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Blackfriars, Gloucester: 2 reviews and 7 photos
Built between 1239 and 1270 Blackfriars is one of the most complete Dominican Priories to survive from the Middle Ages.
The Dominican of Black Friars order was founded in 1217 by St Dominic and they first arrived in England in 1221. The Friars were essentially teachers and evangelists and they either travelled alone around the countyside or lived in urban friaries.
The Gloucester Black Friars were founded in 1239 on a site once a part of the bailey of the old Norman castle.
In accordance with their role as teachers the friars at Gloucester established a library, which is the oldest surviving in Britain today.
The friary prospered for the next two centuriesbut was in a steady decline by the early sixteenth century with the former complement of between thirty or forty friars reduced to a prior and only six brethren living in extreme poverty by the time of the Dissolution.
In 1539 Sir Thomas Bell who was a wealthy Gloucester 'capper and clothier', purchased the property for £240.5s.4d. He remodelled the church turning it into a private house with the other buildings being converted for cloth munutacture and providing employment for over 300 local people.
Sir Thomas Bell died in 1566 followed a year later by his wife and the property passed to the Dennis family until the late seventeenth century and by the 1930s Bell?s mansion had been divided into two separate houses along with various industrial units.
The buildings have since been restored and opened to the public.
When we visited in Febuary 2011 the Abbey buildings were undergoing restoration and it was closed.
Adult £3.50 per ticket
Child £3.00 per ticket
English Heritage Members £3.00 per ticket
Address: Ladybellgate Street, Gloucester, GL1 2HN
Directions: City centre
Phone: 0870 333 1181
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