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The now ruined Greyfriars Franciscan Friary was founded by Sir William Gerbrigge in 1271, however it may have been established as early as 1226. The original precinct was enlarged in 1285, 1291 and 1356 by taking in adjacent land to the north and south. In 1538 the friary was dissolved by King Henry VIII and granted to Thomas Cromwell. In 1569 it was acquired by the Great Yarmouth Corporation, and during the later 16th century, parts of the premises were leased to various prominent and wealthy townspeople. By 1582 a condition of the lease was that important visitors to the town should be lodged there. Part of the precinct was also used at this time by the local civilian militia. In 1657 the whole site was sold to John Woodroffe, on condition that he constructed two new rows across it. It was subsequently sold and developed piecemeal, but some of the medieval walls were incorporated in 17th century and later buildings. The standing remains of the cloister were opened up towards the end of the 19th century, and other parts have been exposed and restored since 1945.

The standing ruins include part of the south wall of the church, the western alley of the adjoining cloister and walls relating to various buildings infilling the area to the south of the church and west of the cloister. The remains of the rectangular cloister are immediately to the south of the church, abutting the east end which contained the friars' choir and the presbytery. Around it would have been ranged the principal monastic apartments. A part of the north wall of the south cloister alley survives above ground, and it is thought that the areas to the south and east of this contain buried remains of the south range where, according to monastic custom, the refectory was normally situated, and of the east range, containing the friars' dormitory and the chapter house, where the business of the friary was discussed.

It is currently (2010) under the Guardianship of English Heritage.

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Further information about monuments may be obtained by contacting Archive Services, through the Historic England website.