Friaries: Worcester

A History of the County of Worcester: Volume 2. Originally published by Victoria County History, London, 1971.

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'Friaries: Worcester', in A History of the County of Worcester: Volume 2, (London, 1971) pp. 167-173. British History Online [accessed 29 February 2024]

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The house of the Black Friars was founded in 1347 by William Beauchamp lord of Elmley, who on 5 June of that year obtained licence to alienate in mortmain to the Prior Provincial and Friars Preachers in England a plot of land called 'Belassis' within the walls of the city of Worcester, 100 perches long by 30 perches broad, which was said to be held in chief, to build a house for friars of the Order. (fn. 1) The foundation was confirmed, or 'conceded to the province,' as the phrase ran, by the general chapter of the Order at Lyons in 1348. (fn. 2) It was one of the last, if not the last, house of the Order to be established in England. On 17 February, 1349-50, Bishop John Thoresby commissioned the bishops of Hereford and Llandaff to consecrate or dedicate a place for the cemetery of the church of the Friars Preachers. (fn. 3) In 1351 William Beauchamp obtained licence to assign to the prior and brethren 2 acres of land, with their appurtenances, adjoining the house of the Friars Preachers, and said to be held of the king in free burgage. In return for this favour the friars were bound to celebrate divine service every day for the king and his heirs, and a fine of 1 mark was paid in the hanaper. (fn. 4) However, more than a century elapsed before the friars acquired full possession of this land, though they had before that built a gateway on it. The reason for the delay was a disputed title: part of the land was claimed by the prior of St. Mary's, Worcester, and part by the prior of Great Malvern. In 1455 Sir John Beauchamp of Powick, on paying 40s. in the hanaper, obtained a writ of privy seal authorizing him to carry out his ancestor's wish by granting compensation to the priors of Worcester and Great Malvern from tenements or lands which he did not hold in chief of the crown. (fn. 5)

In 1364, at the petition of John Beauchamp, 'kinsman of the earl of Warwick,' son of Giles and nephew of William Beauchamp, Urban V. granted relaxation during ten years, of a year and forty days of enjoined penance to penitents who on the principal feasts of the year visit and give alms for the repair of the church of St. Dominic of the Friars Preachers of Worcester, of which house the said John and his progenitors were founders. (fn. 6)

Richard II. in 1391 granted the prior and convent, for the enlargement of their garden, a garden called 'Pynnokeshey,' lying between the city walls on one side and the way called 'Dolday' on the other, at a rent of 6d. a year. It was in the king's hands because Audrey, late wife of Adam Barras, had granted it without licence to the church of St. Clement, Worcester, after the Statute of Mortmain. (fn. 7)

There was a school of theology here as in all Dominican convents. In 1393 Friar William Shyrburne, and in 1397 Friar Philip son of Raymund, were assigned to this house as lectors by the master-general of the Order. (fn. 8)

On 7 May, 1431, a warrant was issued by the Council for the arrest of Thomas Northfield, S.T.P., a Friar Preacher, at Worcester, and for the seizure of his magical books. (fn. 9)

The earliest extant bequest to the Friars Preachers of Worcester is contained in the will of Simon Gros of Worcester, dated 1360. (fn. 10) Katharine, wife of Thomas Beauchamp, earl of Warwick, and daughter of Roger Mortimer, earl of March, left them £20 in 1369; (fn. 11) Henry Wakefield, bishop of Worcester, left them 40s. in 1395; (fn. 12) John Halle of Worcester left them 60s. in 1451. (fn. 13)

Sir John Beauchamp, K.G., baron of Powick, in 1475 bequeathed his body to be buried in the friars' church 'in a new chapel there now to be made on the north side of the quire'; the chapel of lime and stone, with the tomb, were to be built according to the 'patroun of the portretour,' or plan specified in an indenture drawn up between the testator and John Hobbes, mason, of Gloucester: on the tomb was to be placed 'a convenient image of alabaster.' For 'the apparelling of the altar' in the chapel, Sir John bequeathed a gilt chalice, two corporax cases, mass book, vestments, and altar cloths of red velvet and cloth of gold, and of white and red silk. He also provided that a priest of the house should say mass daily in the chapel, receiving 8d. a week for ever: all the friars who were in priests' orders were to take this duty in turn. To ensure the due celebration of his yearly obit, he left to the convent 'in augmenting and amending of their fare and diet every day 2d.' Among his other bequests to the house were 'a pair of organs of mine being within the parish church of Chelsea in the county of Middlesex,' and 40 marks towards building the cloister and repairing the church and houses. (fn. 14)

Margaret, wife of Sir John Beauchamp, who died in 1487, left her body to be buried in the same church, by the body of her lord and husband, and 'ordained that a priest should sing for her soul during the term of one whole year after her decease, within the said house of friars, receiving for his pains 100s. She also willed that a tablet of alabaster should be made of the birth of our Lord, and the three kings of "Colleyn," to be set on the wall over her body when it should be buried. Likewise an image of alabaster of St. John the Evangelist, containing three-quarters of a yard in length, with the chalice in his hand, to be set over her likewise; also a candlestick of white iron, with three branches, to set on the tapers of wax of 4 lb., to burn before that image every Sunday, as long as they should endure.' Her will also contains elaborate instructions as to her burial, and bequests of vestments to the convent. (fn. 15) Richard Wycherley, O.P., titular bishop of Olenus in Greece, in 1502 desired to be buried in the choir of this church, opposite the tomb of Richard Wolsey, O.P., (fn. 16) late bishop of Down and Connor. (fn. 17)

It may be noted that Bishops Giffard, Gainsborough, and Reynolds, all of whom lived before the Black Friars were established at Worcester, were conservators of the privileges of the Friars Preachers in England. (fn. 18)

The story of the dissolution and grant of this house to the city will be told in part in connexion with the history of the Grey Friars. 'The Black Friars in Worcester,' wrote the bishop of Dover to Thomas Cromwell in August, 1538, (fn. 19) 'is a proper house without any lead, and may dispend by year in rotten houses about twenty nobles by year, but all is in decay. There was an "ancres," with whom I had not a little business to have her grant to come out, but out she is.' This friary is mentioned among 'houses of friars lately given up which have any substance of lead:' it is probably a mistake for the Grey Friars. (fn. 20)

The vestments of the Black Friars, to judge from the inventory drawn up at the time of the Dissolution, (fn. 21) were less elaborate than those of the Grey Friars. Among the ten suits may be mentioned 'a sute of blew branchyd damaske pryst decon and subdecon,' and 'pryst decon and subdecon off blacke worstede lackynge all thynge.' Most of them were incomplete in some respects. There were five single vestments, four old chasubles, twelve copes (among them 'a red cope for marteres,' and 'ii lytyll copys for chyldern'). No mention is made of any books. The church contained a pair of organs, and the steeple a great bell and a small. The inventory gives the contents of the kitchen (down to 'a broken gredyren"), of the brewhouse, and the buttery. The 'chambers' seem to have been the best furnished part of the house, containing 'v fether beddes with ther bolsteres, a tester of greene saye, iiij candelstekes, with ij basons and ij eweres, a payer of aundyeryns and a fyer schwlue, an almery and ij coferes, a tester and a syler grene saye and rede, a cubborde clothe and a towell, a salt of pewter, a carpet and vj cuscheynes, iij couerlettes.' The plate— candelsticks, cross, censer, goblets, spoons, etc.— weighed 178½ oz. In the nether sextry were four great chests, a cross banner, and four staves for the canopy. The ostry, frater, and prior's chamber contained only tables, trestles, and forms.

Some of the friars of this house appear to have accommodated themselves to the religious changes. The sheriff of Gloucester, Thomas Bell, complained to the bishop of London (9 June, 1536) that Bishop Latimer had admitted to preach a Black Friar 'called Two-year old,' who was banished from the diocese of Worcester by Dr. Bell, then chancellor, for his abominable living and drunkenness. (fn. 22) And Latimer himself after the surrender wrote to Cromwell on behalf of the prior, Richard Edwards, who, 'when he surrendered up his house, was promised his capacity freely, both for himself and all his brethren. He is honest . . . I tolerate him in my diocese, and trust you will favour him.' (fn. 23)

Lawrence Thorold was prior here in 1528. (fn. 24)


The Franciscans settled at Worcester between 1225 and 1230. It was probably there that Peter of Eport, rector of Stoke Prior, was received into the order in 1226, (fn. 25) and it is certain that the famous Adam de Marisco entered the order at Worcester not later than 1230. (fn. 26) This house was head of one of the seven custodies into which the English province was divided—the custody comprising in the fourteenth century the convents of Worcester, Coventry, Lichfield, Stafford, Preston, Shrewsbury, Chester, Llanfaes, and Bridgnorth. (fn. 27) The special characteristic of the custody under the first custodian, Robert of Leicester, was 'pura simplicitas'; 'for Friar Robert, a man of small body but large heart, was always devoted to the highest simplicity and brought many simple men into the order.' (fn. 28)

The site of the original house is unknown; it was probably within the city wall, as Henry III. in 1231 commanded the bailiffs of Worcester to enlarge the postern in the wall before the house of the friars or make them a more convenient way for bringing in firewood and other necessaries. (fn. 29) This position did not allow room for expansion, and during the ministry of Albert of Pisa (1236-9) the friars moved to a new site outside the city wall, where they seem to have remained till the Dissolution. (fn. 30) In 1246 the friars again received from the king permission to have a postern in the wall of the city, 'if it be not to the damage of the city.' (fn. 31) The friary was being enlarged or rebuilt in 1257, when the king granted the brethren six oaks in Kinefare forest for the construction of their buildings at Worcester, (fn. 32) and similar grants of 'oaks fit for timber' were made by Edward I. in 1276 and 1282. (fn. 33)

The Worcester annalist after relating the death and funeral of William Beauchamp, earl of Warwick, at the Grey Friars in 1298, continues: (fn. 34) 'And so they buried him in a place where no one had yet been interred, in which in winter time he will be said to be drowned rather than buried, where I have once seen herbs growing.' As the earl left his body to be buried in the choir of the Grey Friars, it would appear that the church had recently been rebuilt on a new site.

A provincial chapter of the order (of which no records remain) was held at Worcester in 1260. (fn. 35) In 1285 Bishop Giffard requested William of Gainsborough, vicar of the English province, to appoint Robert de Crull lector in the convent of Worcester. (fn. 36) But in 1337 the principal studium of the custody was not at Worcester, but at Coventry. (fn. 37)

The Worcester convent does not seem to have produced many learned men; the famous Johannes Wallensis is said by Bale and others to have been a Minorite of Worcester. (fn. 38) Ralph of Loxley, regent master at Oxford about 1310, was buried there—probably in his native convent. (fn. 39) Roger of Conway, the opponent of Richard Fitz-Ralph, archbishop of Armagh, belonged to the custody of Worcester, but in 1355 obtained papal licence to live in London. (fn. 40) The friary seems to have possessed a considerable theological library: two manuscripts in the British Museum can be identified as having formerly belonged to it—one containing the bible, (fn. 41) the other the letters of St. Augustine. (fn. 42)

It is clear that the Minorites of the diocese, and probably of the city of Worcester, had disputes with the parish priests about their right to hear confessions and to preach, (fn. 43) but no details seem to have been preserved. (fn. 44)

So far as they can be traced, the relations of the friars to the bishops of Worcester were friendly; their relations to the monks hostile. (fn. 45) Bishop Giffard in 1275 gave orders that the Friars Minors should be admitted to the churches throughout the diocese to preach the Crusade and grant indulgences. (fn. 46) On account of 'the sincerity of his devotion' to the Minorites, he was made partaker of all the suffrages of the order by Jerome of Ascoli, the minister general, in 1278, and the privilege was confirmed by Jerome's successor, Bonagratia, in 1282. (fn. 47) On the Sunday following the feast of St. Francis in the latter year the bishop celebrated mass in the Grey Friars' Church, and supplied food to all the brethren. (fn. 48) In 1384, ' wishing to help the Friars Minors and the nuns dwelling in Worcester in their poverty,' he ordered the bailiff of Worcester to deliver to the friars ' two quarters of good and pure corn and half a mark of silver to buy herrings,' and supply similar provisions to the nuns. (fn. 49) In 1290 the Franciscan archbishop of Canterbury, John Peckham, thought it necessary to remind Giffard of the privileges of the Friars Minors as to hearing confessions and granting absolution without the consent of the parish priest, (fn. 50) and about the same time he interfered vigorously in a quarrel between the Minorites and the monks of Worcester.

The quarrel arose over the burial of Henry Poche, a citizen of Worcester. Monks and friars both claimed the body. On 1 March, 1289-90, the sacristan of St. Mary's obtained it by force and buried it in the cathedral cemetery, in spite of the opposition of many friars. There was something of a tumult, and the friars suffered some injury. They appealed to the archbishop, complaining that they had been attacked and wounded by the monks, and demanding redress of grievances. A rumour of the riot reached the king. Peckham took up their cause with energy. He wrote to the bishop of Worcester stating the friars' case and declaring that the wrong could not be endured. Giffard was slow to move, and received in July a peremptory letter from the archbishop, ordering him to have the body exhumed and given back to the friars, or to cite the prior and convent to appear before the archbishop before 1 August. Bishop Godfrey held a formal inquiry into the matter on 24 July, and, according to the monastic annalist, a jury of clerks and laymen found that the last wish of the deceased was to be buried in the cemetery of St. Mary, and that no one had hurt the friars intentionally, but that by the pressure of the crowd they had been forced on to some dung heaps, where they had stumbled and fallen.

Peckham was not satisfied with this result: on 13 December, 1290, the prior received notice that if the body was not restored to the friars within a fortnight, he and the elders of his house would be suspended. The monks yielded, stipulating that the friars should take away the body privately. ' But instead of that,' writes the Worcester annalist, 'on the day after the feast of St. Thomas the Apostle (22 December) with great pomp and uproar, explaining their right to the people in the mother tongue, and inviting all they could to the spectacle, to our confusion, they carried the body away through the great square, singing, amidst an uproarious scene.' (fn. 51)

Meantime an attempt had been made to avoid such scandals in future by a compromise: mass for the dead was first to be celebrated in the cathedral church: then, 'provided that no loss accrue to the church, if the Friars Minors can lawfully prove that the bodies have been bequeathed to them, they shall be free to carry them away to their place of burial.' It does not appear whether the friars accepted this settlement. (fn. 52)

The next bishop, William of Gainsborough, was himself a Franciscan, and the Worcester friars took a prominent part in the ceremonies of his enthronement. (fn. 53) He and several of his successors were appointed by the Apostolic See to the office of ' conservator of the privileges of the Friars Minors in England.' (fn. 54)

Among the benefactors of the house the Beauchamps are the most prominent. In 1268 William Beauchamp, lord of Elmley, father of the first earl of Warwick of this family, bequeathed his body to be buried in the church of the Friars Minors of Worcester and directed that at his funeral a horse fully armoured with all military caparisons should go before his corpse. To the convent he gave 40s. (fn. 55)

William Beauchamp, Earl of Warwick, son of the above, by will made in 1296 (fn. 56) left his body to be buried in the choir of the Friars Minors, to whom he also bequeathed two great horses, namely those which at his funeral should carry his armour, and further £200 for the solemnizing of his funeral. He died 9 June, 1298. The Worcester annalist (fn. 57) attributes his decision to be buried here rather than with his ancestors in the cathedral church, to the influence of Brother John of Olney. 'At length,' he goes on, 'on 22 June, the friars, having got hold of the body of so great a man, like conquerors who had obtained booty, paraded the public streets, and made a spectacle for the citizens.'

Guy, Earl of Warwick, son of William, buried his mother, Maud, daughter of John FitzGeoffrey, here in 1300 next her husband, 'though in her lifetime she arranged to be buried elsewhere.' (fn. 58)

Sir Nicholas de Muthon (Mitton), Knt., in 1290 left legacies to the friars of Worcester and other places; he bequeathed his body to be buried at Bredon, and his heart in the place of the Friars Minors of Worcester, and with his heart £40 for the fabric of six altars in the same place. (fn. 59)

Sir Walter Cokesey, Knt., in 1295 bequeathed his body to be buried here among the Friars Minors, and gave them 10 marks of silver instead of his armour, which was to go before his corpse, but to be returned to his son Walter; (fn. 60) the horse which carried his armour was to become the property of the friars. Bishop Godfrey Giffard left the Friars Minors of Worcester 100s. (fn. 61) Katharine, widow of Thomas Beauchamp, earl of Warwick, left them £20 in 1369. (fn. 62) Henry Wakefield, bishop of Worcester, left them 40s. in 1395. (fn. 63) William ap Rees was buried here, and left the friars 20s. in 1446. (fn. 64) John Halle of Worcester left them 40s. in 1451. (fn. 65) Sir John Beauchamp, K.G., Baron Powick, in 1475 left 'to the house or priory of the Grey Friars of Worcester iiii torches, or some other necessary thing behoveful for their church.' (fn. 66) Margaret Leynham, widow of Sir John Leynham, Knt., in 1482 directed she should be buried 'in the quere of the church of the Grey Freres of Worcester,' if she died in that county, and bequeathed to the house 50 marks, and to Dr. Wibbe, 'prior' of the said house, £20. But she subsequently annulled both bequests, 'insomuch as she shall not now be buried there,' and left to Dr. Wibbe 'only 40s., over the reward that she gave him afore her departing out of the country.' (fn. 67)

Sir Robert Throckmorton, Knt., whose will was proved in 1520, desired that 'ther be said for my soule in as shorte space as it may be doon after my deceas twoo trentalles in the Graye ffrieris of Worceter (and elsewhere), and for every of thes trentalles I will there be gyven xs. apece.' (fn. 68)

The Grey Friars had also, Nash notes, (fn. 69) 'several benefactors amongst the gentry of this county, whose arms are still remaining in the bow window of their great hall, now part of the city gaol; those of Throgmorton, Besford, Russel, Hodyngton, Bridges, and another—sable . . . . between three crescents argent.' (fn. 70)

Though Edward II. granted the Friars Minors of Worcester a charter of confirmation in 1322, in which he speaks of the place and areas given to them by 'our ancestors and others,' (fn. 71) the house seems to have owed little to royal bounty until the end of the fifteenth century. In September, 1483, Richard III. granted to Friar Thomas Jonys, of the house of the Friars Minors, within the city of Worcester, a meadow called 'Digley' (Diglis), lying under the castle, during pleasure; it was in the king's hands owing to the minority of Edward, earl of Warwick. (fn. 72) In December of the same year he granted to Master Peter Webbe, S.T.P. warden, and the Friars Minors of the house of St. Francis, Worcester, the king's moiety of the manor of Pyrye (Perry) by Worcester, and a mill under the castle of Worcester called 'Frogge Mille,' a street adjoining (called Frog Lane till the end of the nineteenth century), with their appurtenances, to hold during the minority of Edward, earl of Warwick, at a rent of £6 a year. (fn. 73) In May, 1485, the rent was remitted, 'because the dormitory of their house, which was ruinous, fell down on the evening of St. Laurence's day' (10 August), and the daily celebration of masses 'for the good estate of the king and the soul of his father' substituted for the money payment. (fn. 74)

The religious changes of Henry VIII.'s reign found the friars divided. In 1536 the sheriff of Gloucester sends to the bishop of London information about 'the disorderly and colorable preaching of certain of the bishop of Worcester's preachers.' 'He will not suffer any D.D. or B.D. of the diocese to preach, who are known for discreet men and learned, but has admitted the warden of the Grey Friars, Worcester. . . . and divers other light persons, who follow the parson of Stawton (Staunton near Gloucester) to the disquiet of Christian people,' and preach against Purgatory, prayers for the dead and so on. The writer trusts 'that by you and the duke of Norfolk the premisses will be redressed' (June 9). (fn. 75) Next year, Thomas Cromwell is interested in the case of 'a friar, a Scot born,' who is in ward with the bailiffs of Worcester for traitorous words. (fn. 76) The nature of these and his fate do not appear.

The visitation of the friaries took place in 1538. On 23 May, Richard Ingworth, bishop of Dover, wrote to Cromwell that he had been to Worcester and other places in the west, visiting the friars' houses, and found everywhere poverty, 'and moche schiffte made with suche as theie had before, as yewellys selling, and other schiffte by leasys.' He put a stop to this by making indentures and sequestering the common seals, 'so that I thinke before the yere be owt ther schall be very fewe housis abill to lyve, but schall be glade to giffe up their howseis.' (fn. 77)

The two houses of friars in Worcester surrendered on 4 August into the hands of the bishop of Dover, 'considering that they were not able to live for very poverty, and no charity had come to them as of old, for in the space of six weeks each house had run at least £3 in debt.' (fn. 78) The bishop had a good deal of difficulty in getting the Grey Friars to surrender. 'They be so close to each other that no man can come within them to know their hearts.' (fn. 79)

The inventory of the Grey Friars at the time of the Dissolution (fn. 80) shows that they possessed ten complete suits (priest, deacon, and sub-deacon), many of them elaborately ornamented with fishes of gold, stars of gold, birds, harts, and lions; a number of single vestments decorated with fleur de lis of gold, dragons, harts, lions of gold, angels of gold, flowers, stars, Katherine wheels, 'green popinjays and silver heads,' and 'one of silk of divers colours with the ragged staff'—perhaps a gift from the Beauchamps. In the dormitory were two feather beds with their bolsters, two pairs of blankets, five poor coverings, four good mattresses, and two bolsters. In the 'custere's' (custodian's?) chamber were three bedsteads, two chairs, and three poor forms; and in the minister's chamber two bedsteads, a chair, and a few other articles. Among the contents of the kitchen were 'xiii. platers and dyschys and one sawser and iii. counterfeit dyschys.' The brewhouse and buttery present no features of special interest. The service books consisted of five antiphonars, five graduals and a chanter's book, six psalters, two 'versycull' books, three mass books for the altars, a gospel book, and a 'priest book.' In the quire were a pair of organs and a 'frame for the sepulcher,' and two bells in the steeple. The plate, consisting of two chalices, a pix and cruets, three masers, and two 'paxseys off yuery bonde aboute with sylver,' weighed 86 oz.

The Bailiffs, Aldermen, and Common Council petitioned Cromwell to get the friars' houses granted to the city for the repair of the walls and bridge, which were decayed. 'The stone of the said houses is very meet for the purpose. (fn. 81) 'They are set in two barren sides, (fn. 82) where is no defence but the said houses joined to the walls.' The churches should be pulled down to make towers and 'fortytudes' in the walls. (fn. 83) Latimer also wrote to Cromwell on behalf of the city, mentioning as a third object to which the property should be applied the maintenance of the school, which had hitherto been supported by the guild of the Holy Trinity. (fn. 84)

In December, 1539, a grant was made to the bailiffs and citizens for £541 0s. 10d. of the house and site of 'lez Blacke Frears' in the city of Worcester, and of the house and site of 'lez Grey Frears' near the said city, and within the liberties thereof; the churches, steeple, and churchyards of the said houses, and twenty messuages, lands, etc., in the said city, and in Powick, Warmedon, and Severn Stoke belonging to the said houses. The city was to hold the property of the king by the service of the twentieth part of one knight's fee and an annual rent of 26s. 8d. (fn. 85)

No materials exist from which a list of either the custodians or the wardens could be compiled. Besides those already mentioned, the warden of the Friars Minors, Worcester, acted on a papal commission to investigate charges of disobedience brought by the patriarch of Jerusalem against certain persons in 1287; (fn. 86) between 1333 and 1337 the warden was among those commissioned by Bishop Simon de Monte Acuto, in consequence of a papal bull, 'to convoke the clergy and people, and to address the clergy in Latin, the people in the mother tongue, and to preach the word of the cross.' (fn. 87)


There is no evidence of the existence of a house of this order in Worcester. Nash says: 'Within this parish of St. Nicholas towards the bottom of the Angel Lane, between that and the Broad Street, was a religious house belonging to the friers of the Holy Trinity, for the redemption of captives.' (fn. 88) He also states that the new churchyard in this parish (i.e. All Saints), consecrated in 1644, 'was formerly called the garden-ground in Angel Lane, or Friars' Orchard, and did belong to the Friars of the Holy Trinity over against it.' (fn. 89) There can be little doubt that the chantry of the Holy Trinity in the parish of St. Nicholas, founded in 1371, has been mistaken for a house of the Trinitarian Order. (fn. 90)


Henry III. granted six oaks to the Penitent Sisters of Worcester on 13 February, 1240-1. (fn. 91) Nothing more is known about them.


There was a house of this order in Worcester at the end of the reign of Henry III. On 5 March, 1271-2, the king granted them in free alms the street (vicus) called 'Dolday,' 120 or 140 ft. in length, and 11 ft. in width, for the augmentation of their place. The jurors who held the 'inquisitio ad quod damnum' in February declared that the grant would not be injurious but 'to the advantage and honour of the king and to the advantage of the citizens.' (fn. 92) The Order was suppressed by the Council of Lyons in 1274. (fn. 93)


  • 1. Pat. 21 Edw. III. pt. iv. m. 14.
  • 2. Acta Capitulorum Generalium Ordinis Prædicatorum, ii. 324 (in vol. iv. of Mon. Ord. Præd. ed. Reichert, Romæ, 1899). 'Item concedimus provincie Anglie unam domum ponendam in civitate Vigorniensi.'
  • 3. Worc. Epis. Reg. Thoresby, f. 6.
  • 4. Pat. 24 Edw. III. pt. i. m. 29.
  • 5. Pat. 33 Hen. VI. pt. ii. m. 9; Reliquary xx. 26-7.
  • 6. Cal of Papal Reg.: Petitions, i. 499; Papal Letters, iv. 40, 9 May, 1364.
  • 7. Pat. 15 Ric. II. pt. i. m. 30.
  • 8. Reliquary, xx. 27; B. M. MS. Add. 32,446 (Extracts from the Registers of the Masters-General of the Order of Friars Preachers, by the Rev. C. F. R. Palmer), f. 7. 'Item eodem die (xx. Jun. 1397) frater Philippus Raymundi fuit assignatus pro lectore Wyconiensi.'
  • 9. Rymer, Fæd. x. 504.
  • 10. Worc. Epis. Reg. Brian, f. 100v.
  • 11. Nicolas, Test. Vetusta, p. 78; Dugdale, Baronage, i. 234.
  • 12. P. C. C. Rous, f. 26.
  • 13. Ibid. f. 126 v.
  • 14. P.C. C. Logg, f. 99b; Dugdale, Baronage, i. 250; Nicolas, Test. Vetusta, 338.
  • 15. P. C. C. Milles, f. 3; Dugdale, Baronage, i. 249-250.
  • 16. Bodl. MS. Wood B. 13 (Wills from the Prerogative Office, St. Paul's, London; Reg. Blamyn); Reliquary, xx. 27-28.
  • 17. A few other bequests may be noted: Maud Longency of Worcester, 1371 (5s.), Worc. Epis. Reg. W. Lynne, f. 54; Elias Spelly, 1391, (40s. for the fabric of their house), P. C. C. Rous, f. 57; William ap Rees, 1446 (10s.), P. C. C. Rous, f. 95.
  • 18. Worc. Epis. Reg. Giffard (Worc. Hist. Soc.), p. 116; Worc. Epis. Reg. Gainsborough, f. 8, 9; Ibid. Reynolds, f. 53, 78v.
  • 19. Ellis, Original Letters, 3rd ser. iii. 189; L. and P. Hen. VIII. xiii. pt. 2, no. 49.
  • 20. Ibid. No 489. 'A porch of a lodging, divers gutters, with part of the steeple, lead.'
  • 21. R. O. Chapt. Ho. Bks. 153, ff. 76-77; L. and P. Hen. VIII. vol. xiii. pt. 1, no. 1513; Reliquary, xx. 29.
  • 22. L. and P. Hen. VIII. vol. x. no. 1099.
  • 23. Ibid. xiii. pt. ii. no. 646 (19 Oct. 1538); Latimer's Remains, 405-6.
  • 24. Reliquary, xx. 28.
  • 25. Ann. Mon. (Rolls Ser.), iv. 419.
  • 26. Th. de Eccleston, De Adventu Minorum, Rolls Ser. (Mon. Franciscana, i. 16); Little, The Grey Friars in Oxford (Oxf. Hist. Soc.), 135.
  • 27. Th. de Eccleston, ut supra, 27, 28. Eubel, Provinciale O.F.M. Vetustissimum (Quaracchi, 1892), p. 12.
  • 28. Th. de Eccleston, ut supra, corrected by MS. Phillipps, 3119, f. 74, where a gloss is added: ' potius promovit sibi subditos simplicis vitæ quam dissolutos magnæ scientiæ vel literaturæ.' On the Franciscan virtue of pura simplicitas, cf. Sabatiar, Speculum Perfectionis, pp. lxxi. 167, etc.
  • 29. Close, 15 Hen. III. m. 2 (Dat. Worc. 3 Oct.).
  • 30. Th. de Eccleston, p. 34. L. and P. Hen. VIII. vol. xiv, pt. 1, no. 102, and pt. 2, no. 780. Leland, Itinerary, iv. 104.
  • 31. Close, 30 Hen. III. m. 12.
  • 32. Close, 41 Hen. III. m. 2 (Worc. 26 Sept.); cf. Close, 40 Hen. III. m. 5.
  • 33. Close, 4 Edw. I. m. 4 and 10 Edw. I. m. 7.
  • 34. Ann. Mon. (Rolls Ser.), iv. p. 537.
  • 35. Ibid. 446.
  • 36. Worc. Epis. Reg. Giffard (Worc. Hist. Soc.), p 263.
  • 37. MS. Bodl. Can. Misc. 75, f. 78. Trans. of the Royal Hist. Soc. vol. viii. p. 69 (1895).
  • 38. Bale, Index Scriptorum, p. 211. Peterhouse Cambridge, MS. 18, 1. Dict. Nat. Biog. lix. 119.
  • 39. The Grey Friars in Oxford, p. 165.
  • 40. Ibid. 239, and Bull. Franc. vi. 289. In Cal. Papal L. iii. 563 he is wrongly described as 'warden of Worcester.'
  • 41. MS. Burney, i. marked ' Biblia 13.'
  • 42. MS. Royal, 5 B. v. marked 'Augustinus 10.'
  • 43. Worc. Epis. Reg. Giffard (Worc. Hist. Soc.), pp. 371, 372; Worc. Epis. Reg. Gainsborough, f. 6v, cf. Ann. Mon. (Rolls Series), iv. 545.
  • 44. A very curious entry in Bishop Giffard's register, f. 299 (ed. Willis Bund, p. 349), may be noted here. The custody of the church of Shipton, to which Henry de Schypt, whose institution has been deferred, has been presented, is committed to W. de Oldeswell, priest, so that he keep the said presentee according to the orders of the Friars Minors of Shipton, in school and sustenance, until the bishop ordains otherwise (10 Kal. Apr. 1288).
  • 45. The provincials of the Dominicans and Franciscans were ordered in 1261 by the pope to make inquiries in the diocese of Worcester (among others) into the number of churches held by religious, the stipends of vicars, etc.—the pope having received information as to the ' reported cupidity of religious' in getting churches appropriated to them. Bliss, Papal Letters, i. 375.
  • 46. Worc. Epis. Reg. Giffard (Worc. Hist. Soc.), p. 83.
  • 47. Ibid. pp. 94, 156. Thomas's Survey of Cath. Ch. of Worc., App. no. 51. Giffard was not, as Mr. Willis Bund thinks, a Minorite.
  • 48. Worc. Epis. Reg. Giffard (Worc. Hist. Soc.), p. 165.
  • 49. Ibid. p. 231.
  • 50. Ibid. pp. 371, 372.
  • 51. Ann. Mon. (Rolls Ser.), iv. pp. 499-500, 502-3, 504. Worc. Epis. Reg. Giffard (Worc. Hist. Soc.), pp. 371, 388. The anonymous chronicle preserved in MS. Cotton Cleop. B. xiii., which is certainly by a Franciscan, and which Hardy (Descr. Catal. iii. 276) ascribes without sufficient grounds to a Franciscan of Worcester, merely says (f. 152): ' eodem anno in crastino S. Thome apostoli restitutum est fratribus minoribus Wigorniæ corpus Henrici Poche civis Wigorn., quod eis a monachis injuriose ac violenter ablatum fuerat A.D. MCC. 89.' The dispute is referred to by the Monk of Westminster, Flores Historiarum (Rolls Ser.), iii. 75.
  • 52. Ann. Mon. (Rolls Ser.), iv. 500.
  • 53. Thomas, Survey, no. 76.
  • 54. See Worc. Epis. Reg. Gainsborough f. 8; Wulstan de Bransford, i. f. 13; Thoresby, f. 29; Simon de Monte Acuto, ii. f. 10v.; Adam de Horlton, ii. f. 49v.; Cobham, f. 43. The last entry is a letter of the bishop as conservator of the privileges of the Friars Minors in England to A. de B. concerning iv. marks bequeathed by B. de C. to the said friars, which were sequestrated by A. de B. on behalf of the rector of Tredentone (Worc.) of which parish deceased was a parishioner. The bishop commands that 40s. sterling be paid to the warden and brethren (no date).
  • 55. Worc. Epis. Reg. Giffard (Worc. Hist. Soc.), p. 7-9; Nicolas, Test. Vetusta. p. 50; Dugdale, Baronage, i. 227; Nash, Worcestershire, ii. App. p. cli.
  • 56. Nicolas, Test. Vetusta. p. 52; Dugdale, Baronage, i. 229 (from Giffard's Register).
  • 57. Ann. Mon. (Rolls Ser.), iv. p. 537.
  • 58. Ibid. p. 549.
  • 59. Worc. Epis. Reg. Giffard (Worc. Hist. Soc.), p. 388-390.
  • 60. Nash, Worcestershire, vol. ii. App. p. cli. Dugdale, Antiq. of Warwickshire, p. 930 (from Giffard's Register).
  • 61. Worc. Epis. Reg. Gainsborough, f. 17.
  • 62. Ibid. Lynne, f. 52 v.
  • 63. P. C. C. Rous, f. 26.
  • 64. Ibid. f. 95.
  • 65. Ibid. f. 126b.
  • 66. P. C. C. Logg, qu. 13.
  • 67. Ibid. f. 41 seq.
  • 68. P. C. C. Maynwaring, qu. 2.
  • 69. Worcestershire, ii. App. p. cli.
  • 70. For further bequests, see the wills of John of Worcester called son of Peter, 1292 (Worc. Epis. Reg. Giffard (Worc. Hist. Soc.), p. 422); William de Loriaco, rector of the church of Bredon, 1310 (Worc. Epis. Reg. Reynolds, f. 31); Simon Gros of Worcester, 1360 (Worc. Epis. Reg. Brian, f. 100v); Matilda Longency of Worcester, 1371 (Ibid. Lynne, f. 54); Elias Spelly, c. 1391 (P. C. C. Rous, f. 57).
  • 71. Pat. 15 Edw. II. pt. i, m. 2.
  • 72. Cal. Pat. 1 Ric. III. pt. v. m. 7.
  • 73. Ibid. m. 14.
  • 74. Pat. 2 Ric. III. pt. iii. m. 23.
  • 75. L. and P. Hen. VIII. vol. x. no. 1099.
  • 76. Ibid. vol. xii. pt. i. no. 969; and pt. ii. no. 1299.
  • 77. Ibid. xiii. pt. i, no. 1052; and Wright, Letters relating to the suppression of Monasteries, p. 193-4.
  • 78. L. and P. Hen. VIII. vol. xiii. pt. ii. no. 32.
  • 79. Ibid. xiii. pt. ii. no. 49; from Ellis, Orig. Letters, 3rd ser. iii. 189-190.
  • 80. Chap. Ho. Books, 153, ff. 78-79. L. and P. Hen. VIII. vol. xiii. pt. i. no. 1513.
  • 81. L. and P. Hen. VIII. pt. ii. no. 540 (5 October, 1538).
  • 82. Ibid. xiv. pt. i. no. 102 (5 January, 1539).
  • 83. Ibid. xiv. pt. i. no. 543 (17 March, 1539).
  • 84. Ibid. xiii. pt. ii. no. 543 (6 October, 1538); Latimer's Remains, p. 402.
  • 85. Ibid. xiv. pt. ii. no. 780, § 9 (9 Dec. 1539); Exch. Ministers' Accounts, 30-31 Hen. VIII. 230 (Worcestershire). In these accounts the receiver charges 78s. 8d. for the expenses of himself and his servants during four days at Worcester in June, 1539, 'pro edificiis superfluis infra precinctum earundum domorum (i.e. fratrum Minorum) appreciandis et valuandis.' Cf. Gasquet, Hen. VIII. and the Engl. Mon. ii. 74. In the Scudamore Papers (B. M. MS. Add. 11041) Robert Burgoyne refers to 'my painful and long circuit that I am in, in surveying the late friars' houses in Worcester,' 25 June (f. 30). It is not clear to which houses the following passage refers in a letter of Burgoyne, dated 5 July (f. 31): 'Howbeit, Mr. Giffard and I have sold in friars' houses all the building; the cause was for that they were so spoiled and torn by such as sold the goods that in manner were down, and if they should not have been sold the king should have had nothing thereof.'
  • 86. Worc. Epis. Reg. Giffard (Worc. Hist. Soc.), p. 307.
  • 87. Worc. Epis. Reg. Montacute, bk. ii, f. 15.
  • 88. Nash, Worc. ii. App. p. cxxxix. There is a street still (1905) called the Trinity.
  • 89. Ibid. p. cxxxiv.
  • 90. Prattinton MS. collection, Mon. 152d (Soc. of Antiq.). There are several references to the order in the Worc. Epis. Reg. (e.g. Simon de Monte Acuto, i. f. 9; Silvester de Gigliis, f. 199), but none to any house of the order at Worcester.
  • 91. Close, 25 Hen. III. m. 14.
  • 92. Inq. a.q.d. file 3 (30), formerly Inquis. p.m. 56 Hen. III. no. 47; Pat. 56 Hen. III. m. 19. According to the Inquisitio the length of the street was 140 ft.; according to the Pat. Roll 120 ft.
  • 93. Extracts from the constitutions of this little known order are printed in Eng. Hist. Rev. ix. 121 seq.