Heritage Category:
Listed Building
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Statutory Address:

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

Carlisle (District Authority)
National Grid Reference:
NY 39872 55912



NY3955NE THE ABBEY 671-1/10/19 Fratry of former Priory of St Mary 01/06/49 (Formerly Listed as: THE ABBEY The Fratry)


Fratry for the Priory of St Mary, now cathedral library, bookshop and cafe. Between 1465 and 1490. For Prior Gondibour, with c1690 alterations; 1809-11 restorations by Sir Robert Smirke and 1880-81 restorations by GE Street; late 1980s repairs with new stone (in progress at time of survey December 1989). Squared blocks of red sandstone on chamfered plinth (now below ground level but partly exposed at rear) with stepped buttresses, eaves cornice, solid parapet and angle pinnacles on south wall. 1880 graduated greenslate roof within parapets with coped gables and cross finial (when built the original roof was either flat or of very low pitch); 1880 ashlar end chimney stack. 7 bays comprising a 6-bay hall and service/stair bay, with undercroft; on an east-west alignment forming the south range of the priory cloister and joined to the Cathedral by the (now ruined) dormitory range. The north wall formerly had the lower part hidden by the roofed cloister walk, the corbeling and roof crease for which survive. Left paired pointed-arched doorways give access to the undercroft and upper levels; right pointed-arched doorway gives access to hall, within an 1880 porch in replica of 2 bays of the covered cloister walk (the windows in the porch are copies of the clerestory windows of the Fratry). Between these doorways the fresh stonework represents the 1880 blocking of a central doorway and flanking windows inserted in c1690. Above are 2-light clerestory Perpendicular windows. The west wall has a shouldered-arched doorway down steps to undercroft (probably a late C17 addition) and a large 6-light Perpendicular window. The east wall was formerly internal to the dormitory, off-centre pointed-arched door between undercrofts and a higher brick blocked segmental-arched doorway into the dormitory. Remains of the corbels and springers for the rib vaulting of the dormitory undercroft; above are the corbels, roof crease and joist holes for the dormitory roof. Part of the dormitory wall projects beyond the angle of the Fratry and is repaired with brick. The south wall has low square-headed double-chamfered windows lighting the undercroft. In the 5 bays above are large 3-light Perpendicular windows divided by buttresses and a smaller window lighting the pulpitum. Low doorways in recessed arches at right are under slated penticed porch. The right bay has a projecting octagonal turret lit by lancets which is carried up above the parapet. Sloping roof crease for dormitory is carried around at right. INTERIOR: The interior of the undercroft has rib vaulting carried on central octagonal columns; at the junction of some ribs are the initials of TG (Thomas Gondibour) in Gothic script. Hall was extensively restored in 1880, but the shell is basically C15 and retains the pulpitum dais. The bookcases were designed by Street. Internal stairs have been altered, but spiral stairs in turret still lead to upper floor chamber now a muniment room. For illustrations before restoration see RW Billings (1840) plates XXXVIII-XLIV. For further information on the 1880 restoration see Brown (1951) and Perriam TCWAAS, Trans.NS, LXXXVII. (Billings RW: Carlisle Cathedral: 1840-: 74-77; Brown JW: Round Carlisle Cross: 1951-: P.219-227; Cumb. & West. Antiquarian & Archaeological Soc., New Series: Perriam DR: LXXXVII: The demolition of the Priory of St. Mary: P.136-8).

Listing NGR: NY3988155912


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

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Books and journals
Billings, R W , Carlisle Cathedral, (1840), 74-77
Brown, J W, Round Carlisle Cross, (1951)
'Transactions Cumberland and Westmorland Antiquarian and Archaeological Society' in Transactions Cumberland and Westmorland Antiquarian and Archaeological Society, , Vol. 87, (), 136-8


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: 10 Sep 2003
Reference: IOE01/11320/27
Rights: Copyright IoE Mr Gordon Furness. Source Historic England Archive
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