Greyfriars, Bristol

Bristol, United Kingdom

Greyfriars, Bristol

Greyfriars, in Bristol, England, was a Franciscan friary. The name Greyfriars derived from the grey robes worn by the friars. It was founded at some time before 1234, within the town walls and then moved to Lewin's Mead in 1250. The site included extensive gardens surrounded by a stone wall. Following the Dissolution of the Monasteries in the sixteenth century, the premises were leased to the town council in 1541, who desired to use the stone to make repairs to the town walls, and the harbour facilities. In succeeding centuries many different uses have been made of the site, which is currently occupied by an office block and part of Bristol Dental School.

The friary was established at some time before 1234, this being known because Henry III granted wood for fuel to the friars in that year, followed by further grants of oak wood and fresh fish landed at Bristol. The friars wore long grey coats, with a grey hood or cowl, hence the name, grey friars. Originally located within the town walls, the friary was moved to Lewin's Mead in 1250. This followed the diversion of the river Frome into St Augustine's Reach. A marshy area on the north bank of the Frome was drained and some of the clay and rock from the excavations was deposited on it.

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