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It is suffering from environmental and structural issues, including excess dampness and flooding, with movement and cracking in the stonework.
The undercroft at Priory House – a stone-lined and vaulted medieval cellar used for storage – is a rare and almost complete example of its kind from the 13th century.
Priory House, which is on Historic England’s Heritage at Risk register, is the centrepiece project in the Dunstable High Street Heritage Action Zone run by Dunstable Town Council.
A team of conservation professionals are working to sensitively repair the undercroft, protecting and retaining as much of the original 13th century material as possible.
Our funding, complemented by an additional £126,970 from Historic England, will support:
- further repair work necessary to conserve the medieval vaults
- get the tearooms back in use at full capacity
- refresh the first-floor exhibition space and reopen it for public events
This work is hoped to be complete by August 2024 when Priory House will be removed from the Heritage at Risk register and will be a vital focus of local community life once again.
Trudi Hughes, Heritage at Risk Surveyor, Historic England said: “We now understand all the issues which have been causing concern over many years – including occasional falls of stone internally, periodic flooding, structural discontinuities in the building fabric, and an increasing inability for the building’s drainage to deal with increased rainfall.”