The Priory Church of St Mary and St Bega, so-called because of its links with St Mary's of York and the legendary Irish Princess St Bega, was founded almost 1,000 years ago. Much of the original building still stands and is seen from every approach to the village.
There is a wealth of history associated with the Priory and there is no way I can do the slightest justice to this nor to the church itself in the space allowed here. I would therefore recommend the reader look at the two related web sites - http://www.stbees.org.uk (under Churches, History and Publications) and the church's own web site, http://www.stbeespriory.org.uk
The church is well worth a visit if you are visiting the Lake District, and there are a number of panels describing the history of the village, church and St Bees School, all of which are inter-linked. There are also displays about St Bees Man, discovered in 1981. These displays have been prepared by the local History Group and funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund. Members of the History Group can arrange a short lecture, tours and refreshments to visiting groups by arrangement. See http://www.stbees.org.uk/history_talks.htm. Also at the Priory is Josefina de Vasconcellos Sleeping Child Garden