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Archbishop To Visit Bolton Priory

Friday 1st February 2013

The 150th anniversary will be celebrated at the 1030 service by Dr John Sentamu, Archbishop of York, and the Priory welcomes both parishioners and visitors to this joyous occasion.


The Priory Church of Bolton Abbey was initially founded in 1154 by a group of Augustinian monks. They were very much involved in the local village life, preaching, teaching, running a hospital, sheltering travellers and ministering to the local community who came to worship in the Priory. As gifts and bequests flowed in, they also invested wisely in farms, mills, lead mines and other enterprises, and the Priory gradually became the hub of a prosperous business enterprise. Over the centuries, however, it also suffered a number of setbacks. There were sporadic raids by Scots who came to steal sheep; in 1348 the Black Death struck, killing substantial numbers of the local population; and in 1539, at the time of the Dissolution of the Monasteries, the community was closed down, most of the buildings being allowed to fall into ruin.

Only one part of the property was preserved, and that was half of the original nave, which was preserved as a Church of England parish church for the people of the village of Bolton Abbey. However it was not a parish in its own right, but was instead made subordinate to Skipton Parish Church. Over the years the lands around it were acquired by the Dukes of Devonshire, and the Priory Church increasingly benefited from their patronage, one enduring testament to this being the magnificent Pugin windows that were commissioned by 5th Duke in 1851. Another important result of this support from the Devonshires was that in 1863 Bolton Priory was taken out of the control of Skipton Parish Church, and became a parish in its own right.

On Sunday 3rd February, 2013, Bolton Priory will celebrate the 150th anniversary of its becoming a full parish. The occasion will be celebrated at the 1030 service by the Most Rev and Rt Hon Dr John Sentamu, Archbishop of York, and the Priory welcomes both parishioners and visitors to this joyous occasion. The Priory’s Patron, the Duke of Devonshire, says “On this proud occasion for the parish of Bolton Abbey, the Priory Church is very pleased to welcome Dr Sentamu to join in celebrating its 150th anniversary”.

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