Brian Moseley, Plymouth
Webpage created: March 14, 2018
Webpage updated: March 14, 2018




Friars existed in medieval Plymouth but unlike they monks they took their Christian ministry out into the countryside and preached wherever they could gather people to listen.

The Carmelite Friars, otherwise known as the "White Friars" because of their white habits, appear to have settled in the Plymouth area in 1288.  They erected a Friary at the north-eastern corner of Sutton Pool, outside the Town wall.  The site of their Friary eventually became the site of the London and South Western railway Company's Friary Station.

Sometime soon after 1384 the Franciscan Friars, or "Grey Friars", erected their Friary on a site that was later to become The Exchange in Woolster Street.

Littleis known about the Dominican Friary, which was in Southside Street.  They wore a black mantle or cappa over their white habits and were known as the "Black Friars".  Their Friary is now the Blackfriars' Distillery and is open to the public.

All three Friaries were surrendered to the suffragan Bishop of Dover, acting on behalf of King Henry VIII, on September 18th and 19th 1538.  The Carmelite and Franciscan buildings fell into private hands but the Dominican one somehow became the property of the Corporation and this may well explain the fact that it is the only one of the three that is still in existence.