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Hartlepool, friary

In about 1239 the wealthy and powerful de Brus family established a Franciscan Friary in Hartlepool. The Franciscans had previously attempted to settle in Durham but they were fiercely opposed and eventually driven out by some Church figures who saw them as rivals to the Benedictines already established there. In Hartlepool, the patronage of de Brus was strong enough to shelter them from the displeasure of the Durham establishment. The Friary was pulled down after the Dissolution of the Monasteries on the orders of Henry VIII. Its remains were excavated in 1982-3. As so often elsewhere, a mansion was erected on the site of the friary’s domestic buildings, perhaps incorporating some of their fabric. The eastern wing, a ruin when Grimm drew it around 1780, was later re-roofed to serve as part of a Victorian hospital. The hospital has gone but the derelict east wing survives.

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