Wetheral Priory (Wetheral)

(See also Wetheral)

Wetheral Priory Gatehouse courtesy of Barbara BallardOn a small side road on the edge of the village of Wetheral, the red sandstone Wetheral Priory Gatehouse stands three stories tall, a pale hint of a once thriving Benedictine priory, an example of a time when monasteries played an important roll in the land.

Founded in 1106 by Ranulph de Meschines, it once encompassed grand monastic buildings-a chapel, school, domestic quarters, and monastic offices. The 15th century gatehouse with its domestic quarters is all that remains. It retains its fine elliptical arch, which was the entrance into the outer court of the monastery and contained chambers above the passageway.

Wetheral Priory Gatehouse by Steve BulmanWetheral Priory was home to eight Benedictine monks and was dedicated to the Holy Trinity, St Mary, and St Constantine. It was subject to the abbey of St Mary's in York. A mill, fishery, and wood were part of its possessions. It had a number of rich benefactors. Oliver Cromwell sold it, but it was recovered during the reign of Charles II.

The gatehouse survived Henry VIII's destruction of the monasteries by serving as the vicarage for the local church. The priory was given to the Dean and Chapter of Carlisle who demolished the walls to build a prebendal house at Carlisle.

Wetheral Priory Gatehouse is in the village of Wetheral, 6 miles east of Carlisle on the B6263.

English Heritage
Free-view from roadside or open April-end Sep, 10am-6pm daily; Oct-end March 10am-4pm daily. Closed 24-26 Dec. and New Year's Day.

Note: Please check opening times and dates before visiting in case of changes.

Photos courtesy of Barbara Ballard and Steve Bulman

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