Think of Bridlington and traditional images of the seaside spring to mind; walks along the sand, ice creams and promenades. While Bridlington offers all of this, there is also a hidden side to Bridlington, one that sits quietly right under the nose of most tourists and visitors, waiting to be discovered.
The rich history of Bridlington comes from its medieval past, and in particular, the Priory Church of St Mary, tucked away on Church Green. An Augustine monastery – one of the largest boasted by the order – the structure dates to 1113, and was considered one of the great monastic houses of England. The site which remains would have been approximately half of the size of the original, which would have rivalled Selby Abbey in terms of stature and grandeur. In addition to the church, the structure would have included a variety of monastic buildings including cloisters, dormitories, a Chapter House, infirmary and Priory Hall. All aspects of life would have taken place within the walls, with prayer a central focus to the day.
Built by Walter De Grant as a site for his foundation, the history is tumultuous. During the reign of King Stephen, the Priory is said to have come under siege, while also acquiring great wealth and riches, gaining authority over the port and harbour, a licence to hold a market once a week, and a two day fair. Despite its reputation as a centre of prayer and worship, misbehaviour appears to have been common, with Canons found to be malingering or even absent from their duties! Land and wealth were expressed through the building of the large church, which took 300 years to complete. During the Reformation, King Henry VIII dissolved the monasteries and turned the site into a hub for culture, producing historians, writers and even alchemists.
The history of the Priory is a rich and lively one, best experienced with your own eyes, ears and senses. See a different side to Bridlington this summer, take a detour from the well-worn track, and step back in time with a visit to the Priory Church. After you’ve experienced this newly unhidden gem, head back to your cottage to continue enjoying your stay with Bridlington Holiday Cottages.