Houses of Dominican Friars: Chichester

Page 94

A History of the County of Sussex: Volume 2. Originally published by Victoria County History, London, 1973.

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The Black Friars settled at Chichester some time after 1253, for they are not mentioned with the other Sussex friaries in St. Richard's will, and before 1283. In this latter year their prior, William, was accused of having celebrated mass at Steyning, although Archbishop Peckham had laid the church under an interdict. (fn. 2) Apparently at this time they had only temporary buildings, as, in 1284, Edmund earl of Cornwall remitted them the rent due for their place in the city and licensed them to obtain further plots of land adjoining, to enclose the whole and to erect an oratory with other offices. (fn. 3) Next year, in July, 1285, the court was at Chichester, and Queen Eleanor bought a strip of land 104 ft. long by 44 ft. broad adjoining the friars' grounds and gave it to them. (fn. 4) The same queen in 1286 made a further grant of land in East Street. (fn. 5) In 1289 they obtained leave to enclose their enlarged lands with a wall, blocking up two streets but making another on their own ground from St. Andrew's church in the Pallant southwards to the city wall. (fn. 6) As their premises were still too cramped Edward II in 1310 licensed them to acquire further land, (fn. 7) and the property thus obtained was released from suit at the king's courts by Richard II in 1380. (fn. 8)

When Edward I was at Chichester in 1297, he sent the friars 34s. for three days' food, which, as 4d. was the recognized allowance for one day, shows that there were then thirty-four friars resident; but a similar gift in 1324 of 7s. for one day's food shows that the number had fallen to twenty-one. (fn. 9)

Bequests to this friary, which was under the patronage of St. Vincent, (fn. 10) are numerous in the wills of local testators. John Wode, who died in 1479, left to the Friars Preachers a noble—
under the condition that the prior shall not disgrace my brother for that trespass which he with many others did in dragging a thief out of the said prior's church against his will, as the prior says. (fn. 11)

The bishop of Dover reported favourably of the friars of Chichester in July, 1538, (fn. 12) and in October returned here and received the surrender, which is signed by the prior and six brethren. (fn. 13) The house was poor, and when their debts had been paid and their 80 oz. of plate redeemed from pledge, there was not enough to pay the visitor's costs. (fn. 14)

Priors of Chichester

William, occurs 1283 (fn. 15)

Richard Win, occurs 1364 (fn. 16)

John Brown, occurs 1383 (fn. 17)

John Anteny, surrendered 1538. (fn. 18)


  • 1. Suss. Arch. Coll. xxix, 39–45.
  • 2. Reg. Epist. Peckham (Rolls Ser.), ii, 620.
  • 3. Pat. 4 Edw. II, pt. i, m. 24.
  • 4. Pat. 13 Edw. I, m. 8.
  • 5. Pat. 18 Edw. I, m. 16
  • 6. Pat. 17 Edw. I, m. 11.
  • 7. Pat. 4 Edw. II, pt. i, m. 24.
  • 8. Pat. 4 Ric. II, pt. i, m. 43.
  • 9. Suss. Arch. Coll. xxix, 41.
  • 10. Obit. R. (Surtees Soc.), 38.
  • 11. P.C.C. Logge, fol. 111b.
  • 12. L. and P. Hen. VIII, xiii (1), 1456.
  • 13. Ibid. xiii (2), 563.
  • 14. Ibid.; Suss. Arch. Coll. xxix, 44.
  • 15. Reg. Epist. Peckham (Rolls Ser.), ii, 620.
  • 16. Cal. Papal Let. iv, 46.
  • 17. Cant. Archiepis. Reg. Courtenay, fol. 203.
  • 18. L. and P. Hen. VIII, xiii (2), 563.