Record Details

NHER Number:4297
Type of record:Monument
Name:Greyfriars, Middlegate Street


This is the site of Greyfriars Franciscan Friary, which was founded in 1271, and dissolved in 1538. The only upstanding remains of the Friary are a section of the south wall of the church, and the western alley of the cloister. A doorway in the wall of the church leads to a small excavated room containing mid 14th century wall tombs. The cloister has been dated to the 14th century, and is elaborately vaulted, with traces of medieval wall paintings. During the late 16th century the Friary was leased out, and the part of the precinct was used for training the Train Bands, a civilian militia. The site was developed piecemeal from the 17th century, sometimes incorporating parts of the medieval buildings. In 1896 substantial remains of the priory church were found buried underneath Queen Street.


  • No image caption available  © Norfolk Museums & Archaeology Service
  • No image caption available  © Norfolk Museums & Archaeology Service
  • No image caption available  © Norfolk Museums & Archaeology Service


Grid Reference:TG 5240 0733
Map Sheet:TG50NW

Full description

Covered cloisters of Franciscan Friary.
Founded by Sir William Gorbrigge, damaged in World War Two.
See (S1) to (S3).
R. R. Clarke (NCM)

Church was to north across Queen Street.
Built between 1260 to 1300.
Tudor fireplace.
Monastery of Greyfriars founded in the early 13th century.
Remains scanty but include part of only vaulted Franciscan cloister remaining in England.
See (S4).
R. R. Clarke (NCM)

(S5) notes 'corner of a cloister remains by Fountain Tavern'.
Possibly this site.
E. Rose (NAU)

1964. Excavation.
Work carried out by J. K. Knight for M.P.B.W. revealed the western wall of the western range beneath post-medieval alterations.
Information from (S8).
M. Langham-Lopez (HES), 20 May 2013.

1994-1996. Building Survey.
Condition audit of wall paintings within cloister.
An initial survey in January 1994 found that the painted decoration was in poor condition, being affected in particular by the heavy and persisent infiltration of liquid moisture. A more thorough investigation undertaken in July 1995 suggested that the water infiltration may actually represent a recurrence of an historic problem. This issue was subsequently rectified to some extent, although concerns were raised about damage that could be caused by salt crystallisation during the drying-out process. Various recommendations were made concerning both the building and the treatment of the paintings themselves.
For details see report (S10), which was generated from information in the English Heritage Wall Painting Section database.
P. Watkins (HES), 22 August 2019.

1996. Architectural Survey.
Analysis of remaining upstanding walls revealed that west end of church had been extended, and cloister was one bay shorter north to south than previously thought. Some later domestic changes.
The results of this work are summarised in (S6).
The survey was undertaken for English Heritage who presumably hold the report (S9) in archive.
E. Rose (NAU) 29 July 1998.

(S7) in file. Schedule enlarged 1998.
See the new description for full history including post dissolution use for Trained Bands and as residences, and full description; account of walls found under Queen Street in 1896.
Stone coffin on display.

No.9 Queen Street is listed Grade II, see (S7), as a 17th century house completely encased in the 19th century. It has a 17th century door in cellar, a blocked mullioned window and a first floor ovolo moulded beam. This stands on the site of the church.
E. Rose (NLA) 23 March 1999.

Monument Types

  • CRYPT (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • FRIARY (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • CELLAR (Post Medieval - 1540 AD to 1900 AD)
  • FRIARY (Post Medieval - 1540 AD to 1900 AD)
  • HOUSE (Post Medieval - 1540 AD to 1900 AD)

Associated Finds

  • COFFIN (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • WALL PAINTING (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)

Protected Status

  • Listed Building
  • Scheduled Monument
  • Listed Building

Sources and further reading

---Designation: [unknown]. Ancient Monuments Form. SAM Record. DNF206.
---Record Card: Ordnance Survey Staff. 1933-1979?. Ordnance Survey Record Cards. TG 50 NW 37 [2].
---Record Card: NAU Staff. 1974-1988. Norfolk Archaeological Index Primary Record Card.
---Monograph: Pevsner, N. and Wilson, B. 1997. Norfolk 1: Norwich and North-East. The Buildings of England. 2nd Edition. pp 512-513.
---Newspaper Article: Eastern Daily Press. 2009. A few days to discover some of the secrets of Norfolk's heritage. 7 September.
---Article in Serial: Coad, V. 1980. Greyfriars' Monastery. The Archaeological Journal. Vol 137 pp 308-309.
---Article in Serial: Bately, J. and Olley, H. 1898. Recent Discoveries on the Site of the Grey Friars, Great Yarmouth. Norfolk Archaeology. Vol XIII pp 21-32.
---Record Card: Clarke, R. R. and NCM Staff. 1933-1973. Norwich Castle Museum Record Card - Medieval. Yarmouth (Great) [2].
---Secondary File: Secondary File.
---Newspaper Article: Eastern Daily Press. 2015. Calls goes out to stop free running at historic ruin. 16 October.
---Designation: English Heritage. 1990-2013. English Heritage Scheduling Notification. Notification. DNF206.
---Designation: English Heritage. 1994? -2011?. English Heritage Digital Designation Record. Record. DNF206.
<S1>Monograph: Palmer's History and Perlustrations of Great Yarmouth..
<S2>Serial: Blomefield, F.. 1805-1810. An Essay Towards a Topographical History of the County of Norfolk.. Volume Unknown.
<S4>Publication: Harlech, A.M.. 1955. Regional Guide East Anglia and Midlands. p.27.
<S5>Documentary Source: Martin, T. c. 1700-1799. Collections of Church Notes. Norfolk Records Office. c. 1740.
<S6>Article in Serial: Gurney, D. and Penn, K. (eds). 1997. Excavations and Surveys in Norfolk 1996. Norfolk Archaeology. Vol XLII Pt IV pp 547-564. p 552.
<S7>Designation: English Heritage. National Heritage List for England. List Entry 1245980.
<S8>Article in Serial: Wilson, D. M. and Hurst, D. G. 1966. Medieval Britain in 1964. Medieval Archaeology. p 181.
<S9>Unpublished Contractor Report: Moss, N. 1996. Greyfriars Cloister, Great Yarmouth. Norfolk Archaeological Unit. 180.
<S10>Unpublished Contractor Report: Babington, C. and Stewart, S. 1998. Wall Painting Condition Audit, Greyfriars Cloister, Great Yarmouth, Norfolk. Ancient Monuments Laboratory. 23/97.

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