Priory Visions

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Date(s) - 18/05/2022
2:30 pm - 6:00 pm

Bridlington Priory Church


900 years of Bridlington Priory’s life were represented in dramatic form in a free presentation by Churches Together in Bridlington and the wider community.

Priory Visions provided a feast of entertainment in twelve scenes which encapsulated many aspects of the Priory’s history, particularly in the years before its destruction by Henry VIII in 1538. The audience met King Henry V as he arrived on pilgrimage, the spirit of St John of Bridlington, and a whole cast of historical characters including Priory canons and scribes, fishermen and market traders. Each scene was repeated throughout the afternoon so that the audience could pick up and follow the story at whatever time they arrived, with the opportunity to interact with the characters.

Priory Visions showed how the concerns and priorities of those distant days are not really so very different from our own - and how we all need a vision to live by.

Thank you to all who joined us on the Church Green to make Priory Visions such a special event – and an extra special thank you to the actors, singers and event organisers for all their hard work!

At 6pm the whole company, actors, audience and all, entered the Priory Church for a short presentation and a final celebration, Priory Visions Today.

Priory Visions - Scenes
The audience is taken on a tour of 900 years of the Priory’s history by the spirit of St. John of Bridlington.

SCENE 1 - We are at the founding of the Priory in 1113. Walter de Gant explains how he gave land and how his son, Gilbert, continued to support the Priory. SCENE 2 - The Priory’s fourth Prior, Robert the Scribe, explains how he wrote handwritten holy books before printing in the Priory scriptorium.
SCENE 3 - Two female mediaeval market traders explain how Bridlington was a wealthy market town and describe the goods they sold. SCENE 4 - St. John tells his own story and points out the many remaining features in Bridlington which remind us of him.
SCENE 5 - A peasant woman tells an imaginary tale of how she was helped through a difficult labour by Prior John. SCENE 6 - It is 1421. King Henry V arrives in Bridlington to give thanks at the shrine of St John for his victory at Agincourt.
SCENE 7 - It is 1530. Two Augustinian canons discuss the fears at the Priory, which was under threat from King Henry VIII. SCENE 8 - It is 1540. A peasant couple discuss the dramatic events which have destroyed the Priory.
SCENE 9 - It is 1642. Queen Henrietta Maria, wife of King Charles I, has been blown into Bridlington by storms and unloads the arms she has purchased in the Netherlands into the Priory. SCENE 10 - It is 1700. Wise women explain how the difficulties of the ordinary people are now looked after by women with a knowledge of herbs and traditional folk medicine.
SCENE 11 - Fishermen from two different eras recall a famous miracle of St John and also the Great Gale of 1871, when many victims were buried in the Priory cemetery. SCENE 12 - A resident of the cemetery pops up to tell a tale from St John’s time before directing you to present day displays showing the life of the Priory in 2013.

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