A History of the County of Bedford: Volume 1. Originally published by Victoria County History, London, 1904.
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13. THE HOUSE OF FRANCISCAN FRIARS, BEDFORD
The house of the Grey Friars at Bedford was said by Leland to have been founded by Lady Mabel de Pattishall (fn. 1); the Valor Ecclesiasticus however gives the name of John St. John as the first founder. (fn. 2) It is uncertain at what date the Grey Friars came to Bedford, but their church was completed and dedicated on 3 November 1295, (fn. 3) when indulgences were granted by Bishop Sutton to those who should visit it. In 1300 (fn. 4) some of the friars of Bedford received licences from Bishop Dalderby for hearing confessions. Like their Dominican brethren, they seem to have met with more kindness from the nuns than from the monks of the older orders: for in 1310 the prioress and convent of Harrold (fn. 5) joined with some of the citizens of Bedford in making them a grant of divers small plots of land within the town for the enlargement of their area.
The friars of Bedford (fn. 6) signed the acknowledgment of the royal supremacy on 14 May 1534, John Vyall, S.T.P., (fn. 7) being at that time warden of the house; his name appears again in the Valor Ecclesiasticus of 1535. The warden of the Friars Observants of Greenwich was sent to this house in 1531, when the brethren of his own order were dispersed, and was kept there under some kind of restraint. (fn. 8) The deed of surrender, (fn. 9) which is dated 3 October 1538, gives the names of a warden, vice-warden, and ten other friars (fn. 10); it is in the form which seems to have been offered to the friars only, beginning 'Forasmuch as we the warden and friars of the house of Saint Francis in Bedford . . . do profoundly consider that the perfection of Christian living doth not consist in dumb ceremonies, wearing of grey coat, . . . ducking and becking and girding ourselves with a girdle full of knots, and other like pharisaical ceremonies'; and has no seal. (fn. 11) The value of the house in 1535 was £3 13s. 2d. (fn. 12)