Beverley’s black friars


The impressive building pictured below is what remains of a dominican friary, which was set up in the town of Beverley in the 13th century. Friars, in contrast to monks, were keen to get out and spread the word of God – and the Black Friars, as they were known, were here for many centuries. At its height the friary housed around 40 friars; there was also a church and a burial ground here. Following the dissolution of the monasteries, the friars became less of a force and the building was eventually converted into housing.

Incredibly, the building was nearly pulled down in the 1960s to make way for industrial buildings but, luckily, the local planners saw sense and intervened. A trust was formed to help restore and protect the building, which was subsequently turned into a Youth Hostel – perhaps one of the most impressive in the country.

One particular feature common to many buildings in the area is the use of tumble-gabling – a herringbone-like effect used on the gables of buildings. This technique was used to add extra strength to the gable, but also for its decorative effect and you are likely to see many more examples of this as you walk around Beverley. Note also the steep pitch of the roof – like many similar roofs around the town, this comes from a strong Flemish influence over the centuries, as does the frequent use of pantiles on buildings around the town.

Find out more about the friary in our Beverley tour. Click here for more information

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