King’s Lynn – Greyfriars

Work started on Greyfriars friary in the late 1240s and it remained open until the Dissolution of the Monasteries saw its demise in 1538. This photo is taken from the nave end of the friary, which is where members of the local population would be allowed to visit, with the sections at the rear being reserved for the friars.

The grassed area is where the cloisters once stood.

A model of how the friary once looked.

Under usual circumstances, it’s likely that the stone would have been carted away and used in other construction projects following the closure of the friary. However, the lantern tower was useful for shipping given its 28-metre height and so it survived and was maintained to perform that function. The tower was at risk for a while recently as it had started to lean, but thanks to the Heritage Lottery Fund and English Heritage, funding was secured in 2006 to restore the structure.

The inside of the tower, which is the best-preserved example of such a Franciscan structure left standing in the UK.

Another view of the tower, with the stone at the front of the photo marking where the altar was formerly located. When the friary was closed, the site was never really built on and so it was decided in 1911 to tidy the area up and to turn the land into a public park known as Tower Gardens.

The site of the former infirmary. This is a really well-managed site, they’ve made it clear to see the layout of the friary and there are numerous information boards to give further details about the site’s history.