Houses of Dominican Friars: Arundel

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

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'Houses of Dominican Friars: Arundel', A History of the County of Sussex: Volume 2, (London, 1973), pp. 93-94. British History Online [accessed 24 June 2024].

. "Houses of Dominican Friars: Arundel", in A History of the County of Sussex: Volume 2, (London, 1973) 93-94. British History Online, accessed June 24, 2024,

. "Houses of Dominican Friars: Arundel", A History of the County of Sussex: Volume 2, (London, 1973). 93-94. British History Online. Web. 24 June 2024,

In this section



The date and circumstances in which the Dominicans settled at Arundel are not known, but it is possible that they were brought there by Isabel, countess of Arundel. (fn. 1) The first mention of their convent is in 1253, when St. Richard, bishop of Chichester, left to them in his will 20s. and a book of Sentences. (fn. 2) It is not unlikely that the saint's confessor and biographer, Ralf Bocking, who was a Dominican, may have been an inmate of this house, the only one of the order in Sussex at that date. (fn. 3) When Edward I came to Arundel in May, 1297, he gave 22s. for three days' food for the friars, (fn. 4) which at the recognized rate of 4d. for a day's food, would point to a community of twenty-two brethren at this time, and a similar royal gift in 1324 of 6s. 8d. for one day's food corresponds to twenty brethren. (fn. 5)

Edmund, earl of Arundel, in 1324 obtained licence to grant to the friars 2 acres of land adjoining their precincts, (fn. 6) but no other grant of land is recorded. In 1381 Michael Northburgh, canon of Chichester, mentioned in his will that he had bound himself to bestow a sum of £40 upon the Friars Preachers of Arundel, in return for which they were to celebrate two masses for him, the first at the high altar and the second at the lower; and they were further to construct two glazed windows with the money, as set forth in an indenture made between them. (fn. 7) But in spite of numerous legacies, the house was a poor one, and in 1402, when one of the brethren, John Bourne, in the fervour of his religious zeal had himself enclosed as an anchorite in a cell of the convent he found the inconvenience of the place and the penury of the house so trying that he obtained papal licence to move to some more suitable place, taking with him his clothes, books, and other belongings. (fn. 8)

Of the inner history of this priory we can say but little. Its prior in 1314 was one of the eight English priors removed from office and declared incapable of immediate re-election by the general chapter of that year. (fn. 9) When the bishop of Dover visited Arundel in July, 1538, (fn. 10) he found the friars too poor to pay even a part of his expenses, but he recorded that the three brethren were ' in good name and favour.' Although there were only three friars here in July, 1538, when the house was surrendered in October of the same year, there were four besides the prior. (fn. 11)

Priors of Arundel.

John de Grensted, occurs 1330 (fn. 12)

John Bailly, occurs 1414 (fn. 13)

John Colwyll, surrendered 1538. (fn. 14)


  • 1. Suss. Arch. Coll. xxviii, 87.
  • 2. Ibid. i, 167.
  • 3. Ibid. xxviii, 87.
  • 4. Ibid.
  • 5. Ibid. 88.
  • 6. Pat. 17 Edw. II, pt. ii, m. 19.
  • 7. Cant. Archiepis. Reg. Courtenay, fol. 208.
  • 8. Cal. Papal Let. iv, 352; v, 470.
  • 9. Suss. Arch. Coll. xxviii, 87.
  • 10. L. and P. Hen. VIII, xiii (1), 1456.
  • 11. Ibid. xiii(2), 579.
  • 12. Suss. Arch. Coll. xii, 28.
  • 13. Cant. Archiepis. Reg. Chicheley, 275.
  • 14. L. and P. Hen. VIII, xiii (2), 579.