31. THE GREY FRIARS OF COLCHESTER
The province of England, where the Grey
Friars (fn. 1) first settled about 1224, was divided by
them into seven wardenships, that of Cambridge
including Colchester and eight other houses.
The origin of this friary is unknown, but it was
in existence before 25 January, 1279, when
Edward I granted licence (fn. 2) for the friars to make
an underground conduit through his demesne
lands and meadows and the town wall from a
well granted to them by Nicholas de la Warde
without the town to their site, provided that they
fill up the lands and repair the wall at their own
cost. The same king on 11 May, 1293,
granted (fn. 3) to them a plot of land adjoining their
plot on the west at a rent of 12d. yearly to be
paid by Robert FitzWalter and his heirs;
the friars endeavoured to obtain another grant of
land from the king in 1285, but upon inquisition
being held it was found that the land adjoined
the castle on one side, being only 100 yards
from the moat, and the town wall on the other,
and that in time of war it would be dangerous to
have this land enclosed, as it was an important
point of defence. (fn. 4) Edward II on 10 May,
1309, granted (fn. 5) that they should hold a piece of
land in Colchester quit of a yearly rent of 2s. 3d.
at the Exchequer, John Boteturte having charged
the payment of that sum upon his manor of
Robert Fitzwalter had licence (fn. 6) on 10 December, 1309, to grant to them half an acre of
land in Colchester; and it was probably on this
that, according to the Dunmow Chronicle, he
built their church, the foundations of which he
laid in the same year. Weever says (fn. 7) that he
became a friar here in 1325, the year of his
The friars had licence (fn. 8) on 28 June, 1338, to
acquire from John Caproun a plot of land for the
enlargement of their dwelling place, the abbot of
St. John's remitting a rent of 3s. therefrom, and
John Caproun granting him 3s. rent in North
Street in exchange; on 6 April, 1348, to acquire from John le Porcherde a rood of land
for the enlargement of their dwelling place; (fn. 9) and
on 15 June, 1423, to acquire from John Podde
8½ acres of land in Colchester containing the
lode and pipe of the underground conduit which
formed their sole water supply. (fn. 10)
It was testified in 1380 that Sir John Gernon
and Margaret his wife were buried in the friary
church on the north side of the choir. (fn. 11)
Nicholas Fakenham, who in 1395 had been
twenty-eighth provincial minister of the order,
died and was buried (fn. 12) at Colchester in 1407.
Edward IV on 18 March, 1469, granted (fn. 13)
to Robert Wotton, guardian, and the friars fiftytwo cartloads of underwood yearly in the forest
of Kingswood for their fuel, that they should
keep the obits of himself and his queen and his
father. Each cartload should be such as could
be drawn by six horses or other beasts, and they
were to have free entry into the forest to cut
down and carry away the fuel.
The friary was received (fn. 14) to the king's use in
1538 by Richard, bishop of Dover. It is not
mentioned in the Valor, but in an account (fn. 15) for
the first year after the dissolution Francis Jobson,
farmer, renders £2 10s. 8d. for the site of the
house, the hall called 'le olde halle,' the house
called 'le fermerye,' the chambers called ' Syr
Thomas Tyrrells lodgynge,' the kitchen, the
bakehouse, the brewhouse, two little gardens and
four acres of land. On 8 July, 1544, the king
granted (fn. 16) the premises to him and Elizabeth his
wife, Andrew Dudley, Robert Hennage, Richard
Duke, and his heirs.
Guardians of the Grey Friars of
John Reylegh (fn. 17) in 1419.
Walter Bradenham (fn. 18) in 1458 and 1464.
Robert Wotton (fn. 19) in 1469.
Thomas Lexden (fn. 20) in 1475.
John Tynemouth or Maynelyn (fn. 20) in 1493.
John Gurdon (fn. 20) in 1536.