Friaries: Franciscan friars of Walsingham

Page 435

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

This free content was digitised by double rekeying. All rights reserved.



Licence was granted by Edward III on 1 February, 1347, to Elizabeth de Burgh, countess of Clare, to found a house of -Friars Minor in Walsingham. (fn. 1)

The celebrated Austin priory of the same town did their best to stop the countess, who was their patroness, from carrying out her intention, dreading no doubt that the poorer pilgrims to Our Lady of Walsingham would find gratis accommodation with the friars. The soundest, perhaps, of the many arguments that they addressed to the countess was that the friars had already sufficient habitations in the district; for there was Burnham, four miles on one side, and Snitterley not much farther off on the other; but they omitted to state that these were Carmelite and not Franciscan settlements.

But their opposition was futile, for both royal and papal sanction was obtained. Clement VI granted to the provincial of the Friars Minor of England licence, in 1347, at the request of King Edward and Queen Philippa, to acquire a site for a house in Little Walsingham, to accommodate twelve friars, (fn. 2)

Four years later, the friars obtained licence to enclose a road in Little Walsingham, leading from North Barsham to the chapel of St. Mary, Little Walsingham, below their house. This licence was inspected and confirmed in 1384. (fn. 3)

In 1440 Richard, duke of York, their patron, alienated to the friars a messuage, three acres of land, a garden, and four tenements adjoining their house. (fn. 4)

This house, with the other friaries of the county was suppressed and surrendered to Richard Ingworth, the ex-prior, towards the close of 1538. (fn. 5)


  • 1. Pat. 21 Edw. III, pt. i. m. 28; 22 Edw. III, pt. i, m. 48.
  • 2. Cal. Papal Reg. iii, 252.
  • 3. Pat. 8 Ric. II, pt. i, m. 5.
  • 4. Ibid. 19 Hen. VI, pt. iii, m. 32.
  • 5. L. and P. Hen. VIII, xiii (2), 1021.