Lanercost Priory was founded about 1166 by Henry II. When completed in 1220, canons came from the priory in Norfolk, and remained for some 370 years until the Dissolution of the Monasteries in 1536, by Henry VIII.
The building went to Thomas Dacre of Naworth Castle nearby, who converted some of the buildings into private dwellings (now called the Dacre Hall). The rest of the building fell into disrepair. About 1740 it was decided to restore the nave, and use it as a Parish Church.