Address: River Wear, Durham
Opening hours: It has been mentioned that the site has an automated barrier. So, you should follow the visiting hours of 10:00 am to 5:00 pm. The site is open daily except for the Christmas and New Year holidays. The schedule beyond March 28, 2013 has not yet been given. For those who would like to visit sooner, however, it is safe to say that the above given schedule is in effect.
Contact: Telephone +44 0191 386 3828
Even if a structure has left only ruins, its history and its ambiance can provide it with an importance that transcends centuries. English Heritage has a way of picking the right sites even when what is left may initially seem like mere rubble.
Finchale Priory was built during the 13th century and was run by the Benedictines. You can find its remains near the River Wear, which is a mere four miles from Durham. It was given a Grade I as a listed building.
The priory was named after Godric of Finchale, who was buried by the 12th century St. John the Baptist chapel on the site. Some of the chapel’s remains could still be found. Some temporary buildings of the priory are still there, as well. The complex was built by the 13th century’s latter half. There were some changes and additions made for the next three hundred years.
If you look closely, you will see that it was not just the priory’s history that attracted the English Heritage. You will the intricate details on the columns. On the south wall, you can find two carved seats and a double piscina. There is true art here.
As mentioned earlier, the English Heritage is managing Finchale Priory and its surrounding grounds. Nearby grounds have been transformed into what is called the Finchale Abbey Caravan Park, which is an eco-village project that had won awards.
One of the interesting things about the priory ‘s current state is that it manages to merge the old with the new. The buildings themselves remind you of the isolation and the sanctity of a Medieval priory while the nearby caravan site has most modern comforts available. There is also another reminder of modernization, an automated barrier that closes the site at 5:30 pm.
It has been mentioned that the site has an automated barrier. So, you should follow the visiting hours of 10:00 am to 5:00 pm. The site is open daily except for the Christmas and New Year holidays. The schedule beyond March 28, 2013 has not yet been given. For those who would like to visit sooner, however, it is safe to say that the above given schedule is in effect.
Visit Finchale Priory to imagine what it would be like to go back in time. Only ruins had been left. So, there is no real opportunity to immerse in priory life but it simply is a great chance to experience the melding of old and new.