Gilbert de Mouse’s Fact of the Fortnight - Archive

Here is an archive of all Gilbert de Mouse’s Priory 900 ‘fortnightly facts’. Check here for any updates you may have missed!

Don’t forget you can also ask Gilbert your own questions! He is happy to tell you what he knows about Bridlington Priory, about the Priory 900 festival, and even about his life as a church mouse! Pay a visit to Gilbert’s Corner today.


The famous alchemist and author George Ripley was the ‘Canon of Bridlington’ in the 15th century.

  • Do you know what alchemy is?

  • Did you know that you can dress up as an Augustinian Canon when you visit the Priory? It’s a shame there isn’t a mouse-sized version of the costume, because it looks like fun!

  • Follow this link to read more about George Ripley.

Since the dissolution of the Priory in the 16th century, much of the original stone has been re-used in buildings in the High Street, Westgate and Market Place, particularly in the cellars.

  • We mice love cellars – they’re quiet places where we can think.

  • Why did King Henry VIII close down all the monasteries? (Hint: you can find the answer here!)

  • Bring your family and friends to Priory Visions on 18th May! You’ll find out more about the Dissolution and other key moments in the Priory’s history.


The canons (monks) owned many farms in the area, and employed local people to run them. The produce was stored in the Great Barn at the top end of High Green.

  • What was the main crop grown on the Priory’s grange, and what did they make with it? (hint: it’s something I find very tasty, and you can find the answer here!)

  • What kind of goods could be purchased from the Saturday Market? If you and your family visit the Priory Church Green for the Summer Fayre this year, you might be able to find out for yourself!

In the Middle Ages, many plants were used for cooking and for healing. People knew all the plants growing in their plots, fields and hedges, and valued them for their use in day-to-day life.

  • The most valued plants would often acquire a connection with a saint. In the Priory churchyard, you will find many plants associated with St Mary (‘Our Lady’), who our church is dedicated to.

  • Many common culinary herbs have links to St Mary. Parsley was known as ‘Our Lady’s Little Vine’, sage as ‘Mary’s Shawl’ – and they both taste delicious, too. Take a walk in the churchyard and see if you can find them!


It is believed that composer Albert Ketelbey’s ‘In a Monastery Garden’ and ‘Bells across the Meadow’ were inspired by a visit to Bridlington Priory Church.

  • In Music Masterpieces, Part 12, 18 March 1926, page 183, Ketelbey wrote: “When I was writing ‘In a Monastery Garden’, one of my most popular compositions, I was for the time being an imaginary monk.”

  • What do you think life would have been like for a canon (monk) at Bridlington Priory? Write your thoughts in a diary entry – or even compose your own piece of music. I would try this myself, but it would just be a lot of squeaking!

Bridlington Priory had its very own seal. Seals were impressed into sealing wax to authorise documents, and were the medieval equivalent of a signature.

  • I sign my letters with a paw print – though I don’t use sealing wax as it would be very sticky!

  • What shape were the seals used by ecclesiastical organizations such as the Priory? Which figure appears on the Priory’s seal? (Hint: you can find the answers and find out more about seals here!)


Bridlington Priory has had a very dramatic history – not all of it good! Like many other monasteries, it was dissolved and stripped of its wealth in the 16th century under the rule of King Henry VIII.

  • Bridlington Priory’s estimated yearly income was £547, which was a LOT of money. It’s no wonder that Henry VIII and his men wanted to get their paws – I mean hands - on it!

  • What was the name of Bridlington’s last Prior who was tried and executed for his part in the rebellion against Henry VIII (the ‘Pilgrimage of Grace’)? (Hint: you can find the answer and read more about the Dissolution here!)

  • Some of the Priory’s former treasures have appeared in all sorts of places – can you give some examples? What do you treasure the most?

Once ‘John of Bridlington’ was made a saint in the 15th century, people began to make special journeys – also known as pilgrimages - to his shrine at Bridlington Priory.

  • Pilgrims wore a ‘cap badge’, rather like a football strip, to let other people know what kind of pilgrimage they were on. The Priory 900 logo is based on an image that may have been used as a cap badge by those on pilgrimages to Bridlington Priory (you can find out more here).

  • Wouldn’t it be fun to have a go at designing your own cap badge? Mine would include a picture of a big piece of cheese!

  • As part of the Priory 900 celebrations, there will be ‘modern-day’ pilgrimage from York Minster to Bridlington Priory on August 22nd-28th 2013. My little paws won’t carry me that far, but why not get some friends together and give it a go? It will be fun, and good exercise too – and you can choose to do just a little bit of it if you like!

CheeseBridlington Priory was once much bigger than it appears to us today. The Priory we know it is only one section – the ‘nave’ or central part – of the original monastery.

  • The total length of the Priory was originally 122 metres – that’s about 1220 times my size! Squeak!

  • You can find a model of the original Bridlington Priory buildings in our current Priory church (or take a look at the pictures here).

  • What do you think the buildings were used for, and what does tell you about how the Priory’s canons (monks) lived? How do you think their day-to-day life was different from yours?
CheeseSt John of Bridlington, Bridlington’s most famous Prior, was born in 1320 and grew up in the nearby village of Thwing. He was kind and caring, and it is believed that his many of his prayers were answered by miracles.

  • Can you describe one of the famous ‘miracles’ attributed to Prior John that resulted in him being made a saint? (Hint: you can read all about his life here – what an amazing man!)

  • King Henry IV and King Henry V both visited the shrine to St John at Bridlington Priory, but sadly it is no longer there any more.

  • See if you can find the stained glass window featuring St John of Bridlington when you visit the Priory! Visit this page to see what the window looks like, and ask a grown-up for help if you’re not sure.