The Priory Plan

NOTE: Major surveys of the stained glass and stonework were conducted in 2016 and the Priory Plan is being updated to reflect the findings of these surveys. A new version is expected 2017Q1.

There have been quite a few major re-furbishments of Great Malvern Priory over the past 900 years. The time now seems right for refreshing the Priory, and also reconnecting it to the town (it is rather lost behind many trees) and of course resourcing it for the future. Work has begun on defining a project to do this and the first version of The Priory Plan is now availble.

The Priory Plan is a "conservation management plan" for Great Malvern Priory, outlining what is important and significant about the building and what our objectives are for any development work. It is a formal document but contains a wealth of information about the building, its history and its current use.

See below for some introductory remarks extracted from the document, but please do download The Priory Plan here (PDF).

Extract from the Executive summary

Great Malvern Priory is one of the finest historic parish churches not only in Worcestershire, but in England. Its exceptional architectural, art historical, archaeological, and historic importance is recognised in its Grade I listing. The church should however not be seen as an isolated historical monument, but understood within its wider human and natural environment, and as an asset for the local and wider community.

With this in mind, this document has been compiled in order to act as a catalyst for developing the church building as a community and cultural asset as well as a place of worship and contemplation... The Priory Plan gives the parameters in which this can happen...

Message from the Parochial Church Council (PCC) 

Great Malvern Priory is one of forty-four Greater Churches in England. There has been a worshipping Christian community at Great Malvern for over 900 years, perhaps even before the founding of the Priory in 1085. The church was from the beginning fully integrated into the life of the local community that grew up around it. 

Although worship is the primary purpose of the building, our Benedictine foundations also emphasise the importance of welcome and hospitality as a witness to God’s love. 

The present church community is seeking to fulfil these roles in the context of a rapidly changing society. We aim to see the Priory flourishing as an integral part of the life of the local community, not only as a place for worship and quiet reflection, but also as an educational and cultural venue. Visitors often comment on the atmosphere of peace, and the beauty of the Priory, but there are aspects of the building that bear witness to the fact that it is over 150 years since the last major re-modelling. We want to refresh this valuable heritage for future generations, while increasing access to it for everyone to use and enjoy. There is also the opportunity to make a substantial contribution to the economic regeneration of the town by opening up parts of the churchyard and enhancing the presence of the Priory in the town. 

The Priory is one of the major parish churches of England and the challenge of maintaining such a large and historic building as a place of worship and community resource is enormous. Although much has already been achieved, work is still needed to update the building and the churchyard appropriately for 21st century needs and expectations. 

This Conservation Management Plan is a timely and vital document. It sets the scene and provides an authoritative context for any development work. The PCC sees this as an opportune time to refresh the building for the future, bringing it up to modern standards. This will support more diverse styles of Christian worship, and better equip the Priory to provide hospitality to visitors and a facility for the local community. There is a need also to resource the building so that it can tell its story – one of many centuries of prayer and service, reflecting the love of God to local people and visitors alike. 

The PCC would like to thank the many groups and individuals who have contributed to this document including church groups, town groups and the Diocesan Advisory Committee. Special thanks also are due to Dr Joseph Elders of the Church Buildings Council for all his hard work in helping to produce the Conservation Management Plan. 

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