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The Priory Church of St Mary, in Bridlington’s Old Town, was founded as an Augustinian monastery in 1113 and was from the start a rich and important religious house.
At the Reformation the Priory, along with many other foundations, was ‘dissolved’, most of its buildings destroyed and its property seized. What we see now is the original nave and is a fine example of medieval architecture.
Inside the church, as well as beautiful soaring columns and impressive stained glass windows, visitors can learn about the history of the Priory through a fascinating series of appliquéd pictures.
Similarly, a display about a former prior, John de Thweng, who became St John of Bridlington gives a good insight into life in a medieval monastery.
Children can dress up as an Augustinian canon and colour illuminated letters.
In the 20th century restoration of the church included a wide range of wooden pieces carved by ‘Mousey Thompson’ of Kilburn, North Yorkshire.
Visitors might like to follow the ‘Mouse Hunt’ sheet and find them all.
Also of interest is the magnificent 4-manual Anneessens organ. A programme of organ recitals featuring world-renowned organists runs on the last Saturday of the month from April to September.
The churchyard includes the memorial to the Great Gale disaster of 1871 where many lives were lost.
The Priory also is a member of the Yorkshire Wildlife Trust Living Churchyard Project and has areas set aside for nature conservation by providing a variety of habitats for our native flora and fauna.
With a shop, a coffee machine, a warm welcome and free entry, Bridlington Priory is well worth a visit.