The Priory Church of St Mary & St Bega

The present building was started in about 1120 by the Norman Lord of Egremont, after the conquest of Cumbria. It was buit on an existing religious site,  evidenced by two 10th Century cross-shafts.  It was the first monastic foundation in the west of Cumbria, and prospered until 1539, when Henry VIII closed down the monasteries.

The monastic buildings were gradually demolished, but the nave of the building was kept as the Parish Church. Revival started in 1816 when the Theological College was founded, and over the next 50 years the Priory was gradually restored. 

The Priory is the Anglican parish church of St Bees, and is open to the public during the day.

Ad-hoc guided tours can be arranged, Contact Chris Robson on 01946 822468 (email:

Priory drawing
Priory layout
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