I started to explore Kings Lynn earlier in the year and found it’s full of lovely little gems, as well as larger ones.  I have posted quite a few and I am working my way through my finds, but what I find interesting are what I call the leftovers, the bits that just got left…..thank goodness.  This wonderful leftover is all that remains of Whitefriars Friary, the Whitefriars Gate also called the Carmelite Gate.


The Whitefriars also called The Carmelites had established a friary in South Lynn before 1260,  In the 14th century there is mention of two stretches of cloister, an infirmary, refectory and residence with a garden.  A church and cemetery were on the northern part of the site, there were two gateways into the percent.  By the 13th century there were three other friaries in Lynn, the Greyfriars 1264, the Blackfriars 1272 and the Austinians arrived in 1293 ( You can see the Austin Friary post in my tour of Kings Lynn )

DSC_0733 - Version 2


If you walk through the arch and walk away from the town you come to an area called Harding Pits, which is a large green area, were you can walk, play or watch birds.  But before it was an open space for everyone, in the 12th to 14th century, the green was among the lands of the Whitefriars.  For this reason the site is known to the locals as the Abbey, particullay to the older residents.

Kings Lynn Bridge St Whitefriars gateway [0641] 1935-08-12

The northern gateway is dated 15th century, built of brick and ashlar dressing and the north side has two storeys in elevation but not the south.  The gateway is a grade 2 listed building.  It hasn’t changed much since the the late 1940’s from this old photo, the surrounding buildings have, but luckily the gate remained, while the rest was demolished.

The Friary was dissolved in 1538 and what is amazing, is that one of the gateways is still standing, over 500 years later.



4 Replies to “Kings Lynn Whitefriars”

  1. Wow, what an amazing little place! I love these little marooned time capsules! That surely must be one of the earliest brick buildings in England (not that I am an expert, but it seems very early). What a lovely history, and I do love the old black-and-white photo.

    1. This is the reason I love Kings Lynn, its just full of these little time capsules 🙂 There is a church that I have visited, where the tower is brick and about the same age as the gate….will have do some research into it 🙂

  2. That is a remarkable survivor – although those windows look even older to me – do you think they may have been reused from an earlier building or just showing their age?

    1. The windows could be earlier as the Friary was started in1260, so they could have been recycled when they built the gate, but to me it looks more like little niches for statutes, maybe.

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