Plea for people to book church at restored Dominican priory

Hawkesyard Priory in Armitage, Staffordshire, served in the past as a Roman Catholic conference centre, with the hall, church and grounds owned by the Dominican Order, but had closed in the early 1990s after falling into disrepair.

Now, after restoration work helped revive the priory thanks to a nursing home on the grounds of the friars’ living quarters and the establishment of the estate as a wedding and events venue, the new owners are keen to keep the historic name of the Priory Church of St Thomas going.

The organ inside the Priory Church of St Thomas

William Forrester and Jo Coles took over the priory on June 26 and William said they felt the church needed to be used on a more regular basis by the public.

He said: “We felt a moral burden to open up the church for the public to use on a more regular basis.

“It is a church that holds a lot of history as it was owned by the monks and they hand-carved a lot of the church.

Hawkesyard Priory Nursing home owner William Forrester inside the Priory Church of St Thomas
Hawkesyard Priory Nursing home owner William Forrester outside the Priory Church of St Thomas

“We want to encourage more interest in the church in the area and, as a result, ensure it is used for weddings and other services.”

Work is continuing on the church, which has been used by all diocesan bishops of the Old Catholic Church in the United Kingdom as their provincial cathedral, with a new boiler being installed in August.

Mr Forrester with resident Michael Hall, nursing assistant Lucy Bates and care worker Carina Jenkins

For more information and bookings, visit

All images credited to: Express And Star

Written by: James Vukmirovic |

First published 29.07.19:

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