Priory ChurchLeominster
Church Street
Herefordshire HR6 8EQ
 
 
 
The majestic Priory Church in Leominster, England is now the Church of England Parish Church of St Peter and St Paul. The church is the only visible remnant of an ancient Benedictine monastery founded around 660 AD. It is a Grade I Listed Building on the Site of an Ancient Monument.
 
The current church dates from 1124 with later additions. The northern nave and aisle are original, and the south aisle and south nave were added in the 13th century. The Reformation of 1539 led to destruction of the east end of the church along with most of the monastic buildings but the main body of the church was preserved.
 
The ornate west doorway with its multiple dog-toothed arches resting on carved capitals is a superb example of the Herefordshire school of Romanesque carving. The main entrance is through the south-west porch. The Gothic porch has a panelled ceiling and leads into the 14th century south aisle.
 
Ducking Stool
Substantial restoration occurred between 1863 and1891 overseen by architect, Sir George Gilbert Scott. There are fine stained glass windows by C. E. Kempe. Inside are many interesting features including England's last used ducking stool.
 
Organ
Although the organ case is dated 1739, it contains a fine, recently restored church organ and the Priory regularly hosts concerts throughout the year.
 
Tower
The unique 15th century tower was built in two stages and has work of early Norman, Transitional, Early English, Decorated and Perpendicular periods.
 
The Bells
The bells of the church are very rare. There are ten now, but the back eight bells were cast by Wm Evans of Chepstow. They are the only original ring of eight bells to be cast by Evans' at the same time (1756). In 1894, two new bells were cast by John Warners of London.
 
Open
All year: daily 09:00 – 16:00 
 
As the church is an active place of worship, services, including weddings and funerals, may restrict access from time to time. To avoid disappointment, check the calendar at  Web:  Leominster Priory/ Calendar   External Link
 
Services
Sunday 10:00: Main Service with Eucharist.
 
For additional services throughout the week go to  Web:  Leominster Priory/ Services    External Link
 
Admission
Free
 
Disabled Access
Yes – wheelchair accessible; accessible toilet; Guide Dogs allowed.
 
Facilities
Toilets; unsupervised child’s play area.
 
Early History
It is believed that a monk, St. Edfrid, from Northumberland, established an early Christian community in Leominster in the 7th century. Archaeological remains found in the churchyard have been carbon-dated to c.660AD.
 
This approximate date is when Merwald, King of West Mercia purportedly built a Saxon nunnery for nuns and possibly monks as well. It was destroyed in raids by the Danes in the 9th century, but re-founded and rebuilt as a nunnery with a College of Secular Canons in the 9th century. It was destroyed again in 1046.
 
Later History
Salvation came in the form of King Henry 1 who gave the ruined monastery and lands to help fund Reading Abbey which he founded to in 1121 to say masses for him and his family.
 
Leominster Priory was brought back to life in 1123 with a community of Benedictine monks installed under the supervision of Richard, Bishop of Hereford. Repair of the monastic buildings and rebuilding of the church began in 1124. The restored Roman Catholic community was fully operational by 1139.
 
Leominster Priory fell victim to the Dissolution in 1539 and was granted to the bailiffs and burgesses of Leominster. After the turbulent and bloody period of religious division, a failed attempt at Commonwealth Government and the return of the Monarchy in 1660, the Priory Church was refurbished as the Church of England Parish Church.
 
Contact & Further Information
Leominster Church of England Team Ministry Office
Forbury Chapel, Church Street, Leominster HR6 8NH
(Run by volunteers, normally open weekdays: 09:30 to 13:00) 
 
Telephone   +44 (0)156 8612 124
Mail   This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Website   Leominster Priory     External Link
 
Getting There 
- By Car
Leominster is on the A49 between Hereford and Ludlow, and the A44 between Worcester and Aberystwyth (Wales).
 
There is no parking at the church. Park in the town centre car parks and follow the signs to Priory Church.
 
- By Rail
Leominster Station (½ mile/800 metres). For train timetables, fares and ticketing go to Web:  National Rail Enquiries    External Link
 
- By Bus
Town Centre Bus Station is ½ mile (800 metres) from Leominster Priory
 
Google Maps - Leominster Priory