Friaries: The Austin friars of Huntingdon

Page 396

A History of the County of Huntingdon: Volume 1. Originally published by Victoria County History, London, 1926.

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The earliest mention of the friars of Huntingdon is in the year 1286, when King Edward I granted them eight oaks from Sapley forest for building purposes. (fn. 1) It is probable that they had then but lately settled in the town, and were erecting the priory; for in the year 1293 Bishop Sutton gave them leave to have their altars consecrated by any Catholic bishop. (fn. 2) A few gifts of land and rents to the friars of Huntingdon are recorded in the Patent Rolls of the first three Edwards, (fn. 3) and in 1335 they received a pardon for acquiring a plot of ground for enlarging their area, without license. (fn. 4) Bequests to this house are noted in wills of 1383, 1415 and 1453, (fn. 5) and doubtless might be found at other dates during the same century. In 1354 the friars got into trouble for aiding in the escape of a convict actually brought to the gallows for execution and assisting him to take sanctuary in the church of St. Andrew, Huntingdon. (fn. 6) They had license in 1363 to make a conduit of water underground from a well called Caldewell, by pipes through the town of Huntingdon. (fn. 7) Beyond such notices very little is known of their history. In 1538, at the dissolution of their priory, the bishop of Dover found the house very poor, but 'metely leaded.' (fn. 8) Their actual income cannot be given, as for some reason unknown they were not mentioned in the Valor Ecclesiasticus.


  • 1. Close, 14 Edw. I, m. 5.
  • 2. Linc. Epis. Reg. Memo. Sutton, 88d.
  • 3. Pat. 30 Edw. I, m. 10; 13 Edw. II, m. 16; 8 Edw. III, pt. I, m. 17; &c.
  • 4. Ibid. 8 Edw. III, pt. 2, m. 6.
  • 5. Gibbons, Early Lincoln Wills, 43, 155, 180.
  • 6. Cal Pat. 1354-8, 102, 125, 134, 317.
  • 7. Ibid. 1361-4, 306.
  • 8. Wright, Suppression of Monasteries, 192.