Priory volunteers toast future as they celebrate historic handover Priory volunteers toast future as they celebrate historic handover they celebrate historic handover.
Byline: Mike Brown Reporter firstname.lastname@example.org
VOLUNTEERS who have taken over the running of Gisborough Priory hope to increase visitor numbers at the site.
The Gisborough Priory Project officially took over day-to-day control for the historic site yesterday from English Heritage, and plans to offer free entry on to the site for at least the rest of this year.
Volunteers from the project had already been running the Priory Gardens next to the 896-yearold monument since 2007.
Judith Arber, the group's treasurer, said: "We are delighted to be formally taking over the running of the site. We have been in negotiations with English Heritage for around a year, so it is great for us to have it completed.
"We have been running the site informally for around a month and have already seen around 1,000 visitors, which is a positive start and something we hope to improve upon as the weather gets better."
The Priory will now be free to enter, and will open from March until the end of October, Wednesdays to Sundays and on Bank Holiday Mondays, from 10am until 4pm.
Judith, who works in the learning support department at Prior Pursglove College, joined the Priory Project in 1999 after falling in love with the Priory when she moved to Guisborough in 1993.
She said: "The project will now take over the costs for running the site so we will be asking visitors for a small donation, but we want to keep the entry free so that we can try and attract some people who might not have thought about coming before.
"The Priory is very accessible as it is close to the town centre, but for whatever reason people might not have thought it was for them due to the cost of going in."
The ruined Augustinian Priory was founded in 1119 and became the fourth largest in Yorkshire, reflecting Guisborough's hsitoric importance.
Much of the Romanesque Norman priory was destroyed in a fire in 1289 and was rebuilt in the Gothic style on a grander scale over the following century.
"We have been running the site informally for around a month and have already seen around 1,000 visitors, which is a positive start and something we hope to improve upon as the weather gets better " - Judith Arber, right
The |ancient Gisborough Priory site
Gisborough Priory Project has taken over the day-to-day running of the Priory from English Heritage. Front, from left, are secretary Ann Roe, treasurer Judith Arber, Robert | Pickles of English Heritage, chairman Doug Moore and director Peter Carmichael celebrating in front of the historic Priory with other volunteers