A people counter installed in Bolton Priory twelve months ago has produced, for the first time, accurate visitor statistics. Previously, annual footfall had been estimated at 100,000. The people counter shows that between September 2016 and August 2017 the Priory actually welcomed 162,000 worshippers and visitors. The busiest day in this period saw over 1,700 visitors come through the doors. Nearly sixty countries and territories, from every continent except Antarctica, were represented in the statistics and visitors came from as far afield as Tibet, Thailand, and Trinidad & Tobago. The Priory is open every day of the year, and from Easter to October a dedicated team of welcomers and guides is on duty. Larger parties are offered a formal guided tour by arrangement in advance.
The Rector of Bolton Abbey, Canon Simon Cowling, expressed his delight at the figures: “The Priory Church is a very special place, home to a living community of Christians committed to welcome, worship, and witness. We are thrilled that so many people from around the world are able to take back to their own communities such a positive experience of that commitment. The range of comments in our visitors’ book, and the many prayers that are left by the candle stand, are testament to the effectiveness of our witness to the love of God in Jesus Christ.”