Yorkshire’s unique former priory signs up for membership of the prayer book society


A former monastic priory in North Yorkshire – part of an order founded in 1131 by the only indigenous establisher of monastic communities, Gilbert of Sempringham*– is the latest parish church to join the Prayer Book Society (PBS) as a corporate member.

Gilbert’s monastery in Old Malton, which was unique in housing strictly segregated monks and nuns, is better known today as St Mary’s Priory Church. It is the only Gilbertine monastery still in use for weekly worship.

The vicar, the Rev Glyn Diggins, reports that all his Sunday services – notably Choral Matins and Choral Evensong – are based on the 1662 Book of Common Prayer (BCP).

‘That’s why it made a lot of sense to join a network of churches actively seeking to grow the Kingdom of God,’ he explained.

‘Being a member of a society which values the rich heritage of Prayer Book tradition, while encouraging rediscovery and use of the majesty and spiritual depth of the Book of Common Prayer at the heart of the Church of England’s worship, is helping us to connect with new generations.’ 

Glyn explained that, for his church, benefits of membership include access to, and learning from, the experience of other member churches using Prayer Book worship from a missional perspective. 

He said: ‘I am passionate about identifying ways in which congregations can be refreshed and renewed where Prayer Book traditions are the norm. We are glad to be connecting with other PBS corporate member churches which are using the BCP as a catalyst for growth, and we will be delighted to share our own successes with them.’