The ruins of Greyfriars Medieval Friary in Dunwich are all that is left of what was once a thriving ancient city and medieval port. Much of the city was lost when it ‘fell’ in to the sea due to coastal erosion and storms. Large storms in the 13th and 14th century swept entire villages and hundreds of homes in to the sea.
Greyfriars remains one of the very few medieval buildings from a time when Dunwich was home to as many as 10 churches, 2 friaries a thriving port and a daily market. Built further inland after a storm swept away the original friary, the ruins of Greyfriars today gives the visitor a glimpse in to the scale and grandeur of the building it was when the Franciscan monks built it in the late 13th century.
It is believed to have been occupied by the monks right up to the Dissolution in 1539 after which ownership passed through a number of different families. The entrance to the friary is in itself imposing and walking through the arched stone gate and wall, there is an air of being transported back in to medieval times. What little is left of the ruins of the internal buildings lend itself to the grandeur of what it might have been.
Walking further along the fenced path, it is surreal to see horses and livestock grazing right up to the walls of the ruins. Directly opposite the Friary entrance at the other end of the field lies the sole remaining grave of what was previously the cemetery of All Saints’ Church. Much of the cemetery along with the Church now lie in the North Sea.
While the Dunwich Greyfriars Trust was established to own and manage the Friary site, it appears that relatively little is being done to add to its general appeal. Perhaps they too are simply awaiting the inevitable fate of Greyfriars finally falling in to the sea.
You can see more photos submitted by reviewers here.
Black Pig Cottage, Monastery Hill, Dunwich, Saxmundham IP17 3DR
- Free Car Park
- Public Toilets
- Flora Tea Rooms
- The Ship at Dunwich Pub
- Dunwich Museum
- Dunwich Beach