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Franciscan Friars in Shropshire
The convent stood outside the town walls on the west bank of the River Severn between the river and what is now Friar Street.
In July 1244 Henry III provided the Franciscan friars in Bridgnorth with 40 shillings to improve the buildings. 3 years later he allowed them to enclose a road to enlarge their site. In 1257 the king provided six oaks from Shirlett Forest for the monastery in Bridgnorth.
In 1272 the Franciscan Friars of Bridgnorth were charged with encroachment on the River Severn after they were accused of throwing stones and rubbish into the river to gain a piece of ground 150ft long and 50ft wide.
There were two bells in the steeple at Bridgnorth and the larger of the two weighed over 2cwt.
True to the rules of their order the Franciscan friars at Bridgnorth refrained from owning any property and so were not a wealthy order.
Franciscan Friars are heard of in Shrewsbury in 1245, a year after the community in Bridgnorth was begun.
They settled on cheaper land just outside the town walls on a site on the bank of the River Severn, to the west of the English Bridge.
In 1245 Henry III ordered the bailiffs of Shrewsbury to find them a site and in the same year he provided them with 50 loads of lime for their building. The following year he allowed them to have the town wall by their house made taller and a gate to be put in to give them easy access to the town. In 1267 this gate was made wider to allow for carts to pass through.
The King gave the Friars the site for their church, the town burgess Richard Pride built it and Laurence Cox provided other offices. These gifts were considered to be too extravagant by the provincial minister William of Nottingham, who ordered that the stone walls be replaced by mud walls. The burgesses of Shrewsbury continued to help provide for the house.
The first warden of the church, Martin of Barton, previously warden of York, used to tell of how simply they lived, having to drink the dregs of beer that had been watered down.
At the Dissolution of the monastery the site comprised only 3 or 4 acres of arable land that included a walnut orchard. The Friars had no income from rents. In 1538, when the Bishop of Dover came to Shrewsbury he found the Friars had very few possessions and no jewels.