Make the most of London


The Crutched Friars: London’s Least Known Religious Community

Posted by Ian McDiarmid, City of London Tour Guide on Thursday, May 14, 2020 Under: Medieval

The Crutched Friars: London’s Least Known Religious Community

Religious orders were divided into monks and nuns who followed a monastic life, and mendicants who followed a monastic rule but who went outside their house’s walls to preach, perform acts of charity and beg for alms. Complicating matters were canons regular, who were ordained priests (members of monastic and mendicant orders were not priests) who followed a monastic rule but who also went out into the community to preach.

The name ‘friar’ was commonly used to describe a member of a mendicant order. 

There were four main orders of friars in London: the Franciscans, Dominicans, Cistercians and Carmelites. 

The name friar, though, was also attached to a small order of Augustinian canons known as the Friars of the Holy Cross. These were also known as the Crutched Friars, a corruption of cruciferi, meaning cross-carriers, referring probably to a cross sewn on to their habits. Unlike other canons they promised obedience to a master-general, based in Huy in France. Normally canons just promised obedience to their own prior. Unlike mendicants, the order was allowed to hold property. The label ‘friar’, though, rather than reflecting their technically hybrid nature as an order, was probably simply due to their being lumped together with the mendicant orders in popular perception.

Their history is obscure, but they were founded in the mid-thirteenth century and by the end of the century had perhaps four houses in England, including the one in London. The sixteenth-century antiquary John Leland says the London house was founded in 1298 by two citizens - Ralph Hosier and Willam Sabernes. 

One recent study (by Virginia Davis) has estimated that there were around 750 mendicants attached to houses in London from 1361 to 1400, confirming the general impression of a multitude of friars in the City. 

The Crutched Friars like other orders had declined by the time of their demise in the sixteenth century, but were always a relatively small house. When the London priory was surrendered during the Reformation it had a mere six canons.

It is after them that the street by Fenchurch Street Station is named. The statue of the friars on Crutched Friars was made in 1985 when the current building Friary Court was put up.

Explore Medieval London

Medieval London Walk with Ian

In : Medieval 

Tags: medieval  friars  religion 
comments powered by Disqus


"online bookings' cpd #earthrise 17th 1930s 50th a abbey adele afternoon afternoon tea age ages alastair ancient and animals annie anniversary apps architecture arsenal art arts attack awards baker bank bankside barbican bathhouses bazalgette bear beasts bishopsgate blitz bombers books borough bowie breakfast brewery brick bridge britain british bronze bronze age brunch burger burlesque buses cabaret cake canal canary captain carl carol caroline cathedral cemetery cenotaph century chapman charles charlton cheap cheapside cheese childhood chips chiswick chocolate christmas church city city of london clerkenwell cocktails coffee coffeehouses concert corporate covent covent garden covid-19 crime cross crown cruise david day december deptford dick dickens dinner do dock dockland museum dragons dreamtime earth eat eating eats ecommerce edward edwin egypt end ernst event events exhibition exhibitions facebook fairytale fall family fantastic farringdon february festival film finance fire first fiscus florence folklore food for francis free friars gallery galliard garden george georgian german germany gibb gift grade great greenhithe greenwich group guided guides half hall halsk harle harry potter havering havering hoard hawksmoor hazel heroes hidden highbury hill hilton history holloway homes hot hotel house how i ian ianmcd ice cream icelandic ii iii in inigo islington italian iv jack jack the ripper james jenny jewels johns jones joseph katharines kelly kenneth kew gardens kids kidstours killer kim kings kingston lambeth lane lewis lights limestone literature liverpool locations londinium london london bridge london's londoners lunch lutyens magnus market markets martyr mary maufe mayfair mcdiarmid measure medical medieval memorial middle millennium mock-tudor modern montague monument moorgate mosaic murder murderers museum museum of london docklands music musicals n7 national gallery national history museum ned new newcomen news nhs nichols night nightingale nurse of old street oliver open opera paddington pancakes pandemic panoramic park parties path pauls people photo photograhy photography photos pizza places plays plumstead podcast poetry pokemon polly pop poplar prince priory private tours pub public purbeck qe2 queen queenhithe quirky recording reid religion rembrandt renaissance restoration ripper river road rob roman roundhouse royal saga saxon sculpture scupture seacole second serial sewers siemens sir smartphone smith smithfield smithfields soap soho somme south southbank southwark spitalfields spy squirrels ss st statue stories street stuart studios subscription summer susan sydenham tate tea term thames thamesmeade the theatre thiepval things things to do thrifty thriftytheatre to tour tours tower travel truman tudor tumblety twelfth twist und underground update v&a ve victoria victorian victorian london viking virtual vouchers wales walk walking walks wall war water werner west wharf wheeler whitechapel wilde wildlife willelm william wine winter women wood woodland woolwich world wyatt york 1888 2019 2020





Site by Hazel  |  Photographs by Hazel or Ian