A bid to bring the Pope to Colliers Wood when he visits Britain later this year has failed.

His Holiness had been invited to the area to view the remains of Merton Priory, the site of England’s first parliament and the place where Pope Adrian IV was educated in the 12th century.

The spiritual leader of Britain’s Catholics will visit the country from September 16 to 19. He is set to stay at the Apostolic Nunciature in Wimbledon Village - the home of his representative in the UK.

The invitation to visit the site was made by the mayor of Merton, Councillor Nick Draper, who is a trustee of conservation group the Merton Priory Trust.

In a letter to the visit organisers he said: “It would... be a tremendous privilege and an affirmation of faith for the people of Merton, and in particular for us on the Priory Trust, were he able to do so.”

Branches of Sainsbury’s and M&S have been built over much of the priory site - although the remains of some original buildings can still be seen by visitors.

A spokesman for the Pope said: “The Holy Father Pope Benedict XVI’s itinerary has been fixed for some time - it’s not possible for him to do everything, much as he would like to.”