About us

Dunstable Town Council, Friends of Priory House & Gardens, Dunstable and the Priory Church, have designed range of tours for groups of students to come along and learn more about these important heritage sites.

The visits, which cover various historical periods, can be tailored to the age group of the class and the different venues do not have to be covered on the same day.

Pupils will be involved in a range of activities designed to increase their knowledge and enjoyment of these important sites in Dunstable.

The subjects covered include the following:

The Church – what is a church? The parts of the building and how they are used (eg: altar, font, pulpit etc). Services and sacraments – baptism, marriage and funerals. Festivals – key events -Christmas and Easter – the colours used in church. The people and who does what – clergy, choirs, bell-ringers etc.

History of the Priory – 1131-1540 Augustinian Canons. Henry 1 – close links with the development of the town. Priory was landlord – taxes paid – tithe barn. Influence of the Priory nationally – much land owned in the Midlands, for example. Eleanor Cross, St. Fremund and pilgrimage. Position and responsibilities of a monastic building in a town – eg looking after the poor and sick. Stained glass windows.

Medieval Dunstable – links with the above theme – Monasteries, Canons and Friars, the Black Death, archaeology, Dunstable as a Medieval planned town, tournaments and melees.

Tudors Henry V111 – links with the above theme – his wives and in particular the annulment of his marriage with Catherine of Aragon which took place in the Lady Chapel of the Priory. Dissolution of the monasteries and the effect that would have had on the local area. Tudor wall paintings in Priory House: where they were discovered; when they were painted; how they were produced; what they depict; their conservation and preservation.

Priory Gardens – creation of a Physic Garden reflecting planting in the Medieval and Tudor periods; what the plants were used for. The site of the original Priory buildings, before the Dissolution, marked out in Priory Meadow.

Local Characters – this could be a theme on its own, but is often linked with others: Edward 1 and Eleanor; Prior Bernard and Prior Gervase Markham; John Dunstable; Agnes Fayrey; Cavalier soldiers (bullet holes in doors); Zachary Symms; Edward Alport; Frances Ashton and Jane Cart.

Links with Town – trades people and guilds; wool and the importance of sheep; the markets; travel and transport; War Memorials

Art and Photography – envisaged to be a link with KS4/5 Technology – to be developed.

For further information contact: education@friendsofprioryhouse.co.uk