BRIDLINGTON Priory’s 900th anniversary celebrations have been boosted after receiving a grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund.
Priory 900 will receive £36,400 under the Your Heritage grant programme, to help mark the 900th anniversary of the foundation of Bridlington Priory as a house of Augustinian Canons in 2013.
Under the banner ‘Celebrating the Journey’, the festival programme has been designed to encourage and enable the public, in Bridlington and beyond, to explore and appreciate the heritage of the Priory and its significance for the town.
Penelope Weston, co-ordinator for Priory 900, said: “We are absolutely delighted that our application has been successful. This will make it possible for us to realise our goal of including as many people as possible in this celebration – to bring together their journeys and the Priory’s journey over time.
“It is only occasionally that a town or city can claim special attention as the celebration of a particular anniversary brings it into sharp focus.
“The anniversary provides the town with the opportunity ‘to claim the limelight’ for a year, celebrate the magnificent landmark of Bridlington Priory and find out about how it has shaped the town, in the past and present, and how it can enhance its future.”
The Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) grant supports a wide range of heritage-related activities within the Priory 900 programme, which aim to get the community and visitors involved in the celebrations.
Activities will include heritage craft workshops, exploration of the monastic site, a heritage conference, school activities and a project to invite the public to share their own family and local history.
There will also be an exhibition and book on the life of St John of Bridlington – the last person to be made a saint in this country before the Reformation – and a pilgrimage re-enactment to the shrine of St John, from York and from Beverley.
Fiona Spiers, Head of HLF Yorkshire and the Humber, said: “It is not often that a community gets to celebrate the 900th anniversary of a local landmark. Bridlington Priory is a fantastic building that deserves to be enjoyed by everyone.
“Priory 900 will inspire and build on local enthusiasm to celebrate and share the fascinating history of the Priory and the wider town.”
Many local partners have already pledged their involvement, including the Bridlington Free Press, East Riding of Yorkshire Council, the RSPB, Bridlington U3A and Bay Primary School who all provided letters of support for the HLF application.
Coun Richard Burton, East Riding of Yorkshire Council portfolio holder for civic wellbeing and culture and councillor for Bridlington Old Town and Central Ward, said: “This is an excellent start to what will be an exciting year in the history of Bridlington Priory.
The HLF grant will really make a difference to the way that people can get involved in the events and activities that are planned.
“I would like to congratulate the Priory 900 team of volunteers on this achievement, which recognises all their hard work so far.
“I hope that this will be a year that really puts Bridlington Priory on the map, not only within the town, but much farther afield, as it really is a spectacular heritage attraction to be proud of.”
Organisers say a key aim of the programme is to record the anniversary activities online to create an ongoing living history archive for Bridlington.
The HLF support for the project will enable a wide range of people from the community to be involved in both the development of the programme, and the actual activities themselves.
This will enable Bridlington residents, and its visitors, to continue to explore and experience the history of Bridlington through the Priory.