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  Friar of the Sack                       

The Friars of the Sack (Bretheren of Penance, or Fratres de Sacco)  were a short lived Mendicant Order of brothers, suppressed by Pope Gregory X in 1274 C.E.  On this page you will find links to some of the information regarding mendicant orders on the web, as well as information from Abbot Gasquet's book English Monastic Life. Gasquet published the book through The Antiquaries Book series in 1904.  It is now out of print and not generally available.  There may be  factual errors in the text, or points on which historians or theologians do not agree.  Gasquet's text, notes & links>>

Friar of the Sack
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The Friars

      The friars differed from the monks in certain ways.  The brethren by their profession were bound, not to any locality or house, but to the province, which 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 corporate property like the monastic Orders.  They were by their profession mendicants, living on alms, and only holding the mere buildings in whey they dwelt. 

The Lesser Friars

Friars of 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 bag or 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 Friars, or 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, Spain, and Germany, 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 universally, and in England, the Fratres de Sacco remained in existence until the final suppression of the religious Orders in the sixteenth 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.  

   English Monastic Life by F.A. Gasquet.  (pages 234 & 241-242.)

Friars of the Sack--Houses in England
(Gasquet doesn't give a lot of information in his index.  All that is available is listed here.  For more English Religious Houses, see the index page):

















Friars of the Sack Links:

The Mendicant Friars, an article from New Advent.org.

Three articles from British History online:
'Friaries: The friars of the sack, Canterbury', A History of the County of Kent: Volume 2 (1926), p. 205.
'Friaries: 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.
'Friaries: Lynn', A History of the County of Norfolk: Volume 2 (1906), pp. 426-28.

An article on Mendicant Friars by Lynn Harry Nelson, the University of Kansas.

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