of Flemish design were donated in 1717. Wall tablets include one to William Stratford (d.1751) by IF Roubiliac, and one to Sibyll Wilson (d.1773) by Fishers of York.

Listing NGR: SD4735261932

This List entry has been amended to add the source for War Memorials Register. This source was not used in the compilation of this List entry but is added here as a guide for further reading, 2 February 2017.


The contents of this record have been generated from a legacy data system.

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War Memorials Register, accessed 2 February 2017 from
War Memorials Register, accessed 2 February 2017 from


This building is listed under the Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) Act 1990 as amended for its special architectural or historic interest.

End of official listing

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Date: 30 Aug 2004
Reference: IOE01/12890/31
Rights: Copyright IoE Mr Chris Thoume. Source Historic England Archive
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