25. HOUSE OF FRANCISCAN FRIARS, CHICHESTER
The date at which the Franciscans first came
to Chichester is not known, but it may well have
been soon after their arrival in England in 1225,
as Brother Walter de Colevile, one of the first of
the friars to come to this country, had relations
in Chichester. (fn. 1) They had certainly been settled
some little time before 1253, when Henry III
confirmed the grant made in their favour by
his brother Richard, earl of Cornwall, of a lane
adjoining their premises. (fn. 2) In the same year
St. Richard, bishop of Chichester, bequeathed to
the Friars Minor of Chichester 20s. and a psalter. (fn. 3)
In 1269 the friars were allowed to move their
house from the original cramped position to the
vacant site of the castle, (fn. 4) and here they built the
church of which the graceful remains still stand,
and in which Archbishop Peckham held an ordination in 1282. (fn. 5) Of history these Grey Friars
appear to have had little; when the bishop of
Dover visited the house in July, 1538, he found
it in good order, (fn. 6) and so left it undisturbed until
8 October, when it was duly surrendered by the
seven brethren then resident. (fn. 7) The inventory
taken upon its dissolution (fn. 8) shows little furniture
of value, save 140 ounces of silver; the buildings were in good repair, ' all ye holl howse new
syleyde rownde abowte wyndaus and all ye
wyndaus well gleseyd,' and there were 'in ye
lybrary iiij stalls and a halff substancyally new
made wt dyvrse olde bokes; item a goodely new
presse wt almers for bokes.'
The seal of Hugh, warden in 1253, is a
pointed oval: [the Virgin and Child] under a
canopy upheld by two full-length saints, each
holding a long cross and standing on a head ? of
a lion. In base, under a trefoiled arch, the
warden, half-length, in prayer to the left. (fn. 9)
ME FOUE PAULE DOCE PIA [VIRGO] PETRE
Mon. Francisc. (Rolls Ser.), ii, 25.
||Pat. 37 Hen. III, m. 22d.
Suss. Arch. Coll. i, 167.
||Pat. 53 Hen.III, m. 2.
Reg. Epist. Peckham (Rolls Ser.), iii, 1029.
L. and P. Hen. VIII, xiii (1), 1456.
||Ibid. xiii (2), 562.
Suss. Arch. Coll. xliv, 71–2.
||Harl. Ch. 83, C. 32. The letters M E of 'me,' U E of 'fove,' U L of 'Paule,' and U E of 'resolve,'
are respectively conjoined.