Dunwich Friary - History and Facts | History Hit

Dunwich Friary

James Carson

01 Nov 2021

About Dunwich Friary

Once a Franciscan friary in Dunwich, Suffolk, Dunwich Friary was likely destroyed during the dissolution. Modern remains today make for a scenic and historically interesting visit.

History of Dunwich Friary

Dunwich Friary was founded before 1277. However, it was originally located in a different location owing to the older friary being dissolved due to coastal erosion and subsequently moved inland in 1289.

Records indicate that the original site was home to 20 friars. However, it was later extended in the late 14th or 15th century, as a refectory and gateways were added. The site would have been generally much-loved by villagers, who could seek refuge, healthcare and religious instruction from the friars.

Only a small section of the original buildings, which would have been significant, remain. Many were destroyed during the Dissolution of the Monasteries, with remaining buildings being used as a house, town hall and jail at various times.

Dunwich Friary today

Today, the remains of the friary consist of a precinct wall, two gatehouses, some two-storey walls believed to be the remains of a cloister building and a possible refectory or infirmary building.

A large amount of paranormal activity is reported at the site, with reports of ghostly monks wandering around the site chanting their prayers being some of the most popular. There is also a famous Black Dog of Dunwich whose terrifying and ghostly image is said to reveal itself to unwitting passers-by.

Getting to Dunwich Friary

The friary is a three hour drive from London via the A12. From Cambridge, it’s a little less, at 2 hours by car via the A14 and A1120.

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Historic Sites in Suffolk

In addition to its quaint villages and picturesque landscapes, Suffolk is home to a number of fascinating historic sites.