Priory 900 Years Anniversary - 2020

May/June 2020 to May 2021

“Honouring our past, Celebrating our present and Embracing our future”

Next year we will be celebrating 900 years of worship in St Bees Priory. There is evidence of Christian worship on the site since the tenth century, part of a Celtic cross still stands in the graveyard, but the building we see today dates back to 1120. A 900th birthday is a very special occasion and deserves a big party. From June 2020 to May 2021 we will be hosting a series of events to honour our past, celebrate the present and embrace the future of the Priory.

The first of these events will be a fundraising “Black-tie May Ball” on the evening of Saturday 16th May at the Seacote Hotel with the La’al Big Band, dinner and dancing. On Sunday 7th June the Anniversary will officially begin with a Friends of St Bees Priory service of Choral Evensong. Next, we will be honouring the past with a Medieval Feast and launch of our own Ennerdale Brewery “Priory Ale” on Saturday 11th July. 

Over the following months we will be hosting a History Festival, with workshops for children, 24 hours of Monastic prayer, a Christmas tree festival and a performance of the Bega Play. Our embroidery group are working on a new decorative panel and we hope to raise funds for a new moveable font for baptism services. Both these works of art will be dedicated toward the end of our Anniversary year.

We will conclude our celebrations with a service of Blessing for Marriage and Baptism on Pentecost Sunday, 23rd May 2021. We hope that our Bishops and local officials will join with the whole parish in giving thanks for the presence of our beautiful Priory in our community for 900 years, and for the people who have made it what it is.

Because in the end, the Priory is a very special place but it’s the people that truly matter. The people who have worshipped there, marked the significant moments of their life there, who are remembered both within and outside in the grounds. Whether they were monks, priests, church goers or none of the above. St Bees Priory is your Priory, next year she will be 900 years old and everyone’s invited to the party.

Reverend Becky Gibbs and The 900 years planning team.