The Trust

What is Lewes Priory Trust?

Lewes Priory Seal
© Trustees of the British Museum

Lewes Priory Committee, formed in 1969, became Lewes Priory Trust in 1980. It is a registered charity which manages the site of Lewes Priory on behalf of Lewes Town Council which is the freeholder. 

The aim of the Trust is to preserve and enhance the remains of the Cluniac Priory of St Pancras and the surrounding area with the objective that it should become a facility of cultural, historic, educational and tourist importance of which the Town could be justifiably proud. Its detailed aims are set out in the Development Plan.

Who runs Lewes Priory Trust?

Priory Walrus Ivory
© Trustees of the British Museum

The non-executive officers of the Trust are:

President: Dr John Lawrence MBE

Vice President: Tom Sholl

The Trust is managed by its Governing Body all of whom are trustees of the charity and directors of the company limited by guarantee. Members for 2017-18 are:

Paul Benjamin

Arthur Franklin

Sy Morse-Brown (Chairman)

Andrew Norris (Membership secretary)

Graham Willsher (Treasurer)

Priory Trust's Education Officer is Helen Chiasson.

Charity No: 1123751
Registered Company No: 6493711

Development Plan 2015

This plan outlines the goals and objectives of the Trust, the history and achievements of the Trust to date, the challenges and opportunities for the future and the short, medium and longer term plans for development. These can be summarised as follows:

Site Management: Consider the installation of facilities: toilets, shelter, internet booster, interpretation centre.

Education: Extend education work beyond Lewes; work with the UK Cluniac sites and the Federation of European Cluniac Sites (FESC) on exchange of best practice.

Research: Identify, catalogue and digitise artefacts related to the Priory; work with the Federation of European Cluniac Sites; continue archaeological investigations; investigate storage and exhibition sites for Priory artefacts.

Partnerships: Develop and strengthen partnerships with: funders, the Cluniac network, local heritage providers, local authorities, groups such as the local branches of: the Federation of Women’s Institutes, the Scout Movement, Rotary.

Presence: Continue to develop innovative and low-cost ways to promote the site; extend presence on social media; develop exhibition space; recognition of the need for grant funding, increasing volunteer involvement and membership to achieve these as the Trust has limited capacity to raise funds for projects.

Download LPT Development Plan


In 2009 the Trust secured Heritage Lottery Fund and Historic England (formerly English Heritage) grants to consolidate the remains and provide explanatory signs, paths and seating. With matching funding this raised £809,000. The Priory Park Project  construction was completed in November 2010. In May 2011 a new Guide Book was published and in November the Education Resource Pack was launched. 

In 2012 the Trust secured £100,000 further funding under the HLF Your Heritage scheme. 18 separate projects are in progress under the banner Putting Lewes Priory on the Map.

In 2013 an HLF grant of £10,000 was secured to put on a series of workshops in schools to commemorate the 750th anniversary of the Battle of Lewes under the title of 'Feasting, Fighting & Freedom'.

In 2014 an appeal launched by the Trust raised just under £9,000 for the repair of the Battle of Lewes Memorial to mark the 750th anniversay of the battle.

Also in 2014 Sussex Community Foundation granted £400 for travel expenses to La Charité-sur-Loire for a conference on international co-operation for educational projects.

Also in 2014 Lewes Town Council granted £750 towards the production of an embroidered banner with the symbols of all the UK Cluniac sites.

Funds generated in the last 10 years: £929,000