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Blackfriars Priory, Widemarsh Street

SMR Number
: 418
Grid Reference
: SO 5123 4039

Founded before 1246 and dissolved 1538. Major part of Monastery, including church, was destroyed after Dissolution. West range (UAD monument 43799) survives and may be assigned to C14. (1)(2)
1322 Friary begun after endless quarrels with Cathedral Chapter. Only surviving part of Friary is the range west of cloister. At Dissolution it passed to the Scudamores, and then to the Coningsbys (who built house on site). (3)
8.1958 Excav by LAS Butler: Trench cut N-S across cloister & its position ascertained. The friary buildings had been placed on made up ground which contained over 300 sherds of pottery, most of it late C13 - E C14. (4)
STANDING remains of Blackfriars: monument 43799, which lies within scheduled area (SAM no.13610), detailed building recording carried out in 1988 (7).
Reference to the house of Sir Thomas Coningsby, 16th century, and a garden occupying the site of the cloister (9)
An evaluation was carried out in 1990 to the North of Coningsby Street, but no definite Friary levels were identified. (10)
Evaluation within the scheduled area in 1991 showed complex stratigraphy associated with the priory remains. This includes walls of stone and floor surfaces. The evaluation report also contains a useful summary of all previous work in the area. (11 )
A geophysical survey carried out in 1994 demonstrated the existence of many features within the ornamental gardens between the upstanding ruins and the Hospital, some of which will be associated with the monastic use of the area. (12)
UAD additional note 10/2006 (NJB): This monument record applies to the Dominican Friary Widemarsh Street precinct. The Dominicans came to Hereford in the early 13thC and were granted an original unlocated site in the Port Field (I.e. west of Widemarsh Street). In 1246 Henry III gave them ten oaks for building and permission to extend their site; in 1270 they received royal protection in the face of opposition from the local cathedral clergy. The present precinct was probably established c.1319 in which year Edward II granted them lands and tenements for a habitation of the brethren 'of new construction'. This appears to coincide with the donation of the Widemarsh site by Sir John Daniel, the royal grant probably lying alongside. The Bishop donated another parcel. Building work on the site was suspended after Daniel's execution in 1321 but by 1330-1 royal licence was granted to the friars for a further five acre (2.025ha) land grant and in 1342 they obtained another acre (0.405ha) by exchange. Commencing 1325 the friars also sought to enclose Frog Lane, leading from Widemarsh Street to the Tan Brook, and got their way in 1350-1. Documented dimensions for the lane of 31 perches x 28 feet may equate to 155.9m x 8.5m suggesting a substantial thoroughfare. It had been used as a route into/out of the city so may be equated with the present Canal Road (see event 43795)). In 1351 the friars were given exemption from episcopal jurisdiction and began receiving bodies for burial, with documentary evidence for high status burials in the friary church (e.g Earl of Pembroke 1376, Bishop of Chester 1394, Wm de Beauchamp 1408. Large numbers of contemporaneous undocumented lay burials should also be expected (see event 43797). In 1352 the community consisted of a prior and eleven brethren, at the Dissolution it was the prior and seven. The friary was burnt down several times before 1424. Layout: A gate stood on the Widemarsh Street frontage with a tenement intervening between it and the Hospital of St John (monument 43791) and two more to its south; the precinct boundary probably ran behind these. The standing west range (monument 43799) and preaching cross (monument 3983) represent the core of the precinct with the church south of the cloisters. To the south, north and east were enclosed gardens. The 'convent great garden' lay south of the church and extended 81 yards (74.1m) to a precinct wall along the frontage of Coningsby Street. To the east of the church was an orchard extending probably to Canal Road, but the eastern limit of the precinct is uncertain .The northern boundary is assumed to have been the watercourse (Widemarsh Brook aka Tan Brook). (13) (14).
A watching brief carried out during groundworks for a boundary fence around St David's Pupil Referral Unit, a site which lies within the boundaries of the Friary, did not identify any archaeological features or finds. (19)
A watching brief carried out by Border Archaeology during groundworks for a building at Number 32, identified a buried soil that contained Medieval Pottery. (21)

Monument Type(s)

  1. RELIGIOUS HOUSE (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  2. FRIARY (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)

Associated Files

    Sources and Further Reading

    1. <1>SHE9467 - Bibliographic reference: JHW. 1962. SO54SW8. Ordnance Survey.
    2. <2>SHE9689 - Bibliographic reference: Knowles D and R N Hadcock. 1971. Medieval Religious Houses. Book (Longman). 214-.
    3. <3>SHE10741 - Bibliographic reference: Pevsner, N. 1963. Herefordshire. The Buildings of England.
    4. <4>SHE6774 - Bibliographic reference: Butler, L A S. 1960. Excavations at Black Friars, Hereford, 1958. Transactions of the Woolhope Naturalists' Field Club. XXXVI Part III. 334-342.
    5. <5>SHE10602 - Bibliographic reference: Palmer, C. The Friars Preachers or Blackfriars of. The Reliquary. XXIII,17-.
    6. <6>SHE1536 - Bibliographic reference: 1850. Blackfriars, Hereford. Archaeologia Cambrensis (Journal). 1 (2), 213.
    7. <7>SHE10321 - Unpublished Report: Shoesmith, R and Morriss, R. 1988. The Hereford Blackfriars - an interim report.. City of Hereford Archaeology Committee. 38. HAS38.
    8. <8>SHE14737 - Unpublished Report: Shoesmith, R. 12/1986. Blackfriars Monastery Hereford. A note on the present condition.. City of Hereford Archaeology Committee.
    9. <9>SHE16057 - Bibliographic reference: Whitehead, David. 1995. Some connected thoughts on the parks and gardens of Herefordshire before the age of Landscape Gardening. Transactions of the Woolhope Naturalists' Field Club. XLVIII 1995 Part II. 193-223. XLVIII 1995 Part II. Pages 212.
    10. <10>SHE12923 - Unpublished Report: Thomas, D A. 1990. Blackfriars, Hereford. Evaluation Excavations. City of Hereford Archaeology Unit. 85.
    11. <11>SHE12788 - Unpublished Report: Stone, R. 05/1991. Land off Canal Road, Hereford. Evaluation excavation within the Blackfriars Precinct.. City of Hereford Archaeology Unit. 107.
    12. <12>SHE14752 - Unpublished Report: City of Hereford Archaeology Unit. 1995. Blackfriars Priory, Hereford. A Report Following The Geophysical Survey Organised By Stratascan In November 1994.. City of Hereford Archaeology Unit. 236.
    13. <13>SHE16491 - Article in serial: Marshall, George. 1920. The Blackfriars Monastery and the Coningsby Hospital, Hereford. Transactions of the Woolhope Naturalists' Field Club. Part III 1920. 239-248. Part III 1920. Pages 239-248.
    14. <14>SHE350 - Bibliographic reference: Royal Commission on Historical Monuments. 1931. Inventory of Monuments, Herefordshire South-West, Vol I. Herefordshire South-West, Vol 1. Pages 128-9.
    15. <15>SHE14818 - Unpublished Report: Hoverd, T. 1995. Blackfriars Monastery, Hereford. An Assessment Of Damage Caused By Vandals.. City of Hereford Archaeology Unit. 262.
    16. <16>SHE15619 - Unpublished Report: Shoesmith, Ron. 1996. Widemarsh Street, Hereford. Hereford city sewerage, phase 1. A desk-top survey and analysis of several proposed routes.. City of Hereford Archaeology Unit. 278.
    17. <17>SHE16908 - Unpublished Report: Poole, B. 07/2003. John Venn Unit, Blackfriars, Hereford. A Report on the Watching Briefs.. Archaeological Investigations Ltd. 554.
    18. <18>SHE15989 - Unpublished Report: Rouse, D. 03/2004. The Blackfriars Friary, Widemarsh St, Hereford, Herefordshire. Archaeological Watching Brief on a Scheduled Ancient Monument.. Archaeological Investigations Ltd. 623.
    19. <19>SHE16561 - Unpublished Report: Ward, B. 2005. St David's Pupil Referral Unit, Blackfriars, Hereford. Archaeological Monitoring. Archaeological Investigations Ltd. 687.
    20. <20>SHE14751 - Unpublished Report: Shoesmith, R. 1994. Blackfriars Precinct. A Desk-based Archaeological Survey Of The Blackfriars Area Of Hereford.. City of Hereford Archaeology Unit. 207.
    21. <21>SHE23758 - Unpublished Report: Crooks, K. 04/2014. Archaeological Observation Sanctuary Housing Association No 32 Coningsby Street Archaeological Observation. Sanctuary Housing Association, No 32 Coningsby Street, Hereford.. Border Archaeology.

    Associated events

    1. EHE20112 - Coningsby Street - Canal Road, Hereford, evaluation (Ref: SMR Event: 20112)
    2. EHE43795 - Evaluation at Canal Road (Blackfriars), HWCC, 1991 (Ref: SMR Event: 43795)
    3. EHE43796 - Blackfriars geophysical survey (Ref: SMR Event: 43796)
    4. EHE43797 - Blackfriars cemetery (Ref: SMR Event: 43797)
    5. EHE43798 - Blackfriars Church 1872 (Ref: SMR Event: 43798)
    6. EHE43794 - Blackfriars/Canal Road evaluation (CHAU) 1991 (Ref: SMR Event: 43794)
    7. EHE43800 - Blackfriars building survey (Ref: SMR Event: 43800)
    8. EHE20073 - Canal Road (Blackfriars) Watching Brief, 1996 (Ref: SMR Event: 20073)
    9. EHE32816 - John Venn Unit. Blackfriars (Ref: SMR Event: 32816)
    10. EHE32840 - John Venn Hall Canal Road - Coningsby Street (Ref: SMR Event: 32840)
    11. EHE43804 - Blackfriars excavation 1958 (Ref: SMR Event: 43804)
    12. EHE42632 - Watching Brief, St. David's Pupil Referral Unit, Blackfriars (Ref: SMR Event: 42632)
    13. EHE2067 - Blackfriars Monastery and Preaching Cross, Hereford, building recording
    14. EHE80080 - Archaeological Observation. Coningsby Street, Hereford. 2014.

    Protected status

    1. Area of Archaeological Importance: Hereford City Area of Archaeological Importance
    2. Area of Archaeological Importance
    3. Listed Building (II*) 372534: REMAINS OF BLACKFRIARS PRIORY
    4. Conservation Area CON_AR_012: Central Area

    Associated Historic Landscape Character Records

    1. HHE499 - Urbanisation - Urbanisation 2
    Last Updated: 23/07/2010 12:35:57