Lanercost Priory is located in a peaceful, picturesque setting close to the banks of the River Irthing and just a few hundred yards from the route of the Hadrian’s Wall Path. The priory was established by Augustinian canons in about 1169 and, while the nave was restored in the nineteenth century and continues to be used as the parish church, parts of the earlier building lie in ruin. These include the substantial remains of the north and south transepts, the choir, the sanctuary and the cellarium, all of which are now in the care of English Heritage and are open to the public.
The priory suffered greatly during the border wars when it received notable visitors – some welcome, some not so. Edward I visited on several occasions and died nearby in 1307; then, in 1311, Robert the Bruce and his Scottish army dropped in, practically destroying the priory. After the Dissolution of the Monasteries in the sixteenth century, Sir Thomas Dacre converted the west range buildings into his private home.
Today, next door to the priory, visitors will find a shop, tourist information centre and tearoom. The latter is particularly well known for its mouth-watering home-baked cakes.