Monument record MYO4168 - Dominican Friary (Blackfriars)


The Dominican Friary was situated within the south-western angle of the city walls. The precise boundaries and extent of the site, which was reported at the Dissolution to occupy 1 acre, are unknown but in modern terms it lay to the west of Toft Green and is now the site of the Old Railway Station. The friary church stood opposite the end of Gregory Lane (now Barker Lane), and there were two gateways into the precinct: one, on the west, faced Toft Green and the second faced the Ouse. Nothing is known of the conventual buildings. The friars were possibly temporarily housed in Goodramgate before moving to the site at Toft Green. In 1227 they were granted the chapel of St. Mary Magdalen and land in King's Tofts (i.e. Toft Green) for the new site; by the end of that year they had enclosed part of this ground with a wall and were given access to the Ouse through the city dike. Smells arising in the neighbourhood of the site were said to disturb the friars at their prayers. Henry III made several gifts of timber for the buildings, and a number of grants of land was made during the 13th century for the enlargement of the site: in 1236, 1241, 1268, 1280, and 1299.Towards the end of Edward I's reign, the friars sought a grant of another part of Toft Green, but this was apparently refused because the city used the ground for other purposes. Part of the precinct wall was destroyed during rioting in 1381 but was rebuilt in the following year; in 1455-6 an indulgence was granted to the friary, its cloister and buildings having been destroyed by fire. In 1538 the Council in the North asked Cromwell to appoint the Dominican Friary as its headquarters, and to authorize the friary, which stood 'openly and commodiously', to be made fit to receive the king by the use of stone, glass, and other materials from the Austin Friary. The friary was surrendered later that year, and the site granted in 1540 to William Blitheman of Monk Burton (E.R.). In 1543 Blitheman devised the site to his son who in 1563 granted it to Lawrence Green of York. Green devised it to his son in 1578. The Friary always had a large garden (MYO4167), this was extant during the 18th and early 19th centuries until the Old Railway Station was built there in 1841. None of these excavations describe many post-Roman finds. There are no known remains of the friary. 27 skeletons without coffins which were recovered towards Tanner Row in the 19th century may be associated with the Friary.


Grid reference Centred SE 5977 5165 (258m by 297m) (2 map features)
Map sheet SE55SE
Unitary Authority City of York, North Yorkshire


Type and Period (1)

Full Description

NMR information:

The Dominican Friary was founded at the Chapel of St Mary Magdalene in the South-West corner of York in 1227. The friars were probably temporarily housed at Goodramgate before that date. in 1456, or perhaps earlier, a disastrous fire had destroyed the cloister, buildings, books, chalices, vestmenst, goods, deposited jewels, and 34 cells and studies. The prior, John Pickering, was executed at Tyburn in 1537 for taking part in the Pilgrimage of Grace. The friary was surrendered in 1538.

1 Medieval religious houses in England and Wales 220 by David Knowles and R Neville Hadcock

Victoria County History, 1961, Victoria County History: A History of the County of York - The City of York (Monograph). SYO1655.

RCHME, 1972, RCHME City of York Volume III South-west of the Ouse (Monograph). SYO64.

L S Archaeology, 2017, Hudson House EVA (Unpublished document). SYO1938.

Sources/Archives (3)

  • --- Monograph: Victoria County History. 1961. Victoria County History: A History of the County of York - The City of York.
  • --- Unpublished document: L S Archaeology. 2017. Hudson House EVA.
  • --- Monograph: RCHME. 1972. RCHME City of York Volume III South-west of the Ouse.

Protected Status/Designation

Related Monuments/Buildings (0)

Related Events/Activities (3)

Record last edited

Nov 6 2019 1:45PM


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