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The Fratry Project

The Fratry Project Appeal: Bringing untold stories to life

Carlisle Cathedral has great stories to tell.

Do you know why one of the swords which was used to kill Thomas Becket was displayed in Carlisle Cathedral?

Why were five bays of the Cathedral nave pulled down in 1649?

Were Jacobites really imprisoned in the Cathedral as they awaited trial in 1747?

Is it true that Walter Scott was married in the Cathedral?

Life in this city, on the border with Scotland, was never dull and we want to tell these and many other stories of faith, hope and love on the frontier. We want to tell them better – and to everyone. The Fratry Project has been shaped to help us do this.


As part of the fundraising for the Fratry Project Appeal a Sponsor a Book scheme was launched on Saturday 14 September.  Please see the Sponsor a Book page for further details.

What is the Fratry?

We want to tell the Cathedral’s great stories better. The Fratry building at the heart of the Cathedral precinct will be the hub for this new work.

The main floor of the Fratry was the dining hall for the monks of the medieval Priory. Its Undercroft now houses the popular Prior’s Kitchen restaurant. But access to this wonderful building has always been hard for anyone who finds stairs difficult.

At last plans have been developed which give easy access to both floors of the building. Both floors will be re-fitted. The main floor will be equipped for learning activity and more space will be available for catering in the Undercroft. A new “cloister room” will help us welcome our visitors more easily and there will be much more accessible toilet provision.

Raising the money we need

We have been fortunate to receive a grant of £82,000 to develop our plans for the educational work we want to do and for the Fratry building in which a lot of it will happen. We are already working towards applying for a “Delivery Grant” from the Heritage Lottery Fund of £910,000 in 2013.

Crucially, we also need to raise our part of the additional funds that will be needed. Over and above the Heritage Lottery Fund grants, we need to raise, in all, almost £1 million. It sounds a lot but we believe the project will do great things and hope that many people will see this as a once in a generation opportunity to develop our work and help secure the future of one of the most important historic buildings in Cumbria. We already have major financial support promised from the Cathedral Chapter and the Friends of Carlisle Cathedral which means we are almost half way there. But we need your help.

How can I help?

We know that many people in Carlisle, across Cumbria and beyond love the Cathedral. We hope you will see this as a “once in a generation” project and as an opportunity we must not miss.

Will you help us make our hopes into a reality?

To find out more, please use the contact details below to get in touch, or download a donation and gift aid form available from the PDF Downloads section on this page.

Thank you.

The Project Administrator
The Fratry Project, Carlisle Cathedral Office
7 The Abbey, Carlisle CA3 8TZ
01228 548107 or email

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