Hover over or click on the images below to go on your own faith tour of Bridlington Priory.
The ALTAR is like a table and is the most holy part of the church. It is at the east end of the Priory and is higher than the rest of church so that everyone can see it. Altars were once made of stone and the old one from the Priory is set in the floor under the present altar. Now our altar is made of wood and is always covered by beautiful cloths except on Good Friday when it is bare. That is the day when we remember how Jesus was put to death on a cross.
In the service of HOLY COMMUNION, we kneel at the ALTAR RAIL to receive bread and wine. The bread and wine remind us of Jesus’ body and blood. We ask God to guide us and to bring Jesus’ message of hope and love to everyone.
The FONT is like a big bowl made of marble which holds the water used for BAPTISM. We believe that when babies, children or adults come to church to be baptised they are made clean and ready to start on their journey to God. Their parents and Godparents promise that they will bring them up knowing about God and Jesus and how God loves everyone of us. This big font isn’t used any more in the Priory. Instead we use a small stone bowl which was used in the canons’ day. The Rector makes the sign of a cross on the child’s or adult’s head with the water which has been blessed in the Font.
The LECTERN is a stand to hold the BIBLE. It is made of brass in the shape of an EAGLE with outstretched wings. The Bible is on the eagle’s back to stand for the words of God being carried on wings to all the world.
In all the services in the Priory someone reads some verses from the Bible so that we can know more about God, how he wants us to live and the promises he has made to us.
Organ and Choir
We believe that it is good to make music and sing praises to God. Our ORGAN has over 4000 pipes of all different sizes which make high and low sounds. The organists use their hands to play 4 keyboards and their feet to play the pedal notes.
The CHOIR at the Priory sing beautiful music. Our choir is made up of about 50 men, women and boys. They practise twice during the week and before the services. They wear special clothes – a red cassock, a white surplice with a white ruff collar for the boys, and an amice for the adults. The music they sing is always about God and people or events from the Bible.
Photo © Nicholson and Co. All rights reserved.
The seats in the Priory are fixed benches called PEWS. Once there were no seats in churches and the people who came to worship God, the CONGREGATION, stood or knelt. Look out for the stone benches on the north side of church. This is where the old or ill people would sit. From this comes the saying, “The weakest go to the wall”.
Photo © Richard 1110 via Flickr. All rights reserved.
STALLS are fixed seats where the clergy or the choir sit.
Look out for the MISERICORDS which are hinged tip-up seats. If you lift one up you can see a carving. When church services were very long the priests or canons who were old or ill could rest on them instead of having to stand up all the time. There are two misericords in the Priory – one in the Rector’s stall and one next to it. Look for the carvings of a smiling face and an angel.
Most of the STAINED GLASS WINDOWS at the Priory show scenes from the Bible. These used to help teach people about Christianity in the days when most people couldn’t read.
The window above this card shows three important Priors – St John of Bridlington, Robert the Scribe and George Ripley the Alchemist.
The PRIOR was the leader of the canons. The last Prior of Bridlington was WILLIAM WODE. He didn’t agree with King Henry VIII and was hanged in 1538. Look for the list of Priors on the pillar nearest to the entrance.
The Priory used to be lit by CANDLES in the days before electric lights. CHRISTIANS also use candles to remind us that JESUS CHRIST is the Light of the World.
A candle is also given to anyone who has been baptised. This encourages us to be like lights in the dark, showing the path to God.
Photo © David Cooper Blacksmiths. All rights reserved.
St John of Bridlington
St John was born in a village near Bridlington called Thwing. He came here to be an Augustinian canon in about 1340 and eventually became the leader or PRIOR. He was a very kind and caring man who tried to treat other people the way Jesus said we should. He also loved music and liked to have musicians at the Priory.
Everyone loved Prior John and he even performed miracles like saving some sailors who were nearly drowning. After he died he was made a saint. We believe St. John is in heaven, together with all the other saints and everyone who has died believing in God.
We mention St John of Bridlington and St Mary in our prayers because the Priory is really dedicated to St Mary who is Jesus’ mother.
The hangings on the ALTAR and the PULPIT FALL are always in certain colours depending on the time of year. These are the LITURGIAL colours:
PURPLE is the colour of penitence (or being sorry for doing wrong). It is used at Advent —4 weeks before Christmas and at Lent— 40 days before Easter.
WHITE is the festival colour and is used for Christmas, Epiphany, Easter and Ascension.
RED is the colour of fire and blood and is used at Pentecost to remind us of the coming of the Holy Spirit to Jesus’ disciples like tongues of flame.
GREEN is the colour of nature and is used for the season of Trinity. The Trinity season lasts for about half the year and at the Priory we often use a patterned cloth.