Nearly 80 Women’s Institute members from the East Sussex Federation spent Friday visiting Priory Park and Southover Church in Lewes to learn about the Priory of St Pancras and the monks who once lived there.
The day was organised by the Lewes Priory Trust, which looks after and promotes understanding of the historic venue.
WI members were given a guided tour of the Priory by local expert Dr Tony Freeman followed by a visit to the fascinating Gundrada chapel in Southover Church to learn about the founders of the Priory between 1078 and 1082 – Gundrada and her husband William de Warenne.
Members then had the opportunity to try their hand at some medieval crafts, brass rubbing and making herbal medicines that the monks could have used.
The visit followed a similar event organised last year for the WI that proved so popular that Lewes Priory Trust was asked to lay on another day this year.
The WI and the Trust have worked together in the past, with dedicated knitters from WI groups in the area making fabulous knitted Battle of Lewes figures – the woolly warriors – for the Trust’s education officers to use with local schools. The Trust regularly supplies speakers for WI meetings.
Priory Park has open and free access throughout the year and so the Lewes Priory Trust is dependent on grant funding to sustain its work.