Friaries: The Friars of the Sack

Page 178

A History of the County of Chester: Volume 3. Originally published by Victoria County History, London, 1980.

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Acommunity of Friars of Penitence of Jesus Christ, popularly known as Friars of the Sack, was established at Chester before 1274 when the Council of Lyons condemned the order to gradual extinction. (fn. 1) The Chester community is the most recently identified and still the most obscure of the sixteen foundations of the order in England. (fn. 2) In 1277 Edward I sent the community 5s. for food and at that date it seems to have been larger than that of the Carmelites. (fn. 3) When the next royal donations were made in 1284, the Friars of the Sack received four payments totalling £1 13s. 4d., considerably less than the other three communities of friars. (fn. 4) Only one other benefaction is known: Joan, the widow of Geoffrey de Dutton, bequeathed 4s. to fratribus indutis saccis. (fn. 5) Nothing further is known of the community's history and it probably died out before 1300.


  • 1. For the history of the order see R. W. Emery, 'The Friars of the Sack', Speculum, xviii. 323–34.
  • 2. Letter from R. W. Emery in Downside Review, lxix. 520; D. Knowles and R. N. Hadcock, Medieval Religious Houses, Eng. and Wales (2nd edn. 1971), 247–9.
  • 3. P.R.O., E 101/350/23, m. 2 (on the same date the Carmelites were allowed 3s. 9d. and the Franciscans and Dominicans 13s. 1d. each).
  • 4. Tribute to an Antiquary, 110–11 (the Dominicans received £8 14s. 1d., the Franciscans £6 17s. 3½d., and the Carmelites £4 12s. 4d.).
  • 5. Bodl. MS. Dodsworth 62, f. 43v. (printed 3 Sheaf, ix, p. 117). The will is not dated but the benefaction may be early as the Carmelites are not mentioned.