The Priory Receives Lifeline from Culture Recovery Fund


Cartmel Priory has been awarded a welcome grant of £69,200 which will be used to support approved overheads and other essential maintenance costs, re-establishing income streams damaged by the prevention/reduction of visitor footfall; and creating new digital attractions in addition to an existing Virtual Reality experience to secure its heritage and make it accessible to a wider community.

The Reverend Nick Devenish, Vicar of Cartmel Priory, said: “We are thrilled to receive this magnificent award which will give us a vital financial breathing space as we seek to maintain this magnificent Grade 1 listed building, carry out our day to day work at the heart of a busy community and congregation as well as steward and preserve this historically important building for future generations and further develop our ground-breaking digital offering. The abrupt and instant loss of our income from our many visitors was a shock I know we shared with so many others at the start of this pandemic and many people not only now but in the future will be thankful for this timely and essential support.”

The Priory Church of St Mary and St Michael has stood proudly in the village of Cartmel on the southern fringe of the Lake District since its foundation by the great William Marshal in 1189.  Described by Simon Jenkins (England’s Thousand Best Churches) as the most beautiful church in the north-west it has survived many threats including its potential destruction by Henry VIII while managing to preserve much early stonework and glass together with its grand perpendicular 600-year old East Window, 14th century misericords and unusual 17th century screen.  There is much which has been added since for worshippers and visitors to enjoy right up to a Virtual Reality telling of its survival at the Dissolution. Those currently responsible for the Priory are conscious of their responsibility in stewarding this place and provisions have already been put in place to re-open the Priory for regular services and as a visitor attraction to the area when possible and it is already Visit England Good to Go accredited. This grant will not only be used to cover immediate and urgent maintenance costs and cost incurred in the provision of a safe space but to enable planning for the establishment of greater resilience for the future and the creating additional digital attractions to make our heritage accessible to a much wider community.

This project is funded by the Culture Recovery Fund for Heritage. the Culture Recovery Fund is being delivered by The National Lottery Heritage Fund and Historic England, using funds provided by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport.

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