Record Details

NHER Number:2036
Type of record:Monument
Name:Greyfriars or Walsingham Franciscan Friary


The Franciscan Friary at Walsingham was founded in 1346. It was dissolved in 1538. Part of the buildings were excavated in the 1930s and some ruins still survive including parts of the Great and Little Cloister, the guesthouse and the base of the chapter house. Very little is left of the church. The main entrance to the friary led onto the southwest corner of the marketplace.


  • The Franciscan Friary, Walsingham.  © Norfolk Museums & Archaeology Service
  • The Franciscan Friary, Walsingham.  © Norfolk Museums & Archaeology Service

Documents/files/web pages


Grid Reference:TF 9330 3659
Map Sheet:TF93NW

Full description

Franciscan Friary or Greyfriars. Founded 1346.

1932. Excavations and survey.
'Preliminary investigations' on the site of the church and a 'complete survey' of the surviving buildings in order to produce an overall site plan.
Finds include post medieval sherds, 17th to 18th century clay pipers, few medieval moulded stones, medieval tiles and much painted glass.
For the excavation report, see (S1).
E. Rose (NAU), October 1990.
Revised D. Gurney (NLA), 31 March 2010.

30 April 1980. Visit.
Guesthouse walls are the largest standing remains. Built against the south end is a house of around 1840 and against east end of this another tall gable which is probable the cross gable of a staircase. Remains also of the kitchen, the Little Cloister, Great Cloister, projecting base of the Chapter House. Virtually nothing left of the nave or crossing of church and very little of the chancel. The boundary wall against the Fakenham Road contains blocked gateways in reused stone and brick. No public access.
E. Rose (NAU), 30 April 1980.

Site again open to public at times. (S2) notes friary lies across former course of road to southwest corner of Market Place. Friary dissolved 1538.
E. Rose (NAU), 25 September 1981.

4 June 1992. Visit.
Heap of soil, flints, bricks and rubbish cleared from area east of Little Cloister and redeposited against roadside wall. No obvious damage to below ground deposits.
D. Gurney (NLA), 4 June 1992.

2 March 2005. Visit.
Brief inspection of east wall. Two arches have rough flint outlines. One blocked with bricks of 18th or 19th century date. This wall blocks an older opening but this may not be medieval. This might be the result of post dissolution treasure hunting.
See (S3).
E. Rose (NLA), 5 March 2005.

2006-9. Condition surveys and report on conservation priorities (S4) (S5).
D. Gurney (NLA), 1 April 2010.

January 2014
Inspection and report on the Friary remains. Typical friary plan of walks within ranges and a 'passing place' despite its rural position. Great Cloister and little cloister may have been owing to narrow site on the sloping land. The added 15th century Guest House is very large with accommodation at first floor at the head of a stately straight stair. Access to this was along along a corridor from the south along west walk of little cloister. For details see (S6).
S. Heywood (HES), 20 January 2014.

September 2014
Greatly expanded and revised version of January report with special emphasis on the Guest Hall where the evidence shows that the building was constructed initially as a ground floor hall with tall windows and two hearths. After or even during the building of this there was a radical change of plan which involved inserting an upper floor which became the principal floor served by a grand staircase from the cloister. The hearth was moved to this floor also. The tall windows of what became the basement remained one of which was turned into a cart entrance. And some others blocked. For details see (S7).
S. Heywood (HES), 23 December 2014.

Monument Types

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

Associated Finds

  • ARCHITECTURAL FRAGMENT (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • ARCHITECTURAL FRAGMENT (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • STAINED GLASS (WINDOW) (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • TILE (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • CLAY PIPE (SMOKING) (Post Medieval - 1540 AD to 1900 AD)
  • POT (Post Medieval - 1540 AD to 1900 AD)

Protected Status

  • Listed Building
  • Scheduled Monument
  • Listed Building

Sources and further reading

---Aerial Photograph: TF9336 A-C,AD,AF,AG,AK,AL,ACX,ACY (Unit), V-Y, AA (AAF).
---Scheduling Record: English Heritage. Scheduling Report.
---Illustration: Walsingham Franciscan Friary..
---Photograph: Thursfield, H. G.. Little Walsingham Greyfriars.
---Monograph: Thompson, A.H.. 1924. Programme Archaeological Institute of Norwich..
---Archive: Clarke, R. R. and NCM Staff. 1933-1973. Norwich Castle Museum Record Card - Medieval. Walsingham (Little).
---Secondary File: Secondary file.
<S1>Article in Serial: Martin A. R. 1934. The Greyfriars of Walsingham. Norfolk Archaeology. Vol XXV pp 227-271. pp 227-271.
<S2>Leaflet: Bond, A.. Walsingham Friary. Its Story..
<S3>Unpublished Document: Rose, E. (NLA). 2005. Building Report..
<S4>Unpublished Document: Watt, D.. 2006. Condition survey of the standing remains.
<S5>Unpublished Document: Watt, D.. 2009. Report on conservation priorities.
<S6>Unpublished Document: Heywood, S.(HES). 2014. History and Significance of the Friary Remains, Little Walsingham.
<S7>Unpublished Document: Heywood, S.(HES). 2014. History and Significance of Friary Remains -expanded version.

Related records

MNO5985Related to: Flint boundary wall enclosing St Marys Friary Fakenham Road WALSINGHAM (Revoked)
MNO5983Related to: Remains of St Mary's Friary Fakenham Road WALSINGHAM (Revoked)

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