Friaries: Dominican friars, Lancaster

A History of the County of Lancaster: Volume 2. Originally published by Victoria County History, London, 1908.

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'Friaries: Dominican friars, Lancaster', in A History of the County of Lancaster: Volume 2, (London, 1908) pp. 161-162. British History Online [accessed 29 February 2024]

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The house of the Black Friars at Lancaster was founded about 1260 by Sir Hugh Harrington, kt. (fn. 1) In September, 1291, the archbishop of York instructed them to have three brothers preaching the Crusade on Holy Cross Day, one at Lancaster, another in Kendal, and a third in Lonsdale. (fn. 2) Master William of Lancaster in 1311 received licence to give a rood of land for the enlargement of their site, and a few years later they took out a pardon for the acquisition without licence of a further two acres. (fn. 3)

In 1371 William of Northburgh, one of the brethren, was licensed as penitentiary in the wapentakes of Blackburn and Leyland. (fn. 4) Brother Richard Pekard, recluse of this house, received a licence in 1390 to hear confessions. (fn. 5)

The house was probably surrendered in 1539 (fn. 6) and the crown on 18 June, 1540, sold it with the friaries of Preston and Warrington to Thomas Holcroft, esquire of the body to the king, for £126 10s. (fn. 7)

There was a chantry in the chapel of the friary founded (so the Chantry Commissioners reported in 1547) by the ancestors of Sir Thomas Lawrence of Ashton near Lancaster. Robert Makerell, the last priest of the chantry, continued to celebrate masses 'at his pleasure' in other places after the dissolution of the friary. (fn. 8)


  • 1. The royal licence to acquire a site is dated 27 May, 1260; Pat. 44 Hen. III, m. 9. A prior of the house is mentioned in 1269; Dugdale, Mon. On the division of the English province of the order into four 'visitations,' Canterbury, London, Oxford, and York, it was assigned to the last-named; Worc. Cath. Lib. MS. 93, fly-leaf.
  • 2. Let. from Northern Reg. (Rolls Ser.), 95.
  • 3. Cal. of Pat. 1307-13, p. 387.
  • 4. Lich. Epis. Reg. Stretton, fol. 26.
  • 5. Ibid. Scrope, fol. 126b.
  • 6. In Feb. 1539 one of Cromwell's agents mentions this as one of twenty or more friaries still standing in the north, most of which he hoped to see suppressed before Easter; L. and P. Hen. VIII, xiv (1), 348, 413. A royal commissioner was on his way to Lancaster on 10 March; ibid. 494.
  • 7. Ibid. xv, 831, g. 43. The site was alienated in 2-3 Philip and Mary to Thomas Carus of Halton and his son Thomas; Dugdale, Mon. vi, 1486.
  • 8. Lance. Chant. (chet. Soc.), 225. The clear annual value or the chantry in 1335 was £3 18s.; valor Eccl. (Rec. Com.), v, 263.