Laying Ghosts At Lanercost

Laying Ghosts At Lanercost

Sometimes you receive information, or news, that literally stops you in your tracks – and you see with a clarity unavailable to you moments before. It’s as if you’ve lifted a blindfold. Everything you thought you knew can now be seen in a new context. Some days are like that.


Rocked on my heels by this particular revelation – the view through the newly wiped windscreen of my mind was not pleasant. Now my very recent visit to Hadrians Wall could be viewed from this new ‘context’; altering it’s complexion altogether. So when Wednesday dawned with exceptional beauty after several days of wet weather, I resolved not to lose sight of the real pleasure I had gained from the trip. I would visit the area again, now.

For the sake of the future, I would return to the past and create new memories from the context of my long-held fascination with, and connection to, this romantic, wild place. Alone, this time, but for my imagination.

2014-10-30 16.21.03

En route to Hadrian’s Wall, I had often passed signs to Lanercost without seeing the famous Priory, in it’s wonderful river setting – so with that in mind as my ultimate destination, I set off doing what I love best. Driving, on a clear day, with boots, camera and sketchbook. It was a little strange heading east so soon after the last trip. But hey, ‘strange’ is just another context after all.


Lanercost is very close to Brampton, so I was able to call in and grab some useful info’ from the information centre, shown above. Via the butcher, Cranstons, for the ingredients of tonight’s supper with the girlfriends.. and of course the obligatory coffee and pecan tart. The latter being the best I’ve ever tasted. Family run cafe. Nice family.


The priory church at Lanercost is adjoined by the Dacre Tower, flanked by numerous outbuildings in which you can now stay, plus a nearby farmhouse offering bed and breakfast. The whole complex has been restored to a magnificent level ..and appeared so perfect in the afternoon sunlight that it could almost have been a dream.


Lanercost Priory has so many famous features and contributors (amongst these the illustrious Edward Burne-Jones and William Morris) to it’s design and architecture that it deserves a post of it’s own another time. I could feel the presence of the generations of family and worshippers. Not least the love and loss of two young soldiers, sons of the Earl Howard whose family owned and lived at Lanercost at one time. His gravestone is placed, not in some grand tomb, but – movingly – under a tree near the main gate. Where his ghost must enjoy as glorious a view as we visitors do now.


Turns out it wasn’t necessary to revisit Hadrian’s Wall itself, this time. Or even the past. The past is the past – that’s all there is to it. My first visit to Lanercost laid the ghosts out flat. Who can be sad in the presence of such beauty?

On the way home I found a wonderful country inn with accommodation very close by the Abbey Bridge. I can’t wait to walk over that bridge once more, and along the river, renewed.


Laying Ghosts At Lanercost


About largelyhelen

Designer, photographer, writer.
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2 Responses to Laying Ghosts At Lanercost

  1. It was where the Battle of Bannockburn was written down from the English viewpoint in the Lanercost Chronicle

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