Blackfriars

Blackfriars is situated close toe the city centre of Newcastle. What was originally a monasterial retreat was later converted into an almshouse. In the 1980s, the Blackfriars buildings were restored and housed crafts shops and cafes. The Blacfriars are situated close to the old Town Walls. The Black Friars were Dominican preachers, from Spain. They came to Britain to establish their religious order and settled in Newcastle in 1239. When they came down to Newcastle, they fell short of finance and three anonymous sisters and the first Mayor of Newcastle Sir Peter Scot helped them raise funds for their first shelter. Later they slowly started getting more funds from local people and grants from King Henry III. During his regime, King Henry III spent quite a lot of time at the Priory, as there was no inn to accommodate the royalty in the town. He stayed and relaxed at the Priory and in return gifted the Dominicans so as to help them get established. Later the Friars proceeded with their work and were busy teaching and helping the needy. The extensive garden at the Blackfriars supplied necessary herbs and potions for their infirmary.

It is said that the Friars got 'black' attached to their name because of their dress. They wore white tunics and black cloaks and were also called 'Shodfriars' because they were used to wearing shoes. However, the Dominicans had to suffer a lot under the regime of King Henry VIII. He troubled the Pope and decreed that all monasteries should be closed and their wealth be confiscated. This made the Dominicans run away and thus the church fell into disrepair. Until 1860, the Friars did not re-appear and are now found at their present site - off New Bridge Street. However today's Priory is a result of funds from the bakers, butchers, brewers, fullers, dyers, saddlers, skinners, Glovers, smiths, tanners and tailor.

Blackfriars