Austin friaries: Gorleston

Pages 129-130

A History of the County of Suffolk: Volume 2. Originally published by Victoria County History, London, 1975.

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This friary was founded towards the end of the reign of Edward I, by William Woderove, and Margaret his wife. (fn. 1) On 28 June, 1311, Roger Woderove, son of the founder, obtained licence to grant to the prior and Augustine Friars of Little Yarmouth a plot of land adjacent to their dwelling, (fn. 2) and in 1338 a further enlargement of their house was made on a plot of land 240 ft. by 70 ft., the gift of William Man, of Blundeston. (fn. 3)

In the large and handsome church many distinguished persons were buried. Weever names the founder and his wife; Richard earl of Clare; Roger FitzOsbert and Katharine his wife; Sir Henry Bacon, 1335, and many of his family; Joan countess of Gloucester; Dame Alice Lunston 1341; Dame Eleanor, wife of Sir Thomas Gerbrigge, 1353; Dame Joan Caxton 1364; William de Ufford, earl of Suffolk, 1382; Michael de la Pole, earl of Suffolk; Sir Thomas Hengrove; Dame Sibyl Mortimer, 1385; Sir John Laune, and Mary his wife; Alexander Falstolfe; William March, esq., 1412, and John Pulman, 1481. (fn. 4)

Lambarde, writing of this house, which he mistakenly terms an abbey, says: 'Here was of late years a librarie of most rare and precious workes, gathered together by the industrie of one John Brome, a monk of the same house, which died in the reign of King Henry the Sixte.' (fn. 5) John Brome was prior of the house and died in 1449. His collection of books was famous and said to include several of which there were no other copies in England; he was himself the author of chronicles and sermons. (fn. 6)

The historian of Yarmouth says that these Austin Friars had a cell across the water in Yarmouth proper, the remains of which are to be seen in Howards Street; the adjoining row is still called Austin Row; though popularly corrupted into Ostend Row. (fn. 7)

The house was suppressed, with the other Yarmouth friaries, by Richard Ingworth towards the end of 1538, (fn. 8) and the site was ganted in 1544 to John Eyre, rightly styled by Weever 'a great dealer in that kind of property.'


  • 1. Weever, Funeral Monuments, 863.
  • 2. Pat. 4 Edw. II, pt. ii, m. 3.
  • 3. Ibid. 12 Edw. III, pt. iii, m. 15.
  • 4. Weever, Funeral Monuments, 863.
  • 5. Lambarde, Topog. Dict. (1730), 136.
  • 6. Stevens, Contin. of Mon. ii, 176.
  • 7. Palmer, Hist. of Yarmouth, i, 428
  • 8. L. and P. Hen. VIII, xiii, pt. ii, 1021.