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CHESTER BLACKFRIARS

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Dominican friary founded circa 1236, dissolved 1538. The Friary was situated in the parallelogram bounded by Watergate St. on the north, Nicholas Street on the east, Arderne or Walls Lane (renamed Black Friars in 1856) on the south and the city wall on the west. Apart from a few old walls that may have marked the boundaries, no other traces remain above ground. Excavations have recovered enough of the plan of the church to reconstruct it as a whole. Built in 5 phases, in the final phase it had a wide nave with narrow North and South aisles, and West tower. The choir was the same width as the nave, with chapels in an aisle to the South. A building was found to the North of the church, and parallel to it, but the fact that it terminated West of the eastern end of the North aisle suggests that it was not part of the claustral complex. If so, the cloister lay to the South of the church. There is documentary evidence that both the church and cloister were being rebuilt in the early 16th century, and there may not have been a West cloister range at the Dissolution. The Dissolution inventory records a chapter house, refectory, dormitory, kithen and 2 butteries.

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