The Greyfriars Cloisters

Greyfriars. From Row 92, the ruins of the Franciscan Friary can be viewed. It was founded here most likely before 1270, and the precinct stretched from the river to Middlegate Street and from Row 83 to Row 96. The Friary was suppressed in 1538, by Richard Ingworth, and acquired by John Woodroffe in 1657, who drove a road, now Queen Street, through the precinct on the site of the nave of the former Friary church. In the 16th century, some of the Friary buildings were converted into houses, and later uses for parts of the site included an orchard, a militia training yard and a school. The bombing of this area in 1941-2, exposed the ruins of the Friary, which we can see today. Four bays of the cloister survive and it has the distinction of being the only surviving vaulted Franciscan cloister in the United Kingdom. Tudor fireplaces and wooden mullioned window frames can still be seen in the ruins, and tomb recesses with limestone canopies survive at the back of a fireplace, together with medieval tomb slabs. There are the remains of a high-quality wall-painting dated at about 1310 on the back of the west tomb recess. The ruins are in the care of English Heritage, and are occasionally open to the public.

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