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The arrival in England

Gilbert de Fresnay arrived in England with his band of Dominican friars in 1221. The friars arrived in a land of increasing prosperity and a growing population, yet conflicts between the ruling classes continued to intrude on the daily lives of ordinary folk. These few friars may have felt a little daunted by the task that faced them.

Arriving in one of the ports of the south-east of England, the friars went first to Canterbury and presented themselves to Stephen Langton, Archbishop of Canterbury. Here, Langton challenged the leader of the Dominican expedition, Gilbert of Fresney OP, to preach in church on that same day instead of him. The archbishop was so impressed by the homily that he heard, that the friars enjoyed his patronage for the rest of Langton’s life.

The arrival in England

Gilbert de Fresnay arrived in England with his band of Dominican friars in 1221. The friars arrived in a land of increasing prosperity and a growing population, yet conflicts between the ruling classes continued to intrude on the daily lives of ordinary folk. These few friars may have felt a little daunted by the task that faced them.

Arriving in one of the ports of the south-east of England, the friars went first to Canterbury and presented themselves to Stephen Langton, Archbishop of Canterbury. Here, Langton challenged the leader of the Dominican expedition, Gilbert of Fresney OP, to preach in church on that same day instead of him. The archbishop was so impressed by the homily that he heard, that the friars enjoyed his patronage for the rest of Langton’s life.

The first English priory

The friars then walked to London, the capital city, arriving on 10 August, before proceeding to Oxford, where they arrived on the Feast of the Assumption, 15 August 1221. The Oxford that greeted the friars was a walled town rising above the rivers and marshland that encircled it.

In Oxford, the friars were probably given wooden buildings previously used for other purposes, which they changed or added to according to their needs. The community grew rapidly and acquired neighbouring properties behind, building a schoolroom.

The friars’ fraternal charism and preaching mission brought something new to Oxford: a form of Christian scholarship that was not associated so much in the minds of the laypeople with clerics and the Church’s power but with the living out and proclamation of the gospel.

The first English priory

The friars then walked to London, the capital city, arriving on 10 August, before proceeding to Oxford, where they arrived on the Feast of the Assumption, 15 August 1221. The Oxford that greeted the friars was a walled town rising above the rivers and marshland that encircled it.

In Oxford, the friars were probably given wooden buildings previously used for other purposes, which they changed or added to according to their needs. The community grew rapidly and acquired neighbouring properties behind, building a schoolroom.

The friars’ fraternal charism and preaching mission brought something new to Oxford: a form of Christian scholarship that was not associated so much in the minds of the laypeople with clerics and the Church’s power but with the living out and proclamation of the gospel.

Royal confessors

King Henry III was a pious king, attending daily Mass and alleviating the poor through benefactions. He was a great patron of the friars and Dominicans would serve as his confessors. His patronage partly explains the rapid growth of the Dominicans in Britain during his long reign.

The growth of the Dominicans proceeded in partnership with patronage and benefactions led by Henry III and the bishops. The lead provided by the king in making gifts to them (including timber from the royal forests) encouraged others to do the same.

Royal confessors

King Henry III was a pious king, attending daily Mass and alleviating the poor through benefactions. He was a great patron of the friars and Dominicans would serve as his confessors. His patronage partly explains the rapid growth of the Dominicans in Britain during his long reign.

The growth of the Dominicans proceeded in partnership with patronage and benefactions led by Henry III and the bishops. The lead provided by the king in making gifts to them (including timber from the royal forests) encouraged others to do the same.

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