Saint Bees

St Bees is a historic town on the west coast of Cumbria, on the Irish Sea.

St Bees is a popular holiday destination due to the coastline and proximity to the Western Lake District. In the village there is the Norman St Bees Priory dating from 1120, and St Bees School founded in 1583. The Wainwright Coast to Coast Walk starts from St Bees and the National Trail, the England Coast Path, runs along the coast. The village is served by the Cumbrian Coast Railway.

The priory had a great influence on the area. The monks worked the land, fished, and extended the priory buildings. The ecclesiastical parish of St Bees was large and stretched to Ennerdale, Loweswater, Wasdale and Eskdale. The coffin routes from these outlying areas to the mother church in St Bees can still be followed in places.

The priory was closed during the Dissolution of the Monasteries on the orders of Henry VIII in 1539. The nave and transepts of the monastic church have continued in use as the parish church to the present day, but much of the extensive monastic buildings were plundered or fell into decay.

St Bees, from Outrigg
St Bees, from Outrigg

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