Priory Church of St Mary Magdalene

The Church of Mary Magdalene is a beautiful medieval church, part of Lanercost Priory, very near to Hadrian's Wall in Cumbria. It was originally part of an Augustinian monastery built in 1169, but this was largely dissolved by Henry VIII in his dissolution of monasteries in 1526. Thanks to major restorations, especially on the roofing, the Priory Church now stands proud and is used regularly by up to 50 people, for Sunday services, weddings, funerals and christenings. Visitors often comment on a peaceful, tranquil atmosphere and experience inside the Magdalene Church. Through the lancet windows at the east end of the church, the ruins of the Chancel can be seen providing a remarkable backdrop to the services. Due to the wonderful acoustics, music events are often held here at the St Mary Magdalene Church and greatly enhance the hymn singing.

Another impressive part of the building is the dossal, a 24ft by 4ft embroidered woollen cloth designed to hang on the Priory wall, behind the altar. Commissioned in 1881, the dossal was designed by a famous poet and designer of Church and domestic furnishings, William Morris. It took over 5 years to complete, by the ladies of the Parish. By 2003 it had suffered from light, damp and dust damage and was in need of restoration, however at that time restoration proved too expensive for St Mary Magdalene Church. Thankfully, as of 2010, donations and funding have started to get the dossal back to its original glory. So, if you visit this wonderful spectacle of rich English history, donate a few pounds, it will be much appreciated!

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