Friaries: The grey friars of Grantham

A History of the County of Lincoln: Volume 2. Originally published by Victoria County History, London, 1906.

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, 'Friaries: The grey friars of Grantham', in A History of the County of Lincoln: Volume 2, (London, 1906) pp. 217-218. British History Online [accessed 27 May 2024].

. "Friaries: The grey friars of Grantham", in A History of the County of Lincoln: Volume 2, (London, 1906) 217-218. British History Online, accessed May 27, 2024,

. "Friaries: The grey friars of Grantham", A History of the County of Lincoln: Volume 2, (London, 1906). 217-218. British History Online. Web. 27 May 2024,


The Franciscans were settled here before 1290, for on 27 November of that year Pope Nicholas IV (fn. 1) granted an indulgence of one year and forty days of enjoined penance to penitents visiting the church of the Friars Minors at Grantham on the four feasts of the Virgin, and those of St. Francis, St. Anthony, and St. Clare. The convent was in the custody of Oxford. (fn. 2) Edward I gave these friars 12s. 8d. for two days' pittance and 21s. for three days' pittance by the hand of Friar J. de Jarewell or Gerewell, at Grantham in 1300; (fn. 3) there were probably about twenty friars at the time. Bishop Dalderby admitted four friars of this house to hear confessions in 1300, (fn. 4) and in 1311 dedicated four altars in this church and one in the infirmary. (fn. 5) John de Warenne, earl of Surrey (1304) granted the friars 32½ quarters of corn each year from his mills at Grantham; the grant was renewed by his grandson in 1313 and confirmed by the king. (fn. 6) Ralph of Barneby gave them a spring of water at Gonerby, and in 1314 Richard Kellaw, bishop of Durham, authorized them to bring the water to their house by leaden pipes, and to dig the ground in the common pasture to lay and repair the pipes on condition that they put back the earth. (fn. 7)

In 1355 John de Warenne, earl of Surrey, had permission to grant the Friars Minors a messuage lying to the east of their house. (fn. 8) He bequeathed £20 to them by his will, 1347. (fn. 9)

In 1339 a murderer took sanctuary in the church of St. Francis at Grantham, (fn. 10) and early in the next century a similar event led to a dispute between the friars and the town. On the Sunday after Ascension Day, 1419, Thomas Couper of Botleston, brasier, and William Drusthorpe, locksmith, killed Thomas May of Botleston, and fled for sanctuary to the Grey Friars' church. On Whitsunday the bailiff carried them off by force to Lincoln, and on the appeal of the friars to the king in council, a jury was sworn before the justices of gaol delivery and declared that the church of the friary was a sanctuary. The prisoners were handed on to Friar Thomas Kyrton and brought back to the Grey Friars. (fn. 11) A provincial chapter of the Premonstratensian Order was held in this church in 1492. (fn. 12) Among the benefactors of the house were Ralph Basset lord of Sapcote (1377), Richard de Evyngeham rector of Ewerby, Robert de Westburgh of Grantham (1397), Nicholas Tye (1410), Thomas Ingham of Corby (1415), Thomas Sleeford (1417), Robert Wyntryngham canon of Lincoln (1415), and Queen Catherine of Aragon. (fn. 13)

In 1513 Henry VIII granted to these friars full pardon for all kinds of transgressions or crimes, including treason, murder, rape, which they might have committed before 8 December 1510. (fn. 14)

In July, 1535, Richard Hopkins the warden and other brethren were accused by one of the friars, John Colsell, of using seditious language. The Earl of Rutland by Cromwell's instruction investigated the matter. John Colsell was himself aged eighteen, and his principal witness was a novice, William Nobull, aged thirteen years, who on being called to give evidence charged Colsell, who was his schoolmaster, with having tutored him to bear false witness. The warden and his friends seem to have cleared themselves. (fn. 15) At the same time John Colsell was accused of 'using the deceitful art of magic and astronomy.' Gervase Tyndall, schoolmaster at Grantham, was 'employed in the business of certain friars who were about to practice necromancy,' and became so unpopular in the town that the boys were driven away from his school. (fn. 16)

The bishop of Dover received the surrender of the house about the end of February, 1538-9, and reported the convent so poor that the king would receive nothing but the lead, bells, and a chalice. (fn. 17)

The friary with its lands was granted in 1541 at a rent of 7s. 9d. to Robert Butcher, gentleman, and David Vincent, one of the royal pages; in the grant were included the church, belfry, cemetery, and aqueduct, a garden of one acre, a small close called Paradise, a close of 5 acres and a number of other gardens, kilnhouse,' maltoflores,' stables, and other tenements. Some of these were already let to tenants. These grantees sold the site in 1542 to Austin Porter of Belton. (fn. 18)


  • 1. Cal. of Papal Letters, i, 521.
  • 2. Eubel, Provinciale Vetustissimum.
  • 3. P.R.O. Exch. Acct. 357 (4); Add. MS. 7966 A, fol. 23b.
  • 4. Linc. Epis. Reg. Memo. Dalderby, fol. 11b, 18.
  • 5. Ibid. fol. 218b.
  • 6. Pat. 11 Edw. II, pt. i, m. 8; Close, 19 Edw. II, m. 11.
  • 7. Reg. Pal. Dunelm. (Rolls Ser.), ii, 1255, iv, 385.
  • 8. Pat. 9 Edw. III, pt. i, m. 2; Inq. a.q.d. 226 (2).
  • 9. Test. Ebor. i, 43; another bequest, ibid. 28.
  • 10. Pat. 13 Edw. III, pt. i, m. 24.
  • 11. Add. MS. 4938, fol. 13. (Peck MSS. vol. v).
  • 12. Collectanea Anglo-Premonstrat. (Camden Soc.), i, 167.
  • 13. Gibbons, Early Linc. Wills; L. and P. Hen. VIII, iv, No. 6121.
  • 14. Add. MS. 4938, fol. 20.
  • 15. L. and P. Hen. VIII, viii, 1149; ix, 179, 740; Hist. MSS. Com. Rep. xii, pt. iv, 25.
  • 16. L. and P. Hen. VIII, ix, 740.
  • 17. Ibid. xiv, (1), 348, 413 (cf. No. 3); Wright, Suppression, 192.
  • 18. Add. MS. 4938, fol. 16; cf. Stowe MS. 141, fol. 37. Mins. Accts. 30-31 Hen. VIII, No. 110, fol. 84 (Linc.); Partic. for Gts. file 211; L. and P. Hen. VIII, xvii, 71 (34), 1154 (18).