New age for the jewel in Dunstable’s crown

Priory Church
Priory Church

Dunstable’s most iconic building looks set for a major improvement as part of the town’s continuing regeneration.

The Priory Church of St Peter’s is set to undergo major improvements works set to be announced on Wednesday, June 7.

A special team of fundraisers has led the campaign to restore the church to some of its former glory, and it has been led by South West Beds parliamentary candidate Andrew Selous.

Mr Selous said: “The Priory holds a special place in the lives of many residents of the town.

“Whether there has been a wedding, christening, funeral, school concert or even educational visit, the heritage and architecture of the venue has touched many people’s lives.

“And now we would like to improve access and facilities within the building so that more people than ever can experience the heritage and culture of the venue.”

The Priory Church of St Peter has been a central part of life in Dunstable for over 800 years.

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 key historical events, including:

< The original Norman building formed the shape of a cross; however, two western towers

were lost in a storm in 1222

< The body of Eleanor of Castile, beloved wife of Edward I rested at The Priory before proceeding to St Albans

< 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

< Dunstable Priory was nearly chosen to be a cathedral in the years before the reformation.

Mr Selous added: “The building work planned for 2020 is our opportunity to affect the future for this building.”