English Monastic Life – Crutched, or Crossed Friars

Article

The Crossed Friars are said by some to have taken their origin in the Low Countries, by others to have come from Italy in very early times, having been instituted or reformed by one Gerard, prior of Saint Maria di Morella at Bologna. In 1169 Pope Alexander III took them under his protection and gave them a fixed rule of life. These friars first came to England in the year 1244. Matthew Paris, writing of that time, says that they appeared before a synod held by the bishop of Rochester, each carrying a stick upon which was a cross. They presented documents from the pope and asked to be allowed to make foundations of their fraternity in England. Clement Reyner puts their first establishment in this country at Reigate, in 1245, and their second in London in 1249. This last is the better known, as it has given the name of Crutched Friars to a locality in the city of London. The friars had a third house at Oxford, and altogether there were six or seven English friaries. Besides the cross upon their staves, from which they originally took their name, the friars had a red cloth cross upon the breasts of their habits.

MLA Citation

  • Dom Adrian Gasquet. “Crutched, or Crossed Friars”. English Monastic Life, 1904. CatholicSaints.Info. 27 November 2018. Web. 19 April 2021. <>