Ancient Monuments

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Denbigh Friary

A Scheduled Monument in Denbigh (Dinbych), Denbighshire (Sir Ddinbych)

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Latitude: 53.1878 / 53°11'16"N

Longitude: -3.4091 / 3°24'32"W

OS Eastings: 305944

OS Northings: 366565

OS Grid: SJ059665

Mapcode National: GBR 6N.30F1

Mapcode Global: WH771.L4VG

Entry Name: Denbigh Friary

Scheduled Date:

Source: Cadw

Source ID: 3789

Cadw Legacy ID: DE023

Schedule Class: Religious, Ritual and Funerary

Category: Friary

Period: Medieval

County: Denbighshire (Sir Ddinbych)

Community: Denbigh (Dinbych)

Built-Up Area: Denbigh

Traditional County: Denbighshire


This monument comprises the remains of a medieval friary. It was founded by the Carmelites (white friars) in the late thirteenth century and may have been established in 1289 under the patronage of John de Swynmore. It is located approximately two miles north-east of Denbigh Castle on the outskirts of the town.

The friary buildings included a choir, vestry, chamber, hall, kitchen, brewhouse and buttery. The surviving building is the greater part of the church. The friars’ choir stands up to roof height. The large east window (now with a modern brick infill to give support) was altered early in the fifteenth century to give more light. Another large window (also with a brick infill) in the north wall is set high up to avoid the stalls of the brothers, as is the case on the south wall. The stone seats and sink (sedilia and piscina) in the south-east corner are part of the original construction and would have provided seating for the clergy celebrating the Mass. The piscina was a sink used by the priest to cleanse the chalice and paten (plate) after Mass.

West of the large windows a timber screen would have divided the choir from a lobby or ‘walking place’ with a wooden steeple or belfry above it. This belfry is shown on Speed’s map of 1610. Beyond the walking place and the south door, which led into the cloister, was the nave for the lay folk.

Three ranges of domestic buildings provided the living quarters for the friars around the cloister to the south. As was normal in friaries the upper floors extended over the cloister walk, unlike the abbeys of monks where the cloister walks were lean-to corridors set against the ranges of the cloister. On the east side was the chapter house and the bishop’s chamber; on the south side stood the dormitory, probably with the refectory on the ground floor; on the west side was the hall, either the refectory or a guest hall. The kitchen and brewhouse would be close to the refectory and the guest house; there were barns and stabling in an outer court.

This monument is of national importance for its potential to enhance our knowledge about medieval religious orders and their practices. The scheduled area comprises the remains described and an area around them within which related evidence may be expected to survive.

Source: Cadw

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