The Story

The story of Clare Priory Church Extension is told by:

Father Bernard Rolls OSA  was Parish Priest at Clare Priory at the start of the church extension project, and led the project through to the completion of the beautiful church building which is now enjoyed by so many worshippers today. 

Father David Middleton OSA, who was head of the Augustinian Order in Britain during the construction of the church.

Steven Cubitt, Chair of Church Extension committee.

Consecration - 6th Oct 2015

On Tuesday 6th October 2015 the church was consecrated by the Right Reverend Alan Hopes, Bishop of East Anglia. The Mass was attended by a 200-strong congregation of church and civic dignitaries, corporate donors, parishioners, those involved in the construction work and representatives of other local churches.

During the celebration Mass relics were installed in the altar and sealed. These were from St Augustine of Hippo (whose rule and inspiration animate the work of the community), St. Monica (Augustine's mother), St. Rita (an Augustinian nun whose powerful intercession has worked wonders for many an impossible situation), and also the Augustinian friars martyred in 1936 during the Spanish Civil War.

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Bishop Alan anointed the altar with oil, and the church itself was also anointed to signify that it is given entirely to Christian worship.

Incense was burned in a brazier with lighted charcoal on the centre of the altar, to signify Christ’s sacrifice and prayers rising up from worshippers to God and its dedication as a house of prayer.

Update (March 2015)

Father Bernard Rolls was Parish Priest at Clare Priory at the start of the church extension project, and led the project through to the completion of the beautiful church building which is now enjoyed by so many worshippers today.  Here he revisits Clare Priory to take stock of what has been achieved and outline plans for the future.

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New Church Extension

A freestanding contemporary extension has been built alongside and linked to the existing church, which occupies the 13th century former infirmary to the original priory founded in 1248.The new building has been designed to avoid interfering with the fabric of the existing church and the archaeology of this special, historic site and to be in keeping with the peace and beauty of the setting.

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The Cornerstone Project

The need for more space for church services at Clare Priory is even greater now than when the planning application was first submitted in 1996. When the Augustinian Order returned to Clare in 1953 after an absence of more than 400 years the medieval infirmary was converted on a limited budget to serve as a church for the friars and novices and for a small parish. It was not designed or adapted to fulfil its existing role.

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Design, Build & Construction

The new extension has been discreetly positioned so that it complements and does not compete with the existing medieval building. The plans follow careful analysis of the Clare Priory site as a whole as well as the medieval infirmary and are the result of detailed consultations over the last 14 or 15 years with the local planning authority, English Heritage and other bodies.

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What will it cost?

Construction costs for the new building are estimated at £1,158,000. The Priory parish and friends have already raised £360,000 for the new building over the last 14 years, and this sum has been matched by funds from the Augustinian Province of England and Scotland. The parish fund-raising team is planning to raise the remaining £438,000 over the next three years.

Calendar of Events

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