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Newcastle-upon-Tyne Friary

Also known as, or recorded in historical documents as;
Holy Jesus Hospital

In the civil parish of Newcastle-upon-Tyne.
In the historic county of Northumberland.
Modern Authority of Newcastle-upon-Tyne.
1974 county of Tyne and Wear.
Medieval County of Northumberland.

OS Map Grid Reference: NZ252641
Latitude 54.97169° Longitude -1.60709°

Newcastle-upon-Tyne Friary has been described as a Palace although is doubtful that it was such.

There are masonry ruins/remnants remains.

This is a Grade 2* listed building protected by law*.


Augustinian friary founded by 1291, dissolved in 1539. Excavations in 1971 found that the Holy Jesus Hospital (now a museum), lies within the site of the friary church. The cloister lay to the North of the church, the South cloister wall having been found, along with the East claustral range, probably including the chapter house. The friary was utilised by the Council of the North after the Dissolution, and used as a military storehouse, until sold in 1605 and dismantled. (PastScape)

Austin Friary Tower measuring circa 20 feet square and dating from the 13th century with 14th century and 18th century additions, is situated at the back of Holy Jesus Hospital in City Road. (PastScape)

Austin Friary Tower 14/6/54 attached to the John George Joicey Museum. Part of the Austin Friary. C13 and C16. Large sandstone blocks. 3 storeys, one bay. West elevation has double-chamfered 2-centred arch with drip mould; renewed door; irregular fenestration: small square windows on each floor. Interior has stone newel stair; first floor south wall has double-chamfered 2-centred-arched window with tracery removed. Exterior door of studded planks now re-used in ground floor. Ground floor contains medieval cross-slab and effigy of knight in armour found during excavation prior to restoration. (Listed Building Report)

Probably never intended as a royal residence but, considering the size of the court even on tour ancillary accommodation was always required. Prior to the dissolution the friary would have had it guesthouse used in just such a way. The need was such that 'In 1681 the Corporation of Newcastle built the Holy Jesus Hospital adjacent to Pilgrim Street near the river. This was not a place for sick people, but a house for the reception and entertainment of pilgrims, travellers, or strangers.' (Tim Pickford Jones, 2003, online). Although the only surviving remains is a much altered 4 storey, seemingly residential, tower, no one has suggested this as a fortification. This site is questionable in the sense of being intended as a royal residential 'palace'. It does not seem to have ever been described as fortified.
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Sources of information, references and further reading
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This record last updated 26/07/2017 09:20:08

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