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The Fratry

The Fratry 2019

A new chapter in our 900-year history is taking shape as we work to bring the Fratry building back to life - the most significant development at Carlisle Cathedral in living memory.

This vital work will realise the Cathedral’s vision to be a place of discovery, celebration, challenge and opportunity, bringing the building into full use by creating spaces for teaching and learning, cultural activity and use by the community. 

Fratry work has been made possible by funding from the Friends of Carlisle Cathedral, grant-making trusts, generous donations by members of the public, Cathedral activity and a major contribution of £2m from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF).

Architect: Feilden Fowles
Contractor: Cubby Construction

Project Manager: FWP Group
Consultants: Buttress
Structural Engineer: Structure Workshop
Services Engineer: BCA

How Can I Help?

The Fratry Project is going ahead with real purpose and skill thanks to the hard work of all the Cathedral staff and our volunteers, and to the exceptional Project Team.  Fantastic generosity underlies all that we have been able to do so far.  This generosity means that 95% of project funding is in place - but we still need help to find the final 5%.  The Carlisle Cathedral Development Trust is launching the final phase of its fundraising activity with a target of £178,000.

We hope you will join us in supporting this significant development, not only for the Cathedral but for the city and county.
We have been overwhelmed by the support so far - thank you.

If you would like to help us reach our final target, please donate today.
You can do so online now using the button on this page, o
r send a cheque to:

The Project Administrator,
The Fratry Project, Carlisle Cathedral Office,
7 The Abbey, Carlisle CA3 8TZ

Thank you to everyone who has supprted and contributed so far.

What is the Fratry?

In mediaeval times the Fratry building was the dining hall of the Cathedral Priory. Over the intervening 800-or-so years it has been used as a kitchen, a place of worship, an arsenal for the King's Army, a Civil War storeroom, a chapter house, a brewery and granary, a barn and a library.

Our project aims to bring this hugely under-used building back-to-life, with a world-class education and events space at the heart of the Cathedral precinct. The Fratry and Undercroft will be a cultural hub and Carlisle's newest-oldest exhibition and events space, with a brand new café and meeting point created alongside. The project realises our vision for the Cathedral as a place of discovery, celebration and challenge.

Latest News and Timeline

If you've paid us a visit recently you might have wondered what this framewrok was all about.  No, we're not recreating the Blackpool Tower... The next step for the team at Cubby's Construction is to return the arched Fratry doorway back to its original position. Looking after the historic building is a priority so you'll see this support structure in place while this work goes on - it'll be removed once this part of the work is complete.

The history of the doorway is reflective of the Fratry's own hotchpotch heritage... in John Bellamy's model of 1860 you can see a central staircase, doorway and windows which were added in 1699, with Sir Robert Smirke's doorway of 1811 on the right. These were all blocked in or removed in a major refurb by G. E. Street in 1880, which also included the addition of a porch and the repositioning of the doorway to face 'inwards' where the ornate decoration could be better seen.

When this piece of work is complete the doorway will once again face the 'right way', and will serve as the main entrance to the Fratry Hall.

Locharbriggs Sandstone

The attention to detail is key to all decisions made for the project and this is demonstrated by the choices of materials made for al aspects of the projects.  The elevations of the new pavilion are inspired by the surrounding arches and by the refinement of the perpendicular Gothic tracery. Feilden Fowles Architects and Carlisle Cathedral chose a local red sandstone which would complement the colour of the stones used on the Fratry and Cathedral. The chosen stone is called Locharbriggs and is quarried on the outskirts of Dumfries.

Locharbriggs stone has been quarried for over 100 years and has been used in building projects across the UK, and also in the steps at the Statue of Liberty in New York.  Sitting in the footprint of the original cloisters, we're sure the sandstone arches will sit beautifully alongside the Fratry and Cathedral.

"Coins and bones found at site of Fratry development", by Pam McClounie [News and Star, March 2019]

"Work on Carlisle Fratry hits a milestone", by Kris Tatum [News and Star, February 2019]

"Work starts on Carlisle Cathedral's Fratry project", by Pam McClounie [News and Star, December 2018]

"Cycling vicar on a mission to raise funds for cathedral fratry", by Maureen Hodges [News and Star, May 2017]

"FWP engaged on Carlisle Cathedral project." [Place North West, July 2017]

"Feilden Fowles to transform Carlisle Fratry", by Nick Myall [World Architecture News, February 2017]