The Friaries of Medieval London

From Foundation to Dissolution

Reddit icon
e-mail icon
Twitter icon
Facebook icon
Google icon
LinkedIn icon
Nick Holder
  • London, England: 
    Boydell & Brewer Publishers
    , October
     384 pages.
     For other formats: Link to Publisher's Website.
Review coming soon!

Review by Peter Carlson forthcoming.


A lavishly illustrated account of the buildings of the friars in the middle ages, bringing them vividly to life with contributions from Ian M. Betts, Jens Röhrkasten, Mark Samuel, and Christian Steer.

The friaries of medieval London formed an important part of the city's physical and spiritual landscape between the thirteenth and sixteenth centuries. These urban monasteries housed 300 or more preacher-monks who lived an enclosed religious life and went out into the city to preach. The most important orders were the Dominican Black friars and the Franciscan Grey friars but London also had houses of Augustine, Carmelite and Crossed friars, and, in the thirteenth century, Sack and Pied friars.

This book offers an illustrated interdisciplinary study of these religious houses, combining archaeological, documentary, cartographic and architectural evidence to reconstruct the layout and organisation of nine priories. After analysing and describing the great churches and cloisters, and their precincts with burial grounds and gardens, it moves on to examine more general historical themes, including the spiritual life of the friars, their links to living and dead Londoners, and the role of the urban monastery. The closure of these friaries in the 1530s is also discussed, along with a brief revival of one friary in the reign of Mary.

About the Author(s)/Editor(s)/Translator(s): 

Nick Holder is a historian and archaeologist at English Heritage and the University of Exeter. He has written extensively on medieval and early modern London.

Add New Comment

Reading Religion welcomes comments from AAR members, and you may leave a comment below by logging in with your AAR Member ID and password. Please read our policy on commenting.

Log in to post comments