Who Were The Black Friars?

Tiles at the entrance of The Blackfriars Tavern, Great Yarmouth showing Black Friars serving and drinking beer from the Cask.

BLACK or DOMINICAN FRIARS, an order of mendicants whose founder was St. Dominic, a Spaniard, born at Calagueraga, a small town in the diocese of Osma in Old Castile, about A.D. 1170. His real name was Dominic de Guzman. He died in 1221, and was canonized by Pope Gregory IX in 1235.

These friars were called Dominicans from their founder; Preaching Friars, from their office to preach, and convert Jews and heretics; Black Friars from their garments; and, in France, Jacobins, from having their first house in that country in the rue St. Jacques at Paris.

Their rule, which was chiefly that of St. Augustine, was approved by Pope Innocent III in the Lateran Council, A.D. 1215, by word of mouth; and by a bull from Pope Honorius II, A.D. 1216. They were known, however, earlier than this; for Rymer in his Faedera, tom. i. p. 137, has printed a license of permission addressed from Pope Innocent III to King John of England, A.D. 1204, for such Dominicans and Franciscans, who might accompany the king in going beyond sea, to ride, the rules of their order obliging them to travel on foot.

Thirteen of these Dominican friars, according to Reyner, including a superior, came into England A.D. 1221, for the purpose of establishing their Order in England, when Stephen Lanton, then archbishop of Canterbury, giving his approval, they were allowed to settle, and fixed their first house at Oxford in that year. The Black Friars at London was their second house: originally placed near where Lincoln’s Inn now stands, but removed about 1279 to some place near Castle Baynard, where the parochial district still bears the name of the Order.

At the time of the dissolution of the monasteries under Henry VIII, there were fifty-eight houses of Dominicans in England and Wales.

Find us at 94 Blackfriars Road, Great Yarmouth. Postcode: NR30 3BZ. WhatThreeWords: ///hopes.spoken.richer