City Centre Tour 23. Greyfriars

Greyfriars was a medieval monastic house founded in 1231AD by the Franciscan order. They earned their name because of the grey habits they wore to symbolise their vow of poverty.

Like the nearby Blackfriars Priory, it was constructed with grants of oak wood from the Royal Forest of Dean due to Henry III’s close association with the city.

Much of the perpendicular gothic architecture you can see today originates from the 1518 rebuild by the Berkeley family. Following the dissolution of the monasteries, advantage was taken of a nearby plentiful supply of fresh water, when the church was turned into a brewery.

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Fun Fact

The monks of other orders in Gloucester wore different coloured robes. The Benedictine monks at St Peter’s Abbey (now the cathedral) wore brown robes. The Carmelites were known as the Whitefriars for obvious reasons, but no trace of their house in the north east of the city remains. And of course the Dominican monks at Blackfriars Priory wore black cloaks over white robes.

Location

Longitude and latitude for Greyfriars: 51.863209,-2.245504

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