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Category: News from the Parish

Bedfordshire Day

Saturday 30th November 2019 at the Priory Church of St Peter

Our new web site is up and running

Our new web site, funded by The Heritage Lottery Fund, is now live on the internet. It’s a big step up from this old site. Do go and have a look http://heritage.dunstableparish.org.uk/

It is very new with the initial content focusing on St Peters and its Bell Tower. Over time we hope to transfer and merge more and more content from this old creaking site to the new glossy pages.

Onwards and Upwards for the Priory Church Bell Tower Repairs!

Work is underway using Heritage Lottery Funding for repairs on the bell tower of the Priory Church in Dunstable.

View of the Bell Tower Works at Priory Church Dunstable

It was revealed that the ancient building, with important historical connections to Henry VIII, won a bid for £71,900 in January. Now work is underway with stone masons at work repairing the parapets.

Lodge & Sons, historic building restoration, stonemasons Nick Hilliard and Stuart Thompson are at work in all weathers preparing the Bath stone and putting it in place. “We’re examining the old and reusing or replacing to keep the new looking in keeping with the original,” said Nick.

Hilary Jackson, Church Warden who led the bell tower HLF bid said: “It is exciting to know that this important work is underway. There has been much work behind the scenes to get to this stage, but people can now see that it has started. We hope to involve various community groups along the way as the project progresses – this may include the chance to meet the stone masons and hear about their work.

“Grants were also received from the Bedfordshire and Hertfordshire Historic Churches Trust, the All Churches Trust and ChurchCare. The Priory Church is extremely grateful for the financial support given.”

Meanwhile the Dunstable Priory 2020 Vision project, to make the interior of the church more user-friendly for wider community groups to meet outside of services, is still on-going. The team is now awaiting the arrival of the new Rector who will be critical to the next stages of fund-raising.

Kathy Riley who is co-ordinating the Dunstable Priory 2020 campaign added: “This work on the tower is an important first step in securing the fabric of the building. The 2020 plan is to put the 1,000-year-old The Priory back in the centre of life in Dunstable. To this end we are hosting a meeting of all the newly appointed councillors from Central Beds Council to ensure they full understand the significance The Priory has in the local community.”

The Priory Church of St Peter, which was founded in 1132, is steeped in history and the building is Grade I listed, part of only 2.5% of buildings in England which are listed in this category and described by Historic England as of exceptional interest.

During its 900-plus years, the church has taken many forms and been adapted to suit the needs of the town, from the original Augustinian Priory founded by Henry I through the formation of the Church of England, reformation, restoration and into more modern times.

It has been more than just a place of worship; the building has served as a community venue throughout this time and played an important role in several historical events.

>The original Norman building formed the shape of a cross; however, two western towers were lost in a storm in 1222.

>The Priory oversaw tournaments attended by Edward I in 1279 and 1280, and Edward III in 1329 & the country’s last old style tournament took place in Dunstable in 1349.

> The annulment of the marriage of Henry VIII and Catherine of Aragon, the court of which took place in the Lady Chapel on 10th May 1533. Henry’s desire for a divorce had led to the country’s permanent break with the Catholic church.



Note to Editors: If you would like to know more about the work of the stone masons please contact Nick Hilliard on 07966 272 499 http://www.lodgeandsons.co.uk
Nick can be interviewed live at the top of the tower by mobile phone – or journalists can take a trip to the tower by arrangement with Manners PR on behalf of the Dunstable Priory.
Stuart Thompson started his career as an apprentice and is now a fully qualified stone mason.
Tel Jacquie Manners on 07971 216014

Welcome Revd. Rachel

Today, after nearly a year without a Rector and Team Vicar of The Priory Church of St Peter, the congregation broke out in spontaneous, delighted applause when Hilary, our Church Warden, read out the following letter from the Bishop of Bedford.

I am delighted that we are now in a position to confirm that the Reverend Rachel Phillips is to be the new Team Rector of the Dunstable Team Ministry with responsibility for Priory Church of St Peter’s.
Rachel is currently a Residentiary Canon at Rochester Cathedral, with particular responsibility for mission and growth. She trained for the ministry at St John’s College, Nottingham and was ordained in the Diocese of London in 2007. Prior to ordination she worked as a solicitor and also a church organist and choir director. She will be returning to the Diocese of St Albans, having been incumbent of Northaw & Cuffley from 2010 to 2016 and also rural dean of Cheshunt.
Rachel will be licensed as your Team Rector and Vicar of the Priory Church at 7.30pm on Thursday 31 October.

June at the Priory Church


Saturday 1st  –  9.00 am – Polish Catholic Church, Victoria Street All welcome for DCT prayers.

9.30 am – Priory Church – Meet Rev Tim Davis to help organize Pentecost decorations for Sunday service on 9th June

Saturday 8th   11.30am – Chews House –  Hunger Lunch for Christian Aid

Sunday   9th    10.30 am – All Age Eucharist in the Priory followed by Bring and Share Picnic  (No services in St Augustine’s, St Fremund’s or St Katherine’s)

Tuesday 11th     2.00 pm – In St John’s Chapel – Priory Little Angels

Saturday 29th   10.00 am  – Priory Coffee Morning

Diocesan Wave of Prayer – All Christians are invited to join in from Ascension to Pentecost The theme is ”Thy Kingdom Come”.

Confirmation in November 2019 – Interested adults should please contact one of the clergy.

Donations of home-made cakes would be welcome for the Motor Rally in Priory Gardens on 8th June.

Priory Church Challenge – Can you identify items in and around the Priory from the photographs displayed in the North Aisle – no prizes – just for fun!

SUN, Mar 29, 2020