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Denbigh, Carmelite Friary (White Friars)

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Map ReferenceSJ06NE
Grid ReferenceSJ0593966562
Unitary (Local) AuthorityDenbighshire
Old CountyDenbighshire
Type Of SiteFRIARY
The Carmelite Friary at Denbigh was founded in the 1270s-80s and disolved in 1537 when there were four friars. It stood just beyond the north-east end of Denbigh borough (see NPRN 33082). In the early sixteenth century the Bishops of St Asaphs made their home here in the 'Bishop's Chamber' and carried out much building work. Following the disolution the Bishops leased the property and an inventory taken at this time lists the choir or church, vestry, chamber, hall, kitchen, brewhouse and buttery. A contemporary document mentions the house, stables, demesnes, terraces, gardens and orchards. The Friary, labelled 'The Abbey', is shown on Speed's town plan published in 1610.

The remains consist of the ruined church, intact until it was gutted by fire in 1898, and the greatly altered dormitory and refectory block, now Abbey Cottage (see NPRN 26713).

The church is a late thirteenth century building with several later features, notably the great blocked Perpendicular east window. It consisted of the Friar's choir to the east and the public nave to the west, divided by a screened passage with a leaden spire above. The cloister was on the south side of the church with the chapter house and bishop's chamber in the east range and the dormitory & refectory block on the south. This block appears to be a late medieval building, possibly early sixteenth century, however, few medieval features survive.

The apex stone of a medieval cross from the Friary was in the grounds of Dolhyfryd in 1963 (see NPRN 306648).

Sources: Archaeologia Cambrensis 5th series IV (1887), 260-73
Butler 'Denbigh Castle, Town Walls & Friary, DoE guide (1976), 40-42
CADW Listed Buildings Database (958-9)

John Wiles, RCAHMW, 7 March 2008.