About us

picture courtesy of : www.aboutdunstable.blogspot.co.uk

 

The oldest part of Priory House is the vaulted undercroft. It is a typical two-storey Norman stone building of the late 12th century of a type known as a ‘hall and cellar house’. Although there are various theories about it, no record has been found as to who built it and why.

From 1545, after the dissolution of the monasteries the building became a private house. One of the earliest owners was the important local Crawley family who later owned Stockwood Park and who used part of the building as an early hospital for the mentally ill. In 1743 the original stone vaulted hall was incorporated into a much larger house with the Georgian facade and internal details we see today. By the nineteenth century Priory House was owned by the Munt family who built a hat factory next to it on the site of the present gateway from High Street South. The factory was demolished in 1907.

Since 1956 the building was occupied as offices, firstly by Dunstable Borough and South Bedfordshire District Councils and, more recently, by a private company. It is now owned by Dunstable Town Council and is a Grade II* listed building - it was transformed into a heritage centre in 2005.

A visit to the tea rooms on the ground floor and undercroft for a selection of delicious hot and cold food is enhanced by the wonderful views over the beautifully kept Priory Gardens to the Priory Church of St. Peter.

On the second floor the Tudor wall paintings can be seen as well as various exhibitions that reflect the heritage and history of the town.

The stone vaullted undercroft, where visitors can enjoy refreshments

The tearoom