The History and Antiquities of London, Westminster, Southwark, and Parts Adjacent, vol. 3

Allen, Thomas


House or Convent of Grey Friars or Friars Minors.


The of this order of friars in England, in number, arrived at Dover, out of Italy, in the year , the year of the reign of king Henry III. being of the order of the Franciscans, or friars minors: of them, being priests, remained at Canterbury; the other , being laymen, came to London, and were lodged at the Preaching-friars in for the space of days: and then they hired a house on of John Trevers, of the sheriffs of London. They built there little cells, wherein they inhabited: but, shortly after, the devotion of the citizens towards them, and the number of the friars so increased, that they were by the citizens removed to a place in St. Nicholas Shambles, which John Ewin, mercer, purchasing a void piece of ground, appropriated unto the commonalty, to the use of these said friars; and himself became a lay-brother amongst them about the year .

Divers citizens seemed herein to join with the said John Ewin, mid erected there very beautiful buildings.

This church, thus furnished with windows, made at the charges of divers persons, the lady Margaret Seagrave, countess of Norfolk, bore the charges of making the stalls in the choir, to the value of , about the year . Richard Whittington, in the year , founded the library, which was in length feet, and in breadth , all ceiled with wainscot, having desks, and double settles of wainscot: which, in the year following, was altogether finished in building; and within years after furnished with books, to the charges of whereof Richard Whitington bare ; the rest was borne by Dr. Thomas Winchelsea, a friar there: and for the writing out of D. Nicholas de Lira's works, in volumes, to be chained there, , &c.

The ceiling of the choir, at divers men's charges, , and the painting at : their conduit-head and watercourse were given them by William Taylor, taylor to Henry III. &c.

This noble church contained, in length, feet; in breadth feet; and in height, from the ground to the roof, feet inches, &c. It was consecrated ; and, at the general suppression, was valued at ; surrendered the , the of Henry VIII. the ornaments


and goods being taken to the king's use. The church was shut up for a time, and used as a store-house for goods, taken as prizes from the French: but, in the year , on the , it was again set open; on which day preached at Paul's Cross the bishop of Rochester, where he declared the king's gift thereof to the city for the relieving the poor; which gift was, by patent of St. Bartholomew's Spital in , valued at and surrendered to the king, of the said church of the Grey-friars, and of parish churches, the of St. Nicholas in the Shambles, and the other of St. Ewin's in Newgate-market, which were to be made parish church in the said friars church : and in lands he gave, for the maintenance of the said church, with divine service, reparations, &c. a year for ever.

The seal of this monastery is very elegant both in design and execution. It is oval, with a diapered back ground; in the upper portion are religious persons ( holding a cross) bearing a triangular shrine, within which is St. Peter with his sword, seated. The tabernacle is ornamented with trefoil canopies, pinnacles, &c. Between the figures in base is a tree flowering, with birds sitting thereon. The legend is .

The , the of Henry VIII. an agreement was made betwixt the king, the mayor, and commonalty of London, dated the ; by which the said Grey-friars church, with all the edifices and ground, the fratry, the library, the dorter, and the chapter-house, the great cloister and the lesser; tenements, gardens, and vacant grounds; lead, stone, iron, &c.; the hospital of St. Bartholomew in West-Smithfield, with the church of the same; the lead, bells, and ornaments of the same hospital, with all the messuages, tenements, and appurtenances; the parishes of St. Nicholas and of St. Ewin's, and so much of St. Sepulchre's parish as is within the gate, called Newgate, were made parish church in the Grey-friars church, and called Christ's church, founded by king Henry VIII.

The vicar of Christ's church was to have a year: the vicar of St. Bartholomew's, The visitor of Newgate, being a priest, and the other priests in Christ's church, ministering the sacraments and sacramentals, to have a piece: clerks each: a sexton Moreover, he gave to them the hospital of Bethlehem, with the laver of brass in the cloister, by estimation eighteen feet in length; and the watercourse of lead, to the Friar-house belonging, containing by estimation, in length, eighteen acres.

In this monastery, there was a

stinking dungeon,

which was used in queen Mary's time to confine vagabonds and idle persons. The porter of this dungeon was Ninian. Here Thomas Green,


servant to John Wayland, printer, was brought, and, after some time,

whipped grievously, having the correction of thieves and vagabonds, for a book called Antichrist, that he had assisted at the printing of.

The defaced monuments in this church were these:

At the right side, the lady Enforme de Pysans.

In that part of the church, before the entering of the choir, were interred, In the east wing of the choir.

In Allhallows chapel.



In our Lady's chapel.

In the Apostles chapel.

By the door underneath the rood.

In the body of the church.

Under the bell-house and ambulatory.



Before the altar, within the walls.

Before the midst of the altar,

In the chapter house. In the body of the church, between the pillars.

In the west wing of the church.


In this church of the Grey-friars there were tombs of alabaster and marble, environed with pallisadoes of iron, in the choir; and tomb in the body of the church, also coped with iron; all pulled down, besides gravestones of marble, all sold for , or thereabouts, by sir Martin Bowes, goldsmith, and alderman of London!

Ministers Accounts,32Henry VIII. Lands and possessions of the Friars Minors in the city of London.
Lands and tenements within the close of the said priory22174
Site of the house: not answered for because the cloisters and other buildings there were committed by the commissioners at the dissolution to John Wiseman, gent., to be kept for the use of the king 
But for lands there3134
Obits and anniversaries, 4l., from the society of lez taylors, London, for the anniversary of sir
Stephen Gennynnes, pann. and 3l. 10s. of the society of clothworkers, (pannar, London) for the anniversary of Hugh Acton7100



3l. 6s. 8d.

of the abbot of


, for the anniversary of the most noble prince Henry VII.: nothing, because it is extinguished


[] Common seal. Indent. of foundation Hen. vii. chapel in the Chapter Ho. Westminster.

This object is in collection Subject Temporal Permanent URL
Component ID:
To Cite:
TARC Citation Guide    EndNote
Detailed Rights
View all images in this book
 Title Page
 CHAPTER I: The site, extent, buildings, population, commerce, and a view of the progressive increase of London
 CHAPTER II: List of the parishes and churches in London, with their incumbents, &c
CHAPTER III: History and Topography of Aldersgate Ward
CHAPTER IV: History and Topography of Aldgate Ward
CHAPTER V: History and Topography of Bassishaw Ward
CHAPTER VI: History and Topography of Billingsgate Ward
CHAPTER VII: History and Topography of Bishopsgate Ward, Without and Within
CHAPTER VIII: History and Topography of Bread-street Ward
CHAPTER IX: History and Topography of Bridge Ward Within
CHAPTER X: History and Topography of Broad-street Ward
CHAPTER XI: History and Topography of Candlewick Ward
CHAPTER XII: History and Topography of Castle Baynard Ward
CHAPTER XIII: History and Topography of Cheap Ward
CHAPTER XIV: History and Topography of Coleman-street Ward
CHAPTER XV: History and Topography of Cordwainer's-street Ward
CHAPTER XVI: History and Topography of Cornhill Ward
CHAPTER XVII: History and Topography of Cripplegate Ward Within
CHAPTER XVIII: History and Topography of Cripplegate Yard Without
CHAPTER XIX: History and Topography of Dowgate Yard
CHAPTER XX: History and Topography of Farringdom Ward Within
CHAPTER XXI: History and Topography of Farringdon Ward Without
CHAPTER XXII: History and Topography of Langbourn Ward
CHAPTER XXIII: History and Topography of Lime-street Ward
CHAPTER XXIV: History and Topogrpahy of Portsoken Ward
CHAPTER XXV: History and Topography of Queenhithe Ward
CHAPTER XXVI: History and Topography of Tower Ward
CHAPTER XXVII: History and Topography of Vintry Ward
CHAPTER XXVIII: History and Topography of Wallbrook Ward