The Austin Friary at Hull

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The Austin Friary at Hull

November 25 @ 5:00 pm - 6:00 pm


Out of London Meeting York

The Austin Friary at Hull 

by Dr Dave Evans FSA  –Taking place in York

The Austin Friary at Hull was founded in 1316-17, and was the last house of this mendicant Order to surrender to the Crown. Unusually for a site in the heart of a major medieval town, large parts of its main buildings were left standing at the Dissolution; the site would pass into the hands of the family of a leading Crown official in the area, and some of its buildings would be refurbished and occupied for much of the next two centuries. Extensive excavations at this site, in both 1976 and during the 1990s, resulted in over 70% of the main claustral complex being investigated – not only the most extensive investigation of any of this Order’s houses, but also one of the larger excavations of any mendicant house in the UK.

Much of the medieval structural sequence at the site survived in very good condition; this included the footings for an early timber church and a dozen temporary buildings which were utilized during the first 20 years of occupation at the friary, whilst the ground was being prepared for the construction of the future brick and stone buildings. Moreover, the waterlogged nature of the clays on which the friary was then built resulted in creating anaerobic conditions which greatly assisted the preservation of organic remains. The latter included a large number of coffins, made predominantly from imported Baltic oak; these represent one of the largest assemblages of Baltic oak recovered from medieval contexts anywhere in England. Dendrochronological dates derived from these coffins, along with a series of radiocarbon and archaeomagnetic determinations, supplement dates provided by associated finds and architectural evidence, to produce a tightly-dated archaeological sequence.

The excavations included the investigation of some 260 articulated skeletons buried within the friary. The burial population included a substantial proportion of lay-people from the town, who chose to be buried here; many were buried fully clothed. The preservation conditions have assisted the survival of not just the coffins, but also costume evidence, to offer a useful insight into their lives; this, together with the detailed study of the pathology, supplemented by the tightly-dated sequence, mean that sepulchral aspects form a major component of this project. The assemblage includes internationally significant early examples of treponemal disease.

The post-medieval structures include the southern half of one of the town’s leading coaching-inns. An extensive series of wells and cesspits yielded some of the most significant, tightly-dated sealed groups of post-medieval pottery and glass vessels to be recovered from any site in Hull.This important piece of work is now being brought to publication in a series of monographs, to be published by the Society for Medieval Archaeology. This project is being funded by Historic England.

This event will be both in person at York St John University and online. Please select the appropriate ticket below.

Attendance at York St John University:

  • Open to anyone to join, Fellows and Non-Fellows.
  • Places in person will be allocated on a first-come, first-served basis.
  • The event will begin at 17.00 BST. Please arrive in plenty of time
  • There will be refreshments from 4.30pm and drinks following the lecture at 6pm in the Dining Hall.
  • This event will take place at York St John University, Lord Mayor’s Walk, York, YO31 7EX.
  • The event will be in Room Skell 037 and the wine reception in the Dining Room Extension
  • A map of the campus can be found here.

Attendance by Live Stream:

  • Registration is essential.
  • Open to anyone to join, Fellows and Non-Fellows.
  • Once you have registered we will be in touch regarding how you can join via Zoom video-calling.
  • The event will also be live-streamed to YouTube here, so you can watch along if you prefer
  • Places through zoom will be allocated on a first-come, first-served basis.
  • The event will begin at 17.00 BST.
  • You will receive an email with the link to join the day before the lecture.
  • Attendees’ cameras and microphones will be off throughout

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November 25
5:00 pm - 6:00 pm
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York St John University
York St John University, Lord Mayor's Walk
York, YO31 7EX United Kingdom
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