Blackfriars in London

L.W. Cowie takes the reader on a visit to a city monastery, for three hundred years associated with the Dominicans and, after the Reformation, with the theatre.

The second general chapter of the Order of Dominicans, meeting at Bologna under Dominic himself, decided to send thirteen friars on an immediate English mission. They landed in England in 1221, halted at Canterbury and proceeded to London. Some went on to Oxford, where they built the first English priory of the Order in that year.

Those in London had built their priory by 1224 on a site to the south of Holborn and east of Chancery Lane, the land having been given to them by Hubert de Burgh, the Chief Justiciar; and soon afterwards they gave hospitality in it for a few days to members of the second order of friars to arrive in London, the Franciscans, who then hired for themselves a house in Cornhill.

By 1250 the Priory of the Dominicans must have had considerable buildings because, when a General Chapter was held there that year, four hundred members of the Order attended; and in 1262 the friars were granted a licence to enclose land for the enlargement of the Priory.

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