Friaries: The friars of the Sack

Pages 513-514

A History of the County of London: Volume 1, London Within the Bars, Westminster and Southwark. Originally published by Victoria County History, London, 1909.

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It was in 1257 (fn. 1) that the friars of the Sack first appeared in London, where they were received and recommended by Peter of Tewkesbury in the chapter of the Franciscans. (fn. 2) They settled in a spot outside Aldersgate, (fn. 3) but afterwards removed to Coleman Street, (fn. 4) evidently close to a synagogue, for in 1271–2 they were said to be disturbed at their devotions by the howling of the Jews in their church. As a remedy Henry III gave the friars the synagogue to increase their house, and, while giving the despoiled Jews permission to build another, ordered them to be less noxious to the friars. (fn. 5)

At some date between 1265 and September 1271, (fn. 6) they bought from Queen Eleanor, then warden of London Bridge, for the sum of 60 marks and the maintenance of the chantry of Richard le Kew, certain tenements in Colechurch Street, in the parish of St. Olave Jewry, and of St. Margaret Lothbury. They also possessed houses in Candelwyk Street (Cannon Street), in the parish of St. Mary Abchurch, (fn. 7) bequeathed to them by Gilbert de Tanyngton as the endowment of a chantry. In spite of the suppression of the smaller orders of Mendicants by the Council of Lyons in 1274, the little community in London managed to maintain itself for some years longer. It figured in the wardrobe accounts of 28th year of Edward I, (fn. 8) and was still in existence in October, 1302. (fn. 9) But the condition of the friars must have been the reverse of flourishing, and in March, 1305, (fn. 10) the king granted them licence to make over their chapel to Robert Fitzwalter, who was to make himself responsible for a chantry of two chaplains for the souls of Eleanor the late queen, the king's ancestors, and others.

The house was presided over by priors, none of whose names survive.


  • 1. Engl. Hist. Review, ix, article by Mr. Little, who refers to Matthew Paris, Chron. Maj. v, 612, 621.
  • 2. Monumenta Francisc. (Rolls Ser.), 72.
  • 3. Stow, Surv. of Lond. iii, 53.
  • 4. a The hospital of St. Thomas of Acon held houses in 'Colchurche Strete,' opposite the church of the Friars of the Penance of Jesus Christ. See Cartulary printed in Watney, Hospital of St. Thomas of Acon, 256.
  • 5. b Tovey, Anglia Judaica, 192. Tovey refers to Close, 56 Hen. III, m. 3.
  • 6. Sharpe, Cal. of Letter Bk. C, 61.
  • 7. Sharpe, Cal. of Wills, i, 14.
  • 8. Liber Quotid. Contrarotul. Garderob. 28 Edw. I, 31. 12 March, to the Friars of the Sack by Friar Edmund de Dover there, 19s.
  • 9. Cal. of Pat. 1301–7, p. 47.
  • 10. Ibid. 316. Robert Fitzwalter had petitioned the king for this licence in 1304. See Parl. R. (Rec. Com.), i, 162.