Greyfriars, Dunwich

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Remains of Greyfriars Priory south range buildings, probably the refectory

Greyfriars, Dunwich was a Franciscan friary in Dunwich in the English county of Suffolk. The friary was founded before 1277 by Richard FitzJohn and his wife Alice and dissolved in 1538.[1] The original site, which had 20 friars in 1277 when it first appears in records, was threatened by coastal erosion and the friary was moved inland in 1289.[1]

Many of the buildings are believed to have been destroyed on dissolution, with the remains used as a house, a town hall and a jail at various times. Modern remains consist of a precinct wall, two gatehouses and some two-storey walls believed to be the remains of a cloister building, possibly a refectory or infirmary building.[1][2]

Dunwich Greyfriars gateway

The site was partly excavated in the 1930s and 1990s, with geophysical surveys being carried out on the site.[2] The site was surveyed in 2011 as part of a dig by archaeological television programme Time Team. A geophysical survey using ground-penetrating radar confirmed a range of wall features and other anomalies in the precinct[3] and trenches uncovered carved medieval stonework and medieval window glass fragments.[2][4] Geophysical surveys suggest that the friary church may have been up to 60 metres in length.[2]

Some restoration work was carried out in 2008, including the strengthening of some buildings and repair of collapsed section of the precinct wall.[5] The site was then placed on the Heritage at Risk Register,[6] leading to a £250,000 restoration project in 2012 by English Heritage and Suffolk County Council.[7][8] The management of the site was taken over by a local voluntary group, the Dunwich Greyfriars Trust, in October 2013.[8][9] The transfer occurred after budget cuts by the county council meant that the running costs would no longer be met by the council.[7][8][10] The remains are classified as a Grade II* listed building and most of the site as a Scheduled Monument.[11][12]

See also[edit]

List of monastic houses in Suffolk


  1. ^ a b c Historic England. "Dunwich Greyfriars (392095)". PastScape. Retrieved 2014-02-23.
  2. ^ a b c d Dunwich, Suffolk - archaeological evaluation and assessment of results, Wessex Archaeology, May 2012. Retrieved 2014-02-23.
  3. ^ Greyfriars, Dunwich Museum. Retrieved 2014-02-23.
  4. ^ Dig report: Dunwich, Time Team, Channel 4. Retrieved 2014-02-23.
  5. ^ Priory in 'lost' town is restored, BBC news website, 2008-12-03. Retrieved 2014-02-24.
  6. ^ Heritage at Risk Register 2011 - East of England, English Heritage, 2011. Retrieved 2014-02-24.
  7. ^ a b Ruins in Dunwich and Clare given £400,000 for restoration, BBC news website, 2012-07-30. Retrieved 2014-02-23.
  8. ^ a b c Dunwich Greyfriars site taken over by charitable trust, BBC news website, 2013-10-29. Retrieved 2014-02-23.
  9. ^ New future for Dunwich Greyfriars, Suffolk County Council, 2013-10-29. Retrieved 2014-02-23.
  10. ^ Suffolk County Council plans to cut country parks, BBC news website, 2011-02-15. Retrieved 2014-02-23.
  11. ^ Remains of Grey Friars Monastery, Dunwich, British Listed Buildings. Retrieved 2014-02-23.
  12. ^ Historic England. "Grey Friars (1006039)". National Heritage List for England. Retrieved 2014-02-23.

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 52°16′32″N 1°37′51″E / 52.2755°N 1.6307°E / 52.2755; 1.6307