Cartmel Priory tower
Cartmel Medieval Priory

Cartmel Priory of St Mary & St Michael

Nick Devenish is the new incumbent at Cartmel Priory. We look forward to him settling in to village life.

We offer you a warm invitation to visit this beautiful old church which dominates the small village of Cartmel, near Grange-over-Sands in Cumbria. We are proud that Simon Jenkins, in his recent book 'England's Thousand Best Churches', published by Penguin, says that "Cartmel is the most beautiful church in the north-west".

Founded as a priory for 'the regular canons of St. Augustine', this church has been a focus for Christian worship for more than 800 years. It continues to serve as a centre for the local community and for the 60,000 pilgrims and tourists who visit us each year.

There are many features of special interest, both outside and inside the church: the unique square belfry tower constructed diagonally across the original lantern tower; the remnants of stained glass in the great east window and the seats and benches of the choir stalls, all from the early 15th century; the Piper Choir with its early English pointed arch and groined roof; the Town Choir which is dedicated to St Michael and was set aside by the canons for the lay people of Cartmel; the wonderful sculptures by Josefina de Vasconcellos.

You are welcome to say a prayer, join us in worship, look about the building, visit the bookstall, or just enjoy the peace and quietness of this very special place.

Stewards are most willing to provide helpful information about Priory history, and the continuity of worship and work in this busy Christian community.

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The bookstall, situated in the West Nave, has a wide range of merchandise incorporating over 300 book titles, many by well know Christian authors. The selection includes bibles, theological works, devotional books and prayers suitable for the youngest child and for the long-committed Christian reader. There are many helpful books for those seeking enlightenment, comfort, or encouragement and help along the road of life. Many are suitable for gifts. One range covers most aspects of life and family experience, through the joy of new birth to the sorrow of a loved one's passing.

A comprehensive selection of Priory Guide Books give the visitor an opportunity to learn something of the long and detailed history of this Medieval Priory and village.

The extensive range of greeting cards and music CDs is greatly appreciated by visitors. It is continually reviewed and is both up-to-date and well-displayed.

You will almost certainly find something to take home from the gifts and sundries selection, which has many interesting items and is especially popular with visiting children - parents and grandparents beware!

PRIORY SHOP OPENING TIMES: The bookstall is open during normal opening hours and in the summer there is a steward to help with your choices and purchases from 10 am. to 5.30 pm.

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Cartmel Priory Parish News. If you would like to receive, by post, the monthly Parish News please e-mail A donation of £1.00 a copy is requested to cover postage and packing.

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Nick Devenish, Vicar
Tel: 015395 36261
Address: The Vicarage, Priest Lane, Cartmel, Grange-over-Sands, Cumbria LA11 6PU

Roger Baxter, Marjorie Simon and John Iveson

Magazine Editor
The Parish Magazine is produced monthly. To receive a copy, or if you wish to contribute an item, please contact:
Clare & Howard Martin
Tel: 01229 464777

Cartmel Priory is a Registered Charity. No. 1130275

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Cartmel Priory was founded in about 1189 by William Marshall, Baron of Cartmel, and Earl of Pembroke. For more than 800 years since then the Priory Church has been a house of prayer. A prior and twelve monks (symbolizing Christ and the Apostles) came from Bradenstoke Priory in Wiltshire, where Williams father was buried, as the founding community. Their main duty was to offer prayer for William's family in perpetuity. There were nine services each day. From the outset it was established that the people should always have a right to worship in part of the Priory. Little did the founder realize how this minor condition would save the Priory Church from complete destruction 350 year later.

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Cartmel Priory Church was built during changing times in monastic architecture. Here are found three distinct periods: Transitional Norman (1190-1250) Decorated (1320-1350) and Perpendicular (1400-1450). A fully illustrated guide is available at Cartmel Priory Bookstall.

The Bells

The ringing of the Priory bells is an integral part of the worship at Cartmel. They are appreciated by both worshippers and the local community. For the Priory's octocentenary in 1988 the bells were reorganised, with much heavy work done by parishioners. The old timber bell frame was replaced by a metal one and four new bells were cast by Royal Eijsbouts Foundry in the Netherlands. This formed a new peal alongside the "old peal" of six. The older bells comprise two cast in 1661 by Scott of Wigan; in 1726 and 1729 Evans of Chepstow cast two more; Taylors of Loughborough cast two trebles in 1932. The 1661 tenor is still used for tolling and clock chiming.

The Bellringers

The bells are rung regularly for services, festivals and weddings, as well as to "ring in the new year" at midnight on 31st December each year.

Bellringing practices take place fortnightly. Visitors are welcome, and Cartmel is a popular tower for inclusion in ringing trips throughout the year. If you wish to visit and ring at Cartmel, on practice night or any other time, please contact the Tower Secretary, Sandie Mills (Tel. 015395 36603) or the Tower Captain, Dai Hunt (Tel 015395 36448).

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This 12th Century priory has experienced an exciting history and visitors will be shown how this Christian church founded in 1188 has developed over the years. The daily routine of life in a monastery will be explained and stories told of the battles with Henry VIII. Tales of witches, together with those of a mermaid and a monkey will show how times have changed over the years and take the visitor on an enchanting journey leading to discoveries of their own.

Tours take place every Wed, from April to October, at 11am & 2pm.
Adults £2.50. Children £1.00.
Group tours can be arranged at other times throughout the year.
Please contact Bob Johnson Tel: +44 (0)15395 36536

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Changes to Service Times:

Until further notice weekday services are; Holy Communion at 07.30am on Tuesdays and 10.15 on Thursdays with Evening Prayer at 18.00 on Fridays.

The church is open from 9.00 a.m. to 5.30 p.m. in summer and 9.00 a.m. to 3.30 p.m. in winter.

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