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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

Stone cutting: Cumbrian Stone

Stone installation : Askins + Little
Windows, doors, curtain walling: Martec Engineering
Bronze structure : Victoria John of London
M&E installations : JJ Group


Can you help us reach our final target - only £100,000 to go!

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. We hope you will join us in supporting this significant development and ambitious transformation, 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 (above), donate in person on your next visit, 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 supported 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

The Pavilion Café takes shape...

Over the summer lead contractor Cubby's, working with our many sub-contractors, have made significant progress and visitors will now be ableto see the stunning new p[avilion café coming to life.  In July the framework was put in place and we have now completed the construction of the elevated arches, which are looking magnificent.

Visitors can now see how the design of the new-build part of the project sits in the footprint of the original west side of the Cathedral cloisters. The arches, made from sandstone quarried in south-west Scotland and cut into shape here in Cumbria by Cumbrian Stone, perfectly complement the precinct buildings, with towering floor to ceiling windows offering a complete 360° of the Cathedral close.



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.

Welcome to Sarah - Head of Heritage Learning

The Cathedral is pleased to announce that we have appointed Sarah Cameron as our new Head of Heritage Learning. We are in an exciting period of change; part of our £3.5million partner funded HLF Fratry project is a new, dedicated learning space and this new post. Sarah will be helping to deliver a vibrant, compelling and lively learning offer to schools, families, universities, local communities and the many visitors we welcome to the Cathedral.

The Fratry Undercroft is being converted into our bespoke learning centre where Sarah will be programming a range of activities for learners of all ages.