Church leader strikes a chord

John Sentamu
John Sentamu

The Archbishop of York, Dr John Sentamu, will be in Lancaster this weekend to dedicate a new Pipe Organ at the Priory Church.

His visit marks the culmination of a major development in the Priory, which has seen the installation of the new organ in the most significant change to the building since the construction of the South Entrance and the Regimental Chapel more than a century ago.

The Rev Chris Newlands, Vicar of Lancaster explained that a local tradition tells that the foundation stone of Lancaster Priory was laid by John of Gaunt in around 1360, in a grand ceremony at which the then Archbishop of York presided.

Rev Newlands said: “It is a great privilege to welcome Archbishop Sentamu to Lancaster Priory to dedicate the new Lancaster Priory Organ. T

“here are many remarkable features in the Priory from different centuries of the Priory’s long history.

“We can be proud that our present century has created a fine organ to enhance our worship, and to be a musical resource for the wider community in Lancaster.”

Two historic organs, one from Blackpool, and another from Blackburn, along with a splendid organ case built by Hubert Austin, have been saved from destruction and reworked into a new organ for the Priory by David Wells Organ Builders from Liverpool.

Money was raised through donations, as well as a grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund.

Archbishop Sentamu said: “Augustine of Hippo said ‘God gave us music so that we may pray without words’ and ‘Whoever sings, worships twice’.

“I am delighted to dedicate this new Pipe Organ, to hear its wondrous sounds and to sing joyfully with the choir and congregation at Lancaster Priory.”

Archbishop Sentamu will preside over the dedication of the organ at Lancaster Priory from 6pm on Saturday, September 8.

The event is open to the public and people are asked to be in their seats by 5.45pm.

The dedication is followed by a week of musical events, including on Sunday September 9, a recital by Ian Tracey and on September 15, a concert of Choral and Orchestral Music. See the Priory website for further details.