September 2015


newsletter september 2015



Friends’ and Parish Day-Pilgrimage to Bridlington Priory



The second and last Friends’ and Parish day-pilgrimage of this year is planned for Saturday 3rd October 2015. The destination is Bridlington Priory. For details and a return slip for signing up (urgent!) see the accompanying sheet.


Why Bridlington Priory? In 1113 a house of Augustinian canons was founded at Bridlington. These canons were monks living under the authority of a prior, and observing the Rule of St Augustine (written c. AD 400).  Augustine (354–430) was Bishop of Hippo Regius (modern-day Annaba, Algeria) - and is not to be confused with Augustine of Canterbury. As it was developed by the 12th century, his Rule differed from the widely observed Rule of St Benedict (which, in principle, required monks to remain within the enclosure of their monastery) in that it provided for the canons to go out from their priory into the lay community - particularly in order to provide priests who would serve in the growing number of parish churches around the country. Priories such as Bridlington would acquire churches and their estates, from which they could draw tithes and other income in return for pastoral care and evangelising. From the outset, Bridlington was also generously endowed with lands and gifts and was therefore able quickly to establish daughter houses. One of these daughter houses was Newburgh Priory near Coxwold, founded 1145 - and for nearly 400 years (until the Dissolution of the Monasteries, 1536-39) Newburgh Priory owned the living of St Gregory’s Minster in Kirkdale, and provided its priests. The fact is recorded on the Incumbents’ Board in St Gregory’s, but rarely, if ever, do we stop to think that for four centuries the values and precepts of St Augustine influenced spiritual life in Kirkdale  Thus, not one but two great Fathers of the Church, Augustine and Gregory, have been particularly honoured there over the centuries.  Gregory’s day is still kept - with the Patronal Festival in September. Two bits of information in case anyone should feel like launching a petition for reviving the celebration of St Augustine: his feast day is August 28th; and he is the patron saint of brewers - “because of his conversion from a former life of loose living, which included parties, entertainment, and worldly ambitions” says the website Catholic Online. Meanwhile, in our pilgrimage, we make a respectful nod in recognition of the spiritual impulse which came out from Bridlington Priory to Newburgh Priory to St Gregory’s Minster in Kirkdale.

The Friends’ Gate

In the most recent Newsletter (August 2015), as an aside to my comments on the ‘reinterment’ grave and mulberry tree in their corner of the ‘new’ churchyard, I mentioned how nice it would be to restore the gate at that spot, which people are discouraged from using at present because it needs overhauling. The Trustees felt, with regret, that this was an expense we should hesitate to take on while other much bigger and more expensive projects were making considerable inroads into the Friends’ reserves. Hardly had the Newsletter gone forth when several Friends contacted us, sending or promising gifts to enable the restoration of the gate to go ahead. How well it speaks of the attachment and commitment of St Gregory’s Friends, and how encouraging it is to the Trustees, when such generous gestures come directly and spontaneously from individuals. I have informally approached the Vicar and the JCC to establish whether a restoration of the gate would be an acceptable gift from the Friends to the Minster. They have welcomed the idea.

The Trustees have not yet met to take stock of the changed situation and make a formal decision on the matter. If the proposal goes ahead it will most likely require the granting of a Faculty from the Diocese. These are therefore early days in which to be discussing detail. But my personal hope is that the gateway will be restored and that it might be known as The Friends’ Gate; and I hope we might also consider the option of siting a plaque on or near the gate, recording the names of those to whose memory donors might wish to dedicate their gifts. Meanwhile, on behalf of the Trustees, I send sincere thanks to those Friends who have so far given thus much support.

The Trustees

At the Annual General Meeting in May two long-standing Trustees retired and one new Trustee was elected. Both Mrs Judy Plummer and Mr Bill Smith, who retired, had given long service to the Friends. Bill brought with him much relevant experience from his previous position at Beverley Minster and was at home in financial matters such as some of us find rather more difficult to fathom. Judy, as a local resident much involved in the cultural life of Ryedale and a stalwart member of the church choir, has always been a good sounding-board when new initiatives have been under discussion: one legacy of her Trusteeship is the mulberry tree she proposed and chose, to mark the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee. We thank them both most warmly for all they have given to the work of the Trustees.

The new Trustee is Professor Bill Sheils, Emeritus Professor of History in the University of York. He brings various precisely relevant qualifications to his Trusteeship and has a long-standing familiarity with and affection for St Gregory’s Minster.

Please do join with us on the visit to Bridlington. Saturday 3rd October. To sign up, please send in your return slip now.

With all good wishes,

Sid Bradley

on behalf of the Trustees


The Trustees: Mrs Heather Harris (Chairman); Mrs Margery Roberts (Honorary Secretary); Mrs Diana Pearce (Honorary Treasurer); Reverend Susan Binks; Professor Sid Bradley; Mr Bob Chapple; Mrs Erica Dineen; Mr James Lloyd; Mr Gordon Mellor and Mr John Turner.  “The Friends of St Gregory’s Minster” is a charity registered with the Charity Commission, Charity Number 700344.