differed from the monks
in certain ways. The brethren by their
profession were bound, not to any locality or house, but to the
usually consisted of the entire number of houses in a country. They did not, consequently, form individual
families in their various establishments, like the monks in their
monasteries. They also, at first,
professed the strictest poverty, not being allowed to possess even
property like the monastic Orders. They
were by their profession mendicants, living on alms, and only holding
buildings in whey they dwelt.
The Lesser Friars
the Sack, or De Penitentia
These brethren of
penance were called “Friars of the Sack”
because there dress was cut without other form than that of a simple
sack, and made of coarse clothe, like sackcloth. Most
authorities, however, represent this as
merely a familiar name, and say that their real title was that of
Brethren of Penance. They took their origin apparently in Italy,
and came to England
during the reign of Henry III., where, about A.D. 1257,
they opened a house in London. They had many settlements in France,
but lost most of them after the Council of Lyons in A.D.
1274, when Pope
Gregory X. suppressed all begging friars with the exception of the four
mendicant Orders of Dominicans, Franciscans, Austin Friars, and
Carmelites. This did not, however, apply
the Fratres de Sacco remained in
existence until the final suppression of the religious Orders in the
century. The dress of these friars was
apparently made of rough brown cloth, and was not unlike that of the
Franciscans ; they had their feet bare and world wooden sandals. Their mode of life was very austere, and they
never ate meat and drank only water.
Monastic Life by
F.A. Gasquet. (pages 234 & 241-242.)
Friars of the Sack Links:
The Mendicant Friars
an article from New Advent.org.
Three articles from British History online:
The friars of the sack, Canterbury', A History of the County
of Kent: Volume 2 (1926), p. 205.
The friars of the Sack', A History of the County of London:
Volume 1: London within the Bars, Westminster and Southwark
(1909), pp. 513-14.
Lynn', A History of the County of Norfolk: Volume 2
(1906), pp. 426-28.
An article on Mendicant
by Lynn Harry Nelson, the University of Kansas.