- The Blackfriars of Shrewsbury
"The Black Friars of Shrewsbury" is a book by
Paul Marsden, the former ShrewsburyMP. A short historical book about the Dominican friars who arrived in Shrewsbury, England in 1230 and built a church, cloisters, Lady Chapel and series of outbuildings.
It was only nine years earlier in 1221 that
St. Dominicaged 51 years died in Bologna, Italy. Dominic came to be revered after performing various miracles and caring for the poor and the sick. Although he was elected several times a Bishop, he refused the position and preferred to stay among his fellow brethren. Likewise, his Dominican friars freely moved through the citizens of a country spreading the word of God and helping those in need.
Henry III enthusiastically supported the friars in their quest to build their church and from 1232 until the king's death in 1272 regularly gave orders to support the construction. The friary was to regularly receive royal visitors.
The Provincial Chapter of the Dominicans was held in Shrewsbury in 1299 and again in 1345.
On the eve of the Battle of Shrewsbury in 1403, Prince Henry (later Henry V)stayed at the friary. The Dominican Church in England was split between the Welsh rebels and Henry IV but the Shrewsbury friary remained loyal to the king and provided a safe haven for the Prince. Following the battle many of the noblemen who died on the battlefield were taken back to the friary and buried in its grounds.
Edward IV accompanied his pregnant wife Queen Elizabeth (Woodville) to the Shrewsbury friary in 1473. On 17th August Richard was born. Tragically he was to become one of the Princes of the Tower, Richard of Shrewsbury and to disappear in the
Tower of Londontogether with his older brother King Edward V. The hand of their uncle, Richard III was always blamed for their disappearance.
The friary continued to serve the local Shropshire community dispensing spiritual and medical help to local Salopians during its 300 year existence.
However, on or around 29th September 1538, on Henry VIII's orders, the friary was forced to close and the friars thrown out onto the streets.
On 25th April 1539, it was reported that a plate of 'Black fryers in Shrewesbury' had been delivered to the royal treasury by Thomas Thacker. All of the stonework was torn down and sold off.
Minor excavations were carried out in 1800s, 1970s and 1990s. A bishop's chalice, floor tiles and numerous skeletons have been found.
Little remains above ground which is covered by the modern Blackfriars apartments. Boxes containing the remains of parts of the skeletons that have been found, languish in the basement of Rowley's House Museum in Shrewsbury together with various artefacts.
Aquinas and the Sacraments
Dissolution of the Monasteries
Henry VIII of England
Third Order of St. Dominic
Thought of Thomas Aquinas
* [http://english.op.org/ The English Dominicans]
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