Free open days at Wilmington Priory

WILMINGTON Priory is offering people the chance to go behind the scenes during a weekend of open days.

Starting on Friday (September 7) and running until Tuesday, the events are being held as part of a nationwide week of heritage open days.

Members of the public will be able to head down until Monday between 10am and 4pm and then on Tuesday between 10am and 1pm.

The Priory, which is kept by the Landmark Trust, dates back to the 13th Century and organisers of the open days hope they will provide locals with the chance to see inside what is generally regarded as an important local building while giving visitors the chance to learn more about its history.

The structure has been added to and altered over the centuries, with some of it lost to ruin and decay. What remains now, following extensive restoration work, shows how important it must once have been. There are ruined walls, an underground crypt and an ancient roof structure open to the trusses. Restoration of the building was completed in 2000.

Wilmington Priory was founded by Herluin de Conteville and his wife Arlette, the mother of William the Conqueror, a fact which lent it considerable prestige. It was never a conventional priory with cloister and chapter. The monks prayed in the adjoining parish church.