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KINGS LYNN GREYFRIARS

ALTERNATIVE NAME:  GREYFRIARS TOWER
DESCRIPTION + /

Franciscan Friary founded in 1230 and dissolved in 1538. As part of important pilgrimage and trading routes, King's Lynn hosted four orders of monks in medieval times, the others being Dominicans (Blackfriars), Carmelites (Whitefriars) and Augustinians (Austinfriars). When the friary surrendered to Henry VIII's troops during the time of supression it was pulled down with the exception of the central crossing tower of the church. The tower, which was probably used as a bell tower, was retained as a sea mark. Greyfriars Tower, as it has come to be known, is the most substantial remnant of the four friaries which existed in King's Lynn. It was constructed in the late 14th century on 13th century masonry courses from brick and carstone with ashlar dressings. The tower is of the Mendicant plan of a north to south passageway under the tower, a conventional east-west chancel and nave arches. Its base comprises 13th century crossing piers whilst buttresses are formed from the nave and chancel walls. Within the north east pier is a staircase. Gabled elements to the north and south, roofed with stone slabs, slope up to an octagonal two-stage tower, the staircase turret continuing. Between each facet are stepped ashlar buttresses. The first stage contains 2-light ogee head windows whilst those to the second stage are similar but simpler in design. At the top of the tower there is a crenellated parapet which is enriched with cusped arcading.

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