Monastic Wales.

Event detail for site: Newport

c. 1377: Foundation

The friary was founded shortly before 1377 by Hugh, earl of Stafford, seemingly on the site of a chapel dedicated to St Nicholas.

The foundation had received authorisation from the pope, Urban V, in 1364, who stipulated that Newport should be able to maintain twelve friars.
The first prior was Thomas Leche who probably came from the Austin Friars' house in Staffordshire which was founded by Earl Hugh's father, Ralph. Leche, as the founding prior of Newport, vowed to 'promote the welfare of the Stafford souls'. He also agreed to pay the vicar of the parish church at St Woolos an annual pension of one mark by way of compensation for any revenue lost from the arrival of the friars [see below]. Newport was endowed with thirty-one burgages and a 'free place' in Newport which was likely a chapel.

'Between Thomas, Abbot of St Peter's at Gloucester, and the convent of the same place, appropriate rectors of the parish church of Newport, of the one part and
Henry Tesdale, prior provincial in England of the Order of Hermits of Saint Augustine, and brother Thomas Leche, the prior, and the brethren of the same order at Newport.
The said abbot and convent, at the earnest request of the Lord Hugh, earl of Stafford, their founder, have given to the said prior or guardian, and the brethren of the same order, licence, and free liberty, to erect, build, and construct an oratory or house of the said brothers hermits, upon those thirty-one burgages, being in the parish of their said church of Newport. And lest the said abbot and convent or their church of Newport, should suffer any loss in tithes and oblations arising from the places so given to them, and likewise for the site of the chapel of Saint Nicholas and the area or land to the said chapel annexed, and adjoining, the prior or guardian of the said house of brethren at Newport shall pay an annual pension of 13s. 4d. to the vicar of their church of Newport.

[from a deed in the cartulary of St Peter's, Gloucester; cited in Wakeman, The Monastery of Austin Friars at Newport, pp. 5-6; and online at:]

Bibliographical sources

Printed sources

Medieval Religious Houses, England and Wales, ed. R. Neville Hadcock and David Knowles (Harlow, 1971) p. 242

Web links (open in new window)

Newport Past: Early History website, Conjectural (online) plan of medieval Newport (View website)

Trett, Bob, Newport Past: Austin Friars (View website)

Other events in the history of this site

c.1377Foundation - The friary was founded shortly before 1377 by Hugh, earl of Stafford, seemingly on the site of a chapel dedicated to St Nicholas.
 [3 sources]
c.1402Destruction - The friary was destroyed in the Welsh revolt but was rebuilt shortly thereafter thanks to the duke of Buckingham. [2 sources]
pre 1448Bequest - Hugh, duke of Buckingham, gave twenty-two burgages to the friary. [1 sources]
1482Bequest - Henry, duke of Buckingham, gave six burgages to the friar. [1 sources]
1495Bequest - Jasper Tudor, duke of Bedford and uncle of Henry VII, bequeathed twenty shillings to the Austin Friars at Newport. [2 sources]
1538Dissolution - On 8 September 1538 the friary was surrendered to the king's agent by the last prior of Newport, Richard Batte. [5 sources]