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Conservation Plan Blackfriars Priory, Gloucester

October 2007
Feilden Clegg Bradley Architects LLP

Feilden Clegg Bradley Architects LLP

Contents
Contents List of Illustrations 1.0 2.0 2.1 3.0 3.1 3.2 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 4.4 4.5 4.6 4.7 4.8 5.0 5.1 5.2 5.3 5.4 Introduction Understanding the Context The historical development of Gloucester Understanding the Site Overview of the site Historical development of the site The Gazetteer The North Range The East Range The South Range The West Range The Cloister and Precinct Archaeology Commercial Road Buildings Southgate Street Buildings Significance Summary of significance Significance of the site Significance of the buildings List of Statutory Designations 6.0 6.1 6.2 6.3 6.4 6.5 6.6 6.7 6.8 6.9 6.10 6.11 6.12 6.13 7.0 Issues of Vulnerability and Policies Managing future change Context and setting Conservation, maintenance and repair Re-use of existing buildings Archaeology Potential for demolition Intervention and new building Vandalism and security Vehicle and pedestrian access Services Landscape Interpretation Sensitivity to change Consultation and Implementation

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List of Illustrations
List of Illustrations

Gloucester Blackfriars south side


National Monuments Record 1942

Fig 13 Fig 14 Fig 15 Fig 16 Fig 17 Fig 18 Fig 19

Sections showing a reconstruction of the Priory


Diagram based on drawing by Kirsty Rodwell

Fig 25 Fig 26 Fig 27 Fig 28 Fig 29

Blackfriars from the north, S & N Buck 1732 North range viewed from the cloister North range, east elevation Remains of north aisle wall and bay window West elevation and C14th precinct gateway relocated from Longsmith Street North range, external north elevation
Diagram based on drawing by Kirsty Rodwell

Fig 1 Fig 2

Site Location Plan


Ordinance Survey

Plan showing layout of Thomas Bells mansion


Diagram based on drawing by Kirsty Rodwell

Illustration showing the Roman wall and the site of the gaol and Norman castle in relation to Blackfriars Speeds map of 1610 Kips map of c. 1710 Ordnance survey map 1883 Aerial view of Gloucester today
Courtesy of GHURC

Plan showing Priory buildings in the 1770s


Diagram based on drawing by Kirsty Rodwell

Interior of the north transept reception room


National Monuments Record 1946

Fig 3 Fig 4 Fig 5 Fig 6 Fig 7

Entrance hall to Blackfriars


National Monuments Record 1946

Fig 30 Fig 31 Fig 32 Fig 33 Fig 34 Fig 35 Fig 36 Fig 37 Fig 38

Plan showing Priory buildings in the mid C19th


Diagram based on drawing by Kirsty Rodwell

North range, internal north elevation


Diagram based on drawing by Kirsty Rodwell

Plan showing Priory buildings at the time of the mineral water factory
Diagram based on drawing by Kirsty Rodwell

North range, external south elevation


Diagram based on drawing by Kirsty Rodwell

Site plan showing the footprint of the Blackfriars site Blackfriars Priory today, viewed from the east
Courtesy of GHURC

Fig 20 Fig 21 Fig 22 Fig 23 Fig 24

East range prior to repair works


Ministy of Works 1954

North range, external west elevation


Diagram based on drawing by Kirsty Rodwell

Fig 8 Fig 9 Fig 10 Fig 11

North gate to Priory grounds


National Monuments Record 1952

North range internal south elevation


Diagram based on drawing by Kirsty Rodwell

Blackfriars church, from Coles rental of 1455 Image showing monks of the Dominican order Diagrams showing phased development of the priory
Diagram based on drawing by Kirsty Rodwell

North range from the south


National Monuments Record 1932

North range, internal west elevation


Diagram based on drawing by Kirsty Rodwell

Buildings within the cloister


National Monuments Record 2004

South aisle wall viewed from the cloister


Diagram based on drawing by Kirsty Rodwell

Fig 12

Plan showing the C13th layout


Diagram based on drawing by Kirsty Rodwell

Stukeleys view of Blackfriars from the north west 1721

South aisle wall viewed from the church


Diagram based on drawing by Kirsty Rodwell

View of the interior of the west wall showing the stripped interior of the north range

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List of Illustrations

Fig 39

View of the interior of east wall showing one of the large windows of the C16th Hall The interior of the north wall showing the remains of the arcaded stonework to the choir The night door providing access to the choir from the Monks dormitory East range viewed from the east East range viewed from the cloister East range, external east elevation
Diagram based on drawing by Kirsty Rodwell

Fig 51

South range viewed from the cloister showing the remains of the lavatorium Interior of the loading bay at the east end of the south range South elevation viewed from Commercial Road South range, internal north elevation
Diagram based on drawing by Kirsty Rodwell

Fig 65 Fig 66

West range viewed from Ladybellegate Street No. 11 Ladybellegate Street viewed from north Interior of southern room West range, external east elevation
Diagram based on drawing by Kirsty Rodwell

Fig 40

Fig 52

Fig 67 Fig 68 Fig 69 Fig 70 Fig 71

Fig 41

Fig 53 Fig 54

Fig 42 Fig 43 Fig 44 Fig 45 Fig 46

West range, external west elevation


Diagram based on drawing by Kirsty Rodwell

Fig 55 Fig 56 Fig 57 Fig 58 Fig 59 Fig 60 Fig 61 Fig 62 Fig 63 Fig 64

South range, external north elevation


Diagram based on drawing by Kirsty Rodwell

West range, internal north elevation


Diagram based on drawing by Kirsty Rodwell

South range, internal south elevation


Diagram based on drawing by Kirsty Rodwell

East range, internal east elevation


Diagram based on drawing by Kirsty Rodwell

West range, internal elevation to north wall of refectory


Diagram based on drawing by Kirsty Rodwell

South range, external south elevation


Diagram based on drawing by Kirsty Rodwell

North transept internal east and west elevations East range, external west elevation
Diagram based on drawing by Kirsty Rodwell

Fig 72 Section through south range


Kirsty Rodwell

West range, internal elevation to south party wall of no. 11 Ladybellegate Street
Diagram based on drawing by Kirsty Rodwell

Fig 47 Fig 48

East range, internal west elevation


Diagram based on drawing by Kirsty Rodwell

The Scriptorium and remains of study carrels Ground floor of south range looking west The Scriptorium, view looking east Ground floor of the south range looking east Elevation, section and plan through study carrel
Knowles 1932

Fig 73 Fig 74 Fig 75

West range, internal east elevation


Diagram based on drawing by Kirsty Rodwell

Interior of the east range showing an example of the wall painting Interior of the east range showing the remains of the fireplaces to Thomas Bells kitchen South range viewed from the cloister showing the loading bay

West range, internal west elevation


Diagram based on drawing by Kirsty Rodwell

Fig 49

Reconstruction of section through scriptorium and refectory looking south Reconstruction of section through refectory looking west towards the pulpit View of the cloister area

Fig 76

Fig 50

Illustration of study carrels


Knowles 1932

Fig 77

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List of Illustrations
Fig 78 Photograph of part of the excavated east cloister walk
Kirsty Rodwell

Fig 92 Fig 93

Detail of the Black Swan Hotel Brunswick Baptist Church and 52-56 Southgate Street View of the rear extension to the Black Swan Hotel Brunswick Baptist Church Carpark to the rear of 52-56 Southgate Street Detail of grafitti to be found in the Scriptorium Diagram of statutory designations 3D image of Blackfriars

Fig 108 Diagram showing the sensitivity to change within the site (first floor) Fig 109 Diagram showing the sensitivity to change within the site (second floor)

Fig 79

Plan showing the excavations in the north east corner of the walk and the pattern of tiles found
Kirsty Rodwell

Fig 94 Fig 95 Fig 96 Fig 97 Fig 98 Fig 99

Fig 80

Late medieval precinct and suggested form of the little cloister


Kirsty Rodwell

Fig 81 Fig 82 Fig 83 Fig 84

Relocated C14th arched gateway Building on the site of the former orchard View east along Blackfriars Lane Diagrammatic summary of the archaeology within the priory curtilage
Diagram based on drawing by Kirsty Rodwell

Fig 100 View of Blackfriars from the car park to the north Fig 101 View of access along Blackfriars Lane from Southgate Street Fig 102 Diagrammatic summary of the archaeology within the Priory curtilage
Diagram based on drawing by Kirsty Rodwell

Fig 85 Fig 86 Fig 87 Fig 88

View of Clutch Clinic prior to demolition Proximity of Clutch Clinic to south range wall Demolition of Clutch Clinic in progress (2004) Demolition of Clutch Clinic revealing the south range elevation Photomontage of the Royal British Legion from the junction between Commercial Road and Ladybellegate Street Photomontage of Commercial Road from the Royal British Legion to Blackfriars Inn Nos. 4 and 6 Commercial Road

Fig 103 The garage facing Commercial Road Fig 104 Workshops adjacent to the east range Fig 105 Diagram of potential demolition within the Blackfriars site Fig 106 Diagram of potential new landscaping and construction areas within the Blackfriars site Fig 107 Diagram showing the sensitivity to change within the site (ground floor)

Fig 89

Fig 90

Fig 91

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1.0 Introduction
Blackfriars Priory is located within the historic city of Gloucester on a route midway between Westgate Street and the Docks. The Priory dates from the C13th and the standing remains of the claustral buildings are listed and along with the surrounding landscape are a scheduled ancient monument. The precincts of the Priory, which once included a cemetery and orchards, have been built over and now the claustral buildings are largely hidden by later development. The site to which this Conservation Plan refers extends beyond the limits of the Priory to include the whole urban block bounded by Southgate Street to the east, Commercial Road to the south and Ladybellegate Street to the west. Blackfriars Lane forms the northern boundary of the site and provides a link with historic Southgate Street. The aerial photograph overleaf shows the footprint of this urban block. Historically, Blackfriars Priory is situated in the south-west quadrant of the medieval city of Gloucester, close to the original Southgate entrance into the city. The site is also close to the remains of the Roman city wall and built over the peripheral remains of the Norman castle. The remains of the Priory have been continually adapted and altered throughout their existence, though what remains today is one of the most complete Dominican priories in England and is an important part of Gloucesters rich heritage. It is for this reason, as well as for the historic importance of individual features, that the Priory and the surrounding site now form a key element in the proposed regeneration of the Greater Blackfriars site. This Conservation Plan has been commissioned by the Gloucester Heritage Urban Regeneration Company whose aim is to incorporate the Blackfriars Priory site into a larger scheme for the regeneration of central Gloucester.

Fig.1 Site Location Plan

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2.0 Understanding the context


2.1 The historical development of Gloucester
Blackfriars Priory has been influenced throughout its history by the changing character of the city of Gloucester and is located within a rich historical context that dates back to the early Roman settlement of Glevum. The following section describes the development of Gloucester to give a contextural historic introduction to the Conservation Plan. Roman Settlement The earliest permanent settlement at Gloucester was founded during the Roman occupation of Britain in 48AD. A Roman fortress was built north of the present city centre at a crossing point of the River Severn. By 70AD the fortress was abandoned and a new settlement of Glevum, meaning bright town, was built on the site of the present city centre. The settlement was planned according to Roman custom as a rectangle, divided into four equal parts by two main roads that met at the forum and enclosed within a perimeter wall. By the end of the first century the settlement was a Colonia. Only Colchester, Lincoln and York shared this status. Anglo Saxon and Norman In 577AD Gloucester passed into Saxon control following the battle of Dyrham and by 679AD a Minster had been founded. Gloucester began to prosper again and by the end of the C9th new streets had been laid, many of which remain today. St Oswalds Priory was founded in 900AD which became a place of pilgrimage. Following the Norman Conquest Gloucester grew as an important administrative and commercial town. The defences were improved and a castle was built on the corner of the Roman defences. This lasted only 50 years and a second was built on the site now occupied by the prison. Gloucester was an important religious centre and in 1072 William I instructed the rebuilding of St Peters Abbey which stood on the old Minster site. This soon became one of the principal Benedictine centres in England.
Fig. 2 Illustration showing the Roman wall and the site of the gaol and Norman castle in relation to Blackfriars

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2.0 Understanding the context


2.1 The historical development of Gloucester
Medieval The Benedictines of St Peters Abbey were the most important monastic order within the city in the C11th and C12th. However, by the beginning of the C13th other monasteries were being established. Henry III, who was crowned at St Peters in 1216, retained a strong connection with Gloucester and gave funds for the construction of these new monasteries within the city. Greyfriars was founded in 1231, Blackfriars in 1239 and Whitefriars in about 1268. St Peters retained its superior status, and in 1307 the tomb of Edward II was brought to the Abbey and soon became a popular site of pilgrimage. The wealth of medieval Gloucester was primarily derived from the manufacture of wool cloth, though other small industries thrived in the centre of the town. Westgate Street was the most important commercial street in the city with the market, Guildhall and Mint. Southgate Street contained the fish and corn markets and was the main route to Bristol. Until 1275 Eastgate Street was the Jewish Quarter and grew in importance in the Middle Ages as it linked Gloucester to the important cloth making area of the Stroud Valley. The layout of the subsidiary streets was largely determined by long and narrow burgage plots which lay at right angles to the main streets. These plots were originally used as gardens or extra space for outbuildings, workshops, stables and occasionally additional cottages. Despite almost continuous rebuilding of individual plots, the characteristics of the medieval street system and orientation of plots remained almost unchanged for the next four centuries.
Fig. 3 Speeds map of 1610

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2.0 Understanding the context


2.1 The historical development of Gloucester
Tudor and Jacobean In the C16th the power of church was being challenged by the growth of a prosperous merchant class who created a more diverse and dynamic local economy. With the Dissolution of the monasteries from 1536 the form and character of the city became more secular and professional with new timber framed shops filling the main street frontages. By 1600 Gloucester had several successful specialist markets and became a prosperous centre for trade. Manufacturing industries grew and were supplied by raw materials from the surrounding regions and iron ore from the Forest of Dean. By the late C17th the textile industry began to decline and metalworking became more important. Gloucester had no direct overseas trade and continued to depend upon Bristol for imports and links with foreign markets. During the Civil War Gloucester was a Parliamentary stronghold and many of its suburbs were demolished to improve its defences, however following the Restoration in 1660 Gloucester was made to suffer for its allegiance and its previously steady growth was halted. Georgian Improvements in the road connections and expansion of the port improved overseas trade and in the C18th Gloucesters fortunes improved. The central commercial heart of the town was remodelled and streets widened. The historic gates into the city were demolished to improve access. New markets were built off Southgate Street and Eastgate Street and by 1770 the appearance of Gloucester had substantially changed. Timber fronts to buildings were replaced or refaced with brick facades and classical detailing. Public building increased and many religious and civic buildings were built, though few survive today.
Fig. 4 Kips Map of c.1710

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2.0 Understanding the context


2.1 The historical development of Gloucester
Regency Difficulties in navigating the River Severn limited Gloucesters trade potential and the city expanded little beyond its medieval limits. However this changed in 1791 when construction began on the Gloucestershire and Berkeley canal, supervised by the engineer Thomas Telford. The canal and basin took 30 years to build and was the longest and deepest canal in Britain. The basin became the centre for expansion with over 20 warehouses erected for the storage of grain and timber. Victorian Gloucester experienced almost uninterrupted growth as a result of the success of the docks until the end of the C19th. Port trade peaked in 1850 then began to decline due to its inability to accommodate the increasing size of ocean going ships and competition from new docks at Avonmouth and Portishead. In response, the railways began to expand to link Gloucester with Birmingham, Swindon and Bristol, so that water transport could no longer compete. The success of the railways enabled Gloucester to continue to expand and maintain its role as a thriving market centre serving the surrounding agricultural areas. Late C19th saw construction of new suburbs to house the increasing population. Over the 20 year period from 1851 to 1871 the population of 7000 doubled. The move of people out of the city centre changed the character of Gloucester and by 1850 the centre was dominated by brick and stucco shop fronts and few of the old timber fronts remained. In the 1870s and 1880s Gloucester experienced a building boom as banks, offices and larger stores moved into the centre and civic, religious and public buildings were built to serve the increasing population. Small industries became established in small areas of back-land within the town walls which would have once been open space.

Fig. 5 Ordnance Survey map 1883

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2.0 Understanding the context


2.1 The historical development of Gloucester
The 20th Century Throughout the C20th Gloucester suffered badly from the demolition of much of its historic fabric, from the adoption of post-war architectural trends and from attempts to comprehensively solve the problems of increasing numbers of vehicles. By the outbreak of World War One the centre was governed almost entirely by commercial interests and in the 1900s several buildings in the Blackfriars area were demolished to make way for an electricity works to supply the needs of the city. Westgate Street was further widened and Northgate Street and Eastgate Street were extensively rebuilt in the 1920s and 30s to accommodate new larger department stores. Gloucester escaped significant bomb damage during World War Two, though the post war period was marked by extensive demolition of historic buildings to make way for commercial redevelopment. Resulting in what the Shell Guide of 1951 describes as the houses around the cross have been re-built several times resulting in a most unworthy centre for any town anywhere. The corporation commissioned a comprehensive redevelopment plan by the architect GA Jellicoe to cope with increased traffic and provide new shopping and social facilities. The plan presented in 1962 resulted in a permanent change of character and scale to the central area and included the destruction of most of the medieval street pattern, disrupting the few ancient thoroughfares that remained. Gloucester embraced brutalistic change and what remains today is largely the result of the heavy handed redevelopment that took place in the 1960s and 70s.

Fig. 6 Aerial view of Gloucester today

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3.0 Understanding the site


3.1 Overview of the site
Before considering the individual buildings in more detail it is useful to provide an overview of the various components of the site, many of which have evolved and changed over the 750 years of the Priorys existence. The Blackfriars site consists of a collection of buildings, including the Priory complex which occupies the majority of the site and faces onto Ladybellegate Street, as well as Blackfriars Lane and the later buildings which face onto Southgate Street and Commercial Street. The Priory buildings are all Grade I Listed with the exception of nos. 13 to 19 Ladybellegate Street which are Grade II* Listed. The boundary walls facing Blackfriars Lane and Ladybellegate Street are also Listed Grade II*. The Priory buildings, together with Blackfriars Inn and the surrounding grounds are a Scheduled Ancient Monument and the whole site falls within a conservation area (Gloucester Conservation Area No. 5). The Black Swan Hotel which forms part of the Conservation Plan site and faces onto Southgate Street is also Listed Grade II.

Fig. 7 Site plan showing the footprint of the Blackfriars site

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3.0 Understanding the Site


3.1 Overview of the site
Although no longer complete the Priory complex retains much of its original fabric and the original ground plan of four ranges built around a central cloister. The north range was once the Priory church and faces onto Blackfriars Lane. It was heavily reduced in length following the Dissolution when the building was converted into a mansion. The west range was largely rebuilt in the C19th and stands today as a terrace of domestically scaled 3-4 storied buildings facing onto Ladybellegate Street. The south range is largely intact and is located behind the Commercial Road properties while the east range was heavily demolished and only the northern part of the original range remains alongside an adjoining brick building which is now used as a garage workshop. The other buildings included within the Conservation Plan face onto Commercial Road and Southgate Street. The Commercial Road properties include the Royal British Legion building, Tile Centre, Blackfriars Inn, car showroom and no. 4 Commercial Road. There is access via the garage into the heart of the site where a number of C19th to C20th buildings exist that are used as garage workshops. There is also access to the south of the Priory via a lane which exists behind the Commercial Road buildings. The Southgate Street properties include the three storied C19th Grade II Listed Black Swan Hotel which stands at the junction between Commercial Road and Southgate Street, Brunswick Baptist Church and no. 64 Southgate Street, both of which date from the mid C20th. Areas of hard standing exist to the rear of all of these properties which is currently used for parking.
Fig. 8 Blackfriars Priory today, viewed from the east

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3.0 Understanding the Site


3.2 Historical development of the site
Blackfriars Priory today is the most complete survival of a mediaeval Dominican priory in Britain. However, it has been greatly adapted and altered throughout its lifetime and what remains today is a result of various phases of evolution and change. The following section describes the key periods in the Priorys history. The Dominican Order The Dominican Order was established in France in the early C13th and by 1221 the first friars had been sent to England. In1225 the first Dominican house was built at Oxford. The Dominican monks established themselves within towns in order to fight the twin evils of heresy and doubt. They took vows of poverty, chastity and obedience and lived a communal lifestyle within the friary. Unlike their rivals the Franciscans, the Dominican monks spent much of their time studying the scriptures. The order became known as the Black Friars due to the black hoods and mantles which they wore over their white robes. The Dominicans founded a friary in Gloucester c. 1239. Documents show that Henry III made a Royal grant of 20 marks towards its construction and provided oaks from the royal forests. The Priory was built in the south western quarter of the Roman walled town on the site of the first Norman castle. The site may also have been a gift from the King. The majority of building works took place between 1240 and c.1265 and the church was finally consecrated in 1284. In 1292 additional land was bought to enlarge the domain of the Priory and to enclose a lane leading from the town to the Friars garden, which was to become Ladybellegate Street. Further land was acquired in 1365 from the Prior of Llanthony which enabled Blackfriars to extend south. The precinct was smaller than that of Greyfriars and would have included an area set aside for a cemetery opposite the church which was used for laity as well as friars. Phase 1: The Medieval Priory (mid C13th) The C13th Priory was an example of the early English style of gothic architecture. When complete the friary conformed to a standard monastic plan, with buildings arranged around a cloister. To the north was the church which incorporated an aisled preaching nave, a transeptial crossing and a choir for the sole use of the brothers. The plan was typical of friary churches, enabling the friars to preach and give scholarly sermons to the people of Gloucester. The church would have been attended by the friars nine times a day. The friars would have eaten together in the refectory situated in the west range and shared a dormitory in the east range above the chapter house where the affairs of the community were decided. The Friars missionary role and scholarly life meant that Blackfrairs differed from the standard monastic layout, in that the upper floor of the entire south range was built as a scriptorium where the friars would have studied. The room still retains 20 of its original study carrels, each with a window to provide good natural light. This space is also thought to have been used as a library and as such is considered to be the oldest in England.

Fig. 9 Blackfriars church from Coles rental of 1455

Fig. 10 Image showing monks of the Dominican Order

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3.0 Understanding the Site


3.2 Historical development of the site

Phase 1 The Medieval Priory (mid C13th)

Phase 3 Thomas Bells Mansion (mid C16th)

Phase 5 New Houses and Streets (mid C19th)

Phase 2 Expansion of the Church (C14th to late C15th alterations) Fig. 11 Diagrams showing the phased development of the Priory

Phase 4 Subdivision of the Priory (mid C18th)

Phase 6 Industries and Change (mid C19th to the present day)

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3.0 Understanding the Site


3.2 Historical development of the site

Fig. 12 Plan showing the C13th layout

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3.0 Understanding the Site


3.2 Historical development of the site
Phase 2: Expansion of the Church (C14th to late C15th alterations) During this period changes were made to the church. In the mid C14th the crossing and transepts were rebuilt, heightened and vaulted and a lantern added. The rebuilding works were carried out in the perpendicular gothic style which was typical of the period. A large traceried north facing window was built as part of the north transept and a chapel was created at the east end of the south aisle. Tiled floors were laid and the nave became popular for lay burials. Further alterations were made during the late C15th when the roofs of the aisles were raised. During the late C15th the east range was altered to form a separate lodging for a Prior with a lavish new oriel window and decorative wall paintings. The number of friars at Blackfriars remained constant between 30 and 40 though this declined to seven prior to the Dissolution in 1538. It is not known whether this decline was due to poverty or a gradual planned closure.

Reconstruction of section through the cloister looking towards the church following the C14th alterations

Reconstruction of section through church looking north Fig. 13 Sections showing a reconstruction of the Priory

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3.0 Understanding the Site


3.2 Historical development of the site
Phase 3: Thomas Bells Mansion (mid C16th) The Priory remained as part of the church establishment for three centuries until it was dissolved along with other monasteries in 1538. The buildings were then sold to Thomas Bell, a wealthy local alderman, who had been renting property from the friars before this date. Bell significantly altered the church to create a mansion house and re-used the remaining priory buildings as a factory. The nave and choir of the church were both reduced in length and floor levels were raised within the former nave to create a parlour on the ground floor and a solar on the upper floor with an unheated attic above. The former choir was left as a double height Hall, also with an attic. The east range was adapted to create a kitchen for the mansion house with ovens and fireplaces. Access to the mansion house was from the north, via a new porch which allowed entrance into the cloister area. The cloister was retained and adapted to provide a double height gallery around the perimeter of the cloister and access to the mansion house at two levels. The remaining buildings surrounding the cloister were retained and re-used as a spinning and knitting factory for the manufacture of woollen caps. The Priory remained under the ownership of Thomas Bell until his death in 1566. His will describes the interior of the mansion and mentions the Hall, Great Chamber, White Chamber, New Parlour, Porch Chamber and a cross panel of wainscot with cupboards. It also mentions a house adjoining Blackfriars occupied by a weaver. Thomass wife died in 1567 and Bells place was inherited by Thomass only niece Joan and her husband Thomas Dennys. The property remained within the Dennys family for several generations until 1711.
Fig. 14 Plan showing layout of Thomas Bells mansion

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3.0 Understanding the Site


3.2 Historical development of the site
Phase 4: Subdivision of the Priory (mid C18th) In 1711 Bells place was sold by the Dennys family to Samuel Cockerell who, within a few years of the purchase, had converted several of the buildings into private dwellings. The mansion house was subdivided to form two separate houses. The west range underwent substantial alterations and was let to Joseph Bryant, stonemason, in 1755 who used the northern end as a dwelling and the refectory as a workshop. Samuel Cockerell died in 1734. His first wife Sarah died childless and his second marriage was an unhappy union and in his will he states lastly my will and desire is that the wicked obstinate cheat called Abigail my wife alias the Barbados Bite or any issue of her body shall not have any part or parcel of my personal estate. Cockerells nephew John inherited the Priory and as he lived in Somerset for some time the Priory was entirely occupied by tenants, the chief of which purchased Blackfriars between them. Joseph Bryant bought the west range and the rest was divided between two woolstaplers, John Bush and Abraham Davis. Photographs from 1946 show the internal appearance of some of the rooms created at this time.

Fig. 15 Plan showing Priory buildings c.1770

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3.0 Understanding the Site


3.2 Historical development of the site

Fig. 16 Interior of the north transept reception room National Monuments Record 1946

Fig. 17 Entrance hall to Blackfriars National Monuments Record 1946

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3.0 Understanding the Site


3.2 Historical development of the site
Phase 5: New Houses and Streets (mid C19th) In 1802 George Wood, a promising young stonemason from London, joined John Bryant who died the same year. Wood married one of Bryants daughters and after the death of Bryants widow the house and workshops were sold in 1809 to Wood for 1200. Wood set about recouping this cost by converting the west range into individual houses. By 1817 he had re-fronted his house and constructed nos. 13 and 15 Ladybellegate Street on the site of the refectory. Shortly after Wood sold the family house now known as Blackfriars Lawn to Charles Hough. In c.1850 Commercial Road was built. Around this time the southern part of the west range was used as a stables. It later became a warehouse and by 1894 was used as part of the bottle factory. By the mid C19th a cottage had been built in the space now occupied by no. 17 and office space was built to the west. The south range continued to be used for a variety of commercial purposes. The prosperity of the docks had a growing influence on Blackfriars and in 1849 the south range was sold to James Brimmell and became a ships chandlers. By this time a cottage had been built at the east end on the site of the former malting kiln.

Fig. 18 Plan showing Priory buildings in the mid C19th

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3.0 Understanding the Site


3.2 Historical development of the site
Phase 6: Talbots Mineral Water Factory (late C19th) The most dramatic damage to the medieval buildings was carried out after 1874 when Thomas Talbot bought the east range and the south eastern part of the cloister. By 1880 a large part of the range had been demolished to create a new mineral water factory. The factory extended into the south range which was purchased in 1894 and the dwelling that existed in the east of the south range was subsequently demolished. This was largely rebuilt to create a new loading bay and internal mezzanine which projected into the south alley way. It was at this time that the remaining sections of the cloister gallery were demolished. Talbots mineral water factory continued to operate until 1954 when the property facing Commercial Road was sold to Westgate Motor House Co. and converted into a garage. The garage was extended in 1957 when the southern part of the east range was sold to Westgate Motor House Co. by Stroud Brewery.

Fig. 19 Plan showing Priory buildings at the time of the mineral water factory

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3.0 Understanding the Site


3.2 Historical development of the site
Phase 7: The Ministry of Works and English Heritage (1955 to the present day) Blackfriars was aquired by the Ministry of Works in stages, commencing with the north end of the east range in 1955. The process of acquisition was completed in 2004 when the last part of the cloister garth was purchased by the Regional Development Agency, SWRDA. The C19th Clutch Clinic which had been built over the east range and protruded into the garth was demolished between May and August 2004. The following report prepared by Nicholas Molyneux describes the approach to conservation that has been adopted since 1955:

The initial philosophical approach was to repair the buildings without recourse to reconstruction, but at the same time to strip them back to their medieval form to reveal that with clarity. This was a well established philosophy within the Ministry by the mid 1950s, and was not finally abandoned until the 1980s. It was justified in terms of what would now be regarded as a partial reading of William Morriss philosophy, as espoused by the Society for the Protection of Ancient Buildings (Thompson 1981). The consequence was the extensive stripping out of the later phases from within the church in the late 1960s and 1970s, and where it was not possible to remove the changes from the later C16th onwards to ameliorate their appearance. When acquired (in 1960 and 1962) the church contained two houses which were recorded by a measured survey.

Fig. 20 East range prior to repair works 1954, Ministry of Works

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3.2 Historical development of the site
They were of three main periods, the 13th century monastic fabric, the mid 16th century fabric (including much of the external walls) from when it was purchased and converted by Thomas Bell to a house and workshops, and conversion to two houses in the late 18th century. All of the internal fabric was removed, including floors, staircases and panelling, leaving a medieval shell containing much mid 16th century masonry. The west wall of the nave dates from the 16th century shortening of the church and contains two 16th century chimney pieces which have been left suspended, with the floor returned to the 13th century level. In the north wall of the church it was deemed impossible to remove the late 18th century full height bow window, so it was rendered in a neutral manner on the inside, blocking the windows, whilst leaving the external appearance. The north wall of the north transept was similarly treated, leaving the attractive 18th century sashes with their Gothick heads in situ but concealing them internally. In the south wall of the nave where the fabric appears to have mainly been of 18th century date it was removed entirely and replaced by a simple glazed screen, which had the honesty not to attempt to reconstruct the medieval form, but just enclosed the space. Wherever possible the 13th century fabric was revealed. For example, mid 16th century ashlar was removed on the north wall to reveal a pier of the 13th century arcade, with remains of polychrome decoration. The 13th century scissor braced roof of the church was completely dismantled and then extensively repaired in the workshop with splicing in of new timber to replace decayed fabric. The roof over the crossing was removed because it was not on the line of the 13th cnetury roof, and reconstructed on the earlier profile, but in contemporary materials of painted metal, another result of the approach of conservation without the falsification of a restoration to a presumed original appearance. The west range, which contained the monastic refectory, consists of four houses acquired between 1962 and the early 1980s. The northern house (no 11) still has its 13th century roof, whilst the rest of the buildings have been raised. The intention in 1980 was that the early 19th century fabric of the houses was to be demolished, leaving just the medieval masonry standing. The missing mediaeval walls were to be replaced in the same manner as the south wall of the church, with glazed screens, supporting a steel structure with stone tile covering on the profile of the 13th century roof. This intention was abandoned in 1983, and in 1994 the decision was made to repair the houses to a point where they could be occupied as houses or offices. By the time came to repair the south range the philosophy of repair had changed to a much stricter conserve as found approach. The 13th century roof was the subject of an extensive in-situ repair campaign, without major dismantling. This meant that resin repairs were used to obviate major dismantling, and to ensure the maximum retention of early fabric. Nevertheless, this approach still involved the removal of some of the 19th century features of the bottling plant, such as the inserted ceiling which concealed the roof. The asbestos sheet roof covering was replaced with a traditional Cotswold stone tile roof.

Fig. 21 North gate to the priory grounds 1952 NMR

Fig. 22 North range from the north, 1932 NMR

Fig. 23 Buildings within the cloister, 2004 NMR

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4.1 The North Range
The North Range The north range was once the Priory church and what survives today is the central section, which was converted into a mansion following the Dissolution. This house was subdivided into two properties at the beginning of the C18th with later modifications. What exists today is a single volume space which was stripped in the 1970s of all its interior floors, finishes and partitions back to the masonry shell. The building is watertight and in a good state of repair. The building is rectangular with a projecting north transept. The elevations are a palimpsest of its structural history. The original masonry for the principal church elevations and dressings was limestone ashlar while sandstone blocks were used for some internal walling. The masonry, in particular the limestone, has been re-used during all later periods of construction. The exposed roof of the building comprises the original scissor braced roof structure over the choir and nave though the central section of the roof and the projecting north transept have a new steel structure which shows no reference to the form of roof which would have once related to the demolished south transept. The roof is clad in clay plain tiles with lowered courses of stone tiles at the eaves levels.

Fig. 24 Stukeleys view of Blackfriars from the north west 1721

Fig. 25 Blackfriars from the north, S & N Buck 1732

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4.1 The North Range
Exterior Features: North Elevation (Fig. 30) The north wall of the range shows evidence of all periods of the evolution of the building. The eastern choir end of the church has been truncated to only two bays but still retains examples of the original buttresses with tall lancet arch-headed windows which would have once extended the full length of the elevation (Fig 30a). These windows were infilled in the C16th and new large mullioned and transomed windows were installed to light the full height hall space that was created within the former choir (Fig 30b). The western end of the range was once an aisled nave; during the C16th the north aisle was demolished and infilled with medieval ashlar masonry to create an external wall. Evidence of the original C13th aisle arcade arches are still visible (Fig 30c). As part of this remodelling of the faade a canted double-height oriel window was built to light a new parlour and solar which were built over two floors in the remaining nave area. This window no longer exists and was replaced by a C19th curved bay (Fig 30d). The main feature of the north elevation is the projecting north transept. This was built as part of the church alterations which occurred in the mid C14th, however the large traceried window was infilled in the C18th. Evidence on the west of the transept shows the line of the original aisle roof and the later raised roofline that occurred when the church was remodelled (Fig 33a). All that remains of the north chapel is the piscine and a ruinous external wall (Fig 30e). When the mansion house was initially subdivided in the C18th ground levels were raised and new entrance doors were formed in the north elevation and the medieval openings were modified to suit the new internal arrangements (Fig 30f).

Fig. 26 North range viewed from the cloister

Fig. 27 North range east elevation

Fig. 28 Remains of north aisle wall and bay window

Fig. 29 West elevation and C14th precinct gateway relocated from Longsmith Street

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4.1 The North Range
Exterior Features: East Elevation (Fig.44) The east elevation of the north range dates from the C16th and was constructed when the choir was truncated to create the mansion house. The elevation includes external chimneys which were originally taller and had crenellated tops. The elevation would have originally comprised two large windows either side of the chimney which lit the double height Hall beyond and smaller windows which provided light to an attic space. One of the original larger windows still exists (Fig 44a) though it is missing a transom and its matching left hand window has been removed and exists only as part of a later smaller window (Fig 44b). The modification and removal the original C16th windows was due to the later subdivision of the mansion house. Today there are the remains of cellar doors and windows as well as new doors and windows which date from the C19th. Exterior Features: West Elevation (Fig. 33) The west elevation of the north range like the east also dates from the C16th and was constructed when the nave was truncated to create the mansion house. The existing chimney breast would have matched that on the east elevation and been taller than it is today with a crenellated top. The fenestration of this elevation differs in that it would have originally incorporated three pairs of mullioned windows either side of the chimney which would have lit the Parlour on the ground floor, the Solar on the first floor and the attic space above. These have been largely removed and infilled during subsequent phases of alteration and in the case of one of the lower windows there are the remains of a C19th fireplace built within the depth of the wall where the window would have been (Fig 35a).

a c f e e f d

Fig. 30 North range, external north elevation

b c_

a_ c_
Fig. 31 North range, internal north elevation

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4.1 The North Range

b a h

a d f e g c b

Fig. 32 North range, external south elevation

Fig. 33 North range, external west elevation

b b

Fig. 34 North range, internal south elevation

Fig. 35 North range, internal west elevation

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4.1 The North Range
Exterior Features: South Elevation (Fig. 32) The south elevation of the north range is fragmentary and a large degree of the original fabric has been lost. A large modern metal-framed glazed screen now infills the void where the south transept and south chapel would have been. The western end of the south elevation retains the remains of the C13th aisle arcade including a complete arch and column under-built with later C16th masonry (Fig 32a). Infilled corbels and a weathering line show the position of the lean-to aisle roof (Fig 32b). The eastern end of this elevation is largely C13th and still retains the original night door which provided the friars with direct access from their dormitories to the church choir (Fig 32c). These were connected by a night stair in a pentice, built up against the south elevation of the church. Evidence of this structure still remains in the form of corbels and a weathering for the roof (Fig 32d), together with the scar of the east wall next to the door (Fig 32e). A jamb of an original lancet window also exists which formed the end of a continuous arcade (Fig 32f). The yard area to the east of the east range underwent a series of later alterations. The remains of an oven can be seen which once belonged to the C16th mansion house kitchen (Fig 32g). Remains of the South Aisle to the North Range (Fig 36 and 37) Today the external wall of the south aisle and transept are ruinous and exposed to the elements. Evidence of the C14th to C15th south chapel which once had a small gable and an arched traceried window still exists (Fig 37a) alongside a delicately carved piscina (Fig 37b) with a cinquefoil arched hood moulding and a large recessed tomb (Fig 37c). Excavations revealed a number of graves from this period clustered in front of a former altar (Fig 37d).

Fig. 36 South aisle wall viewed from cloister

b c d

Fig. 37 South aisle wall viewed from church

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4.1 The North Range
Internal Features: North Elevation (Fig. 31) The internal north wall repeats the external building sequence. In the nave, opening up has revealed the remains of a complete drum column (Fig 31a) which would have once formed part of the north aisle arcade. The column retains some of the original red and black decorative paintwork. The most significant feature of the choir which is visible on this elevation is the fragmentary arcade of alternating blind and windowed lancet arches which originally had an inner order of thin Purbeck marble columns and extended right around the choir (Fig 31b). These were damaged by C16th and later alterations when floor levels were altered. Post medieval window openings were blanked off in the restorations of the 1970s. From inside the north range it is possible to see clear evidence of the C14th perpendicular mouldings which once formed the crossing and south transept (Fig 31c). The crossing was rebuilt in the mid C14th and the north crossing piers and transept arch survive to their full height although much damaged by later alterations. They carried a ribbed stone vault with ornamental bosses at the intersections; one of these survives intact and portrays the head of Christ. Arched openings that would have once provided access to the north chapel and aisle are still visible in the side walls of the north transept (Fig 33b). Internal Features: South Elevation (Fig. 34) The south elevation provides us with a similar picture to the exterior, remaining evidence of the original south aisle arcade under-built by later C16th masonry with minor later openings. The centre of this elevation was completely rebuilt in the C18th and was demolished in the 1970s. The south-east crossing pier was reduced to its lowest courses and the foundations of the south-west crossing pier have been excavated. At the east end of the choir the night door (Fig 34a) and remains of the lancet windows (Fig 34b) are visible but much of the wall is plain masonry pitted with the joist pockets of post medieval floors and a diagonal scar indicating the line of a C19th stair. Internal Features: Gable Elevations (Fig. 35, 38 and 39) The gable walls show how the church was subdivided to create the mansion house. The west gable incorporates two fireplaces that indicate the building had two floors and an attic. The ground floor fireplace is contemporary with the mansion house, however the first floor fireplace is typical C14th and was possibly salvaged from the east range, though paintwork exists on the hood of the first floor fireplace which dates from the C16th and is a Royal coat of arms (Fig 35b).

Fig. 38 View of the interior of the west wall showing the stripped interior of the north range

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4.1 The North Range
Roof Structure Thirty five of the original scissor braced trusses were reinstated following a programme of dismantling and repair which took place in the 1970s. The original roof cladding was also re-laid at this time and what exists today is a clay plain tile roof with rows of diminishing stone tiles used for the lower courses. Trusses from the roof over the central crossing and north transept still exist in storage and date from the original construction in the mid C13th and also from the mid C14th when the crossing was rebuilt. Floor Levels The floor levels in the choir have been restored to their C13th level by infilling the C18th cellars. The floor of the nave has also been reinstated to its C13th level following archaeological excavation. There are visible remains of the foundations to the screen and pulpit base at the east end of the nave. The reading desk which was found in the gardens to the north of the church, but which is currently mounted in the nave, may have been part of this.

Fig. 40 The interior of the north wall showing the remains of the arcaded stonework to the Choir

Fig. 39 View of the interior of the east wall showing one of the large windows of the C16th Hall

Fig. 41 The night door providing access to the Choir from the Monks dormitory

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4.2 The East Range
The East Range Only the north end of the original Priory east range survives today. It is a masonry structure built of mainly of lias rubble with ashlar limestone dressings. The north part of the east range is a two storey structure with a timber first floor. The upper floor is exposed to a scissor braced roof structure clad in stone tiles laid in diminishing courses. The building is accessed via two doors from the cloister. The southern section of the east range no longer exists and what does remain is a C19th brick structure built as part of the water bottling plant and then later used as garage workshops. All of the remaining structures are watertight and in a good state of repair. This range would have originally housed the Friars dormitory on the upper floor, with direct access to the choir by means of the night stair to a door in the south wall. In the centre of the range on the ground floor was the chapter house. The function of the demolished parts is not known, though it is thought that uses may have included a reredorter and warming room as this is typical of other similar claustral buildings. Following the Dissolution the surviving north end became the kitchens and other service rooms to Bells mansion, the remainder was probably part of the factory. In the C18th the whole range became domestic and was subdivided into several different houses. The range was not rebuilt after Commercial Road was formed but was demolished by Talbot to make way for a new building for the mineral water bottling factory. This construction was later incorporated into the new buildings that formed part of the car showroom facing onto Commercial Road. External Features: West Elevation (Fig. 46) The west elevation faces the cloister and although it retains a large degree of original C13th fabric, has been greatly altered over time. The dormitory would have been lit from the west by a continuous row of small lancet windows, one of which still exists (Fig 46a). Below these windows there is evidence for the roof to the cloister walk which is evident from a weathering course and cut back corbels (Fig 46b). In the C16th the original door from the range into the cloister walk was rebuilt but remained in its original position (Fig 46c) and a new external door was created linking the cloister with the former chapter house (Fig 46d). A further door was made from the first floor onto a new gallery constructed over the cloister walk. Some of the masonry of the south transept remains and abuts the face of the west elevation; there is a clear scar showing how the two structures interlinked (Fig 46e). Further alterations were made to the first floor windows during the C18th. External Features: East Elevation (Fig. 44) The east elevation of this range is more fragmentary, though some remains of the original lancet windows exist (Fig 44c) and the wall dates largely from the C16th. Before the Dissolution the northern part of the east range was adapted for use as a priors lodging. Part of these works included the construction of a splayed oriel window and some of the masonry from this and an adjacent door still exist (Fig 44d). The main alterations occurred in the C16th when the northern end of the east range was converted into a kitchen for the mansion house. A C16th mullioned window was installed at this time to replace the oriel bay (Fig 44e) and a large arched opening was constructed to link the kitchen to an extension created to the east (Fig 44f). The archway was infilled and new windows formed in the C18th when further subdivision of the mansion house and east wing took place.

Fig. 42 East range viewed from the east

Fig. 43 East range viewed from the cloister

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4.2 The East Range

b c e f a d

Fig. 44 East range, external east elevation

Fig. 45 East range, internal east elevation

a e c
Fig. 46 North transept internal east and west elevations. East range, external west elevation East range, external west elevation

b d

Fig. 47 East range, internal west elevation

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4.2 The East Range
Internal Features (Figs. 45 and 47) The first floor structure of the east range was carried on an axial beam supported by braced octagonal oak posts which formed a timber framed arcade running down the centre of the range. Two of these posts survive: one is a modern reconstruction with an original base and the second is embedded within a later C16th timber stud partition which is part of the mansion house alterations. The floor structure was completely replaced as part of restoration works carried out in the 1960s. The roof structure is largely the original C13th collar beam and scissor braced structure and is clad with Cotswold stone tiles laid in diminishing courses. The roof was repaired in the 1960s by the Ministry of Works. At this time the building was in poor condition and five of the 17 original trusses had collapsed spreading the east wall outwards. The building was temporarily covered and the roof stripped. The structural members were numbered before being dismantled to allow for their repair and the consolidation of the wall tops. A significant feature of the interior of the east range was uncovered during the restoration when opening up works revealed wall painting on the remains of the oriel window reveals (Fig 45a). The painting is contemporary with the construction of the oriel and is in the form of imitation tapestry which was fashionable at the time. The painting depicts flowers, foliage and birds and has deteriorated badly since its exposure. Stylistically it dates to the early C16th. Conservation works have been undertaken and this has stabilised the decay (Fig 48). The east range abuts the choir of the church and consists largely of a stepped brick stack with two tall diagonally-set chimneys (Fig 32h). It dates to the C16th when this part of the building was converted to form a kitchen for the mansion house. On the ground floor there is a fireplace and the remains of ovens all of which have been built into the masonry remains of the original night stair (Fig 32i). A large proportion of the internal north wall is modern construction and was rebuilt when the glazed screen was installed in the 1970s. The interior of the west elevation is largely exposed lias rubblework. The alterations that are visible externally match those inside the building but there are more extensive remains of the lancet arched windows and their corresponding relieving arches (Fig 47a). The most complete remaining lancet window incorporates evidence of hinges set within rebates which would have once incorporated narrow timber shutters. Archaeological excavations have revealed deep foundations below the east range which date from the C13th and were constructed within the Norman castle ditch. The south partition wall was rebuilt in the C19th when the east range was subdivided into separate properties. It is brick built.

Fig. 48 The interior of the east range showing an example of the wall paintings

Fig. 49 The interior of the east range showing the remains of the fireplaces to Thomas Bells kitchen

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4.3 The South Range
The South Range The south range exists today in a largely unaltered state apart from the east end which was rebult in the late C19th. It is unique in housing a C13th scriptorium on the first floor which was specifically designed to house a library and provide individual study space. The original function of the ground floor is not known. The south range would have also been linked to a number of subsidiary buildings further to the south which may have included the kitchen and infirmary built around a second smaller cloister. Excavations have revealed that there was a through passage at the demolished east end of the range. The range is two-storied. The external walls are built of lias rubble with limestone dressings, with the exception of the walls at lower level within the cloister walk which are sandstone. The majority of the external faces, with the exception of the cloister walk, have been rendered and finished with an ochre pigmented limewash. The roof is exposed to the upper floor and comprises the original scissor braced trusses which support stone tiles laid in diminishing courses.

Fig. 50 South range viewed from cloister showing loading bay (pciture taken during Clutch Clinic demolition)

Fig. 51 South range viewed from cloister showing remains of lavatorium

External Features: North Elevation (Fig. 55) The north elevation faces into the cloister and retains much of the original C13th fabric. At first floor level is a continuous row of original C13th rectangular windows which lit the scriptorium. The majority of these windows survive in good condition; below these are the weathering and corbels for the roof to the cloister walk.
Fig. 52 Interior of loading bay at eastern end of south range Fig. 53 South elevation viewed from Commercial Road

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4.3 The South Range
A significant feature is the C13th lavatorium adjoining the principal door to the refectory in the west range, which would have been used by the friars for washing (Fig 55a). It is built into the face of the wall and is constructed of skillfully carved limestone ashlar with a series of decorative trefoil arched heads. The lavatorium is currently partially concealed behind later masonry and plaster though recent investigations have revealed the remains of medieval painting on the original stonework. Drainage works have revealed that the C14th tiles to the cloister walk survive below modern ground level. Alterations were made to the south range when Thomas Bell converted the range to factory use, an entrance was formed at ground level into the cloister and one of the upper windows was modified to accommodate an internal flue which runs discreetly up alongside one of the carrel partitions in an ashlar boxing (Fig 54a). The cloister walk was adapted in the C16th to create an upper gallery. Further openings were formed from the C18th onwards which relate to the industrial uses the south range housed. c a b

Fig. 54 South range, internal north elevation

External Features: South Elevation (Fig. 57) The south elevation like the north has an almost continuous row of intact C13th scriptorium windows (Fig 57b), though on the ground floor there were also originally five large arched windows and a door with the remains of a pentice roof (Fig 57a) which once provided access to the area south of the priory. Three of the windows on the ground floor show evidence of careful modification and enlargement which occurred during the life of the priory, though later alterations in the C16th have largely obliterated this work externally. Modification of the first floor windows also took place in the C14th, though this was in the eastern end of the range which was rebuilt in the C19th (Fig 57c).

Fig. 55 South range, external north elevation

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4.3 The South Range
Internal Features (Figs. 54 and 56) The south range is largely a single open space on the ground and first floor, accessed via two stairs built in the 1990s, one within the loading bay and the other within the refectory. There is one surviving internal partition at the east end of the south range which has a C16th lower section and a C19th upper section (Fig 54b). Beyond this was once the malting kiln and later a cottage. This space was last used as a loading bay. Internal walls are faced with a mixture of sandstone blocks, lias rubble and limestone ashlar, all are original materials. The ashlar is heavily limewashed and the rubble has remains of thin off-white plaster, some later pink plaster exists from the mid C16th period. The roof of the south range dates back to the C13th and unlike the others in the Priory the structure of the south range roof has been repaired in situ and not dismantled. The roof incorporates thirty six scissor-braced roof trusses. Dendrochronological dating estimates the felling date of the timbers between 1226 and 1262. The trusses are all very similar with the exception of one which incorporates a tie beam, suggesting the location of a partition at this point. The exterior of the roof is clad in diminishing courses of stone tiles. The ground floor is a modern concrete over layer which has been laid c. 600mm above the original medieval floor level. The first floor structure is supported by trusses which comprise bridging beams morticed into wall posts with curved braces. The posts and braces are supported on corbels set in to the walls. Only one of the beams dates from the C13th; the others have been replaced or reset. The majority of the floor was stripped and the remaining floor has been re-laid using original joists dating from the C13th and has modern oak floorboards.

Fig. 56 South range, internal south elevation

e b d c a

Fig. 57 South range, external south elevation

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4.3 The South Range
The upper floor of the south range houses some of the most important original features of the building. The space was open to the roof and would have been lined on the north and south walls with 14 individual study carrels divided by 1 metre deep limestone ashlar partitions carried on twostage corbels. Only one survives complete and the carrels at the east end have been demolished reducing the pairs to ten. The tops of the partitions were arched with a moulded cornice. Each carrel had a single rectangular window with asymmetrically splayed reveals to direct the natural light. Evidence of hinges shows that these would have originally been fitted with a pair of narrow shutters, though further rebates in the stonework on the north elevation indicate that some of the windows were later glazed. By the C19th all but one of the carrel partitions were reduced in size or the hoods under-built with brick; damage was greatest on the south wall. The study carrels show evidence of dark red paint on the mouldings which is largely limewashed over. In places graffiti are cut into the stonework, one particularly interesting example is that of a womans head wearing a head-dress of C14th or C15th type. Other areas of graffiti may be concealed behind the limewash finish of the walls.

Fig. 58 Section through south range

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4.3 The South Range

Fig. 59 The Scriptorium and remains of study carrels

Fig. 60 Ground floor of south range looking west

Fig. 61 The Scriptorium, view looking east

Fig. 62 Ground floor of south range looking east

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4.3 The South Range

Fig. 64 llustration of study carrels Knowles 1932

Fig. 63 Elevation, section and plan through study carrel Knowles 1932

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4.4 The West Range
The West Range The west range of the Priory housed the Friars refectory, which occupied most of the range. What remains today has largely been replaced by a terrace of C19th houses which sit on the original footprint. The refectory was 25.6 metres long and was open to the roof with a large triple lancet window on the south elevation and an arcade of lancet windows to the west. It was accessed via a door off the cloister and from the south range through a door on the ground floor. The northern most part of the range was separate from the refectory and had 2 floors which still remain. The original range was constructed of lias rubblestone with limestone ashlar dressings and as with the south range the area of wall exposed under the cloister walk is of sandstone blocks.
Fig. 65 West range viewed from Ladybellegate Street

The external ground levels in Ladybellegate Street are 1.5m above the original C13th levels which is thought to be largely due to demolished material from the Priory.

External Features: West Elevation (Fig. 69) A small proportion of the original Priory is evident from Ladybellegate Street though much has been revealed about the original refectory from archaeological excavation. The west elevation of the refectory would have once incorporated an arcade of tall lancet windows divided by a projecting pulpit which faced into the refectory. Only one complete lancet window exists today (Fig 69a) though there are remains of several others. The pulpit would be used by the brothers to preach sermons during mealtimes.
Fig. 66 No. 11 Ladybellegate Street viewed from north Fig. 67 Interior of southern room

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4.4 The West Range
In the C16th the northern part of the range was remodelled and linked to the new mansion house.The west elevation was rebuilt with ashlar facings with a new 3 light mullioned window and a large arched opening. Illustrations also show a first floor gable and elaborate chimney stacks similar to those of the mansion house. Only the arched opening exists from this period (Fig 69b). The centre of the range was largely demolished and reconstructed in the C19th when Ladybellegate Street was built. Nos. 13 and 15 were completed in 1817 using stonework and timber salvaged from the Priory. No. 17 was constructed later in the C19th in the narrow space remaining but was brick built along with the adjoining southern end of the range. This had new metal-framed windows, a hoist and double height loading door added as part of its conversion into Talbots mineral water factory.

b d c

Fig. 68 West range, external east elevation

External Features: East Elevation (Fig. 68) Like the remains that can be seen from Ladybellegate Street the west range facing the cloister was largely rebuilt in the C19th and the facades of nos. 13 and 15 date from this period. There is however a small area of original masonry in east elevation of no. 17 which incorporates the original refectory door and has possibly survived due to being concealed behind the southern cloister gallery (Fig 68a). Further C13th masonry exists as part of no. 11 Ladybellegate Street and like elsewhere incorporates weatherings and corbels from the cloister roof (Fig 68b). There are also the fragments of the original C13th door into the cloister walk (Fig 68c). C16th alterations to the eastern elevation were largely associated with the addition of the first floor timber framed gallery which linked the west range with the mansion house (Fig 68d).

a b

Fig. 69 West range, external west elevation

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4.4 The West Range
External Features: South Elevation (Fig. 57) The south elevation of the refectory range is to a greater extent complete and incorporates a delightful C13th triple lancet window with marble colonnettes internally which is typical of the early English style of gothic architecture (Fig 57e). The wall heads of this elevation have however been modified and raised to suit a shallower pitched C19th roof and an access has been formed during the same period. An interesting feature which exists on original masonry is evidence of an abutting structure; this along with the pentice roofed entrance from the south range give an indication that there were subsidiary buildings to the south of the main cloister (Fig 57d).

Fig. 70 West range, internal north elevation

External Features: North Elevation The demolition of the nave during the C16th made the north wall of the range external and new windows were installed at both levels. Some evidence of these alterations exist, however much has been demolished during subsequent phases and historic illustrations show different arrangements. As part of the construction of the mansion house a new entrance porch was built within the former south aisle and probably utilising the door to the cloister; the upper floor was timber framed. This became the principal entrance to the mansion house complex. In the early C19th the north elevation of no.11 was refaced in ashlar and the outer arch of the porch was replaced with a window.

a b

Fig. 71 West range, internal elevation to north wall of refectory (south party wall of no. 11 Ladybellegate Street)

Fig. 72 West range, internal elevation to south party wall of no. 11 Ladybellegate Street

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4.4 The West Range
Internal Features (Figs. 70 to 74) The majority of interiors and party walls date from the C19th to the present day, however there are fragments of standing archaeology which give clues to a more detailed history of the range. Though nos. 13, 15 and 17 Ladybellegate Street were completely repaired and modernised in 1995 to 1996, archaeological investigation carried out prior to the restoration revealed that the north internal wall of the refectory had survived and become the south party wall of no. 11 Ladybellegate Street. The wall had been raised to suit the C19th roofline but still retained the outline of the original scissor-braced roof structure in the masonry (Fig 71a). Differences between the higher street level and the cloister enabled an extra cellar level to be incorporated along the street front. No 11 Ladybellegate Street, currently disused, has not been restored pending a final use being found for the building. The external envelope and roof of the building were repaired in 1995-6. The building retains its original scissor braced roof comprising of 14 trusses, though the northern part was rebuilt in the mid C16th using existing timbers. All of the trusses have been modified at their feet; a ceiling was installed to conceal the alterations. The first floor structure is still present and was originally supported on two trusses similar to those in the south range. The wall posts still exist and support a tie beam which runs across the centre of the range but few of the corbels and none of the braces survive. The floor joists have been packed out and are loose laid on top of the beam and date from the C13th. However, they are unlikely to be in their original positions due to the extent of later alterations.
Fig. 74 West range, internal west elevation

Fig. 73 West range, internal east elevation

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4.4 The West Range
Following the Dissolution the refectory was subdivided and a cross wall was installed to create a smaller room at the southern end of the range. It was constructed of masonry at ground floor level and the remains of a timber framed partition are visible at first floor level (Fig 71b). By the mid C18th the north end of the range had been converted into a separate dwelling with workshops to the west and in the former refectory which was used as a masons workshop with access provided via an opening in the former pulpit projection for the delivery of materials. The entrance to the cloister which had been via the porch was moved to enable the porch to be integrated within the new dwelling.
Fig. 75 Reconstruction of section through scriptorium and refectory looking south

Fig. 76 Reconstruction of section through refectory looking west towards the pulpit

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4.5 The Cloister and Precinct
The Cloister The four ranges once completely enclosed the priory cloister, which had a 2.4m wide perimeter walk and a central cloister garth. Visible evidence of regularly spaced corbels and roof weatherings on all four of the ranges indicate that the cloister walk once had a lean-to pentice roof. Archaeological investigation has shown that there was an inner wall to the cloister on all four sides and part of this wall is still visible in the fragmentary remains of the west end of the north walk. Investigation has also uncovered the remains of a decorative clay tile floor to the cloister walk which lies about 0.5m below the existing ground level. Some of the tiles are patterned and are diagonally set with a border of varying width tiles at the edges. The tiles are of the Droitwitch/Worcester type and this suggests they were laid in the late C14th. Not all of the pavement remains and some has been worn or damaged by later interventions. Archaeological investigation has only uncovered limited areas, but it is known to survive on at least three sides of the cloister. The central part of the cloister was the cloister garth and would have been open space measuring 24.6m square. In the C19th the cloister was laid out with yards for the new dwellings off Ladybellegate Street and the west cloister walk was built up with a succession of outbuildings. There was a brick well to the rear of no. 13.

Fig. 77 View of the cloister area

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4.5 The Cloister and Precinct

Fig. 78 Photograph of part of the excavated east cloister walk

Fig. 79 Plan showing the excavations in the north-east corner of the walk and the pattern of tiles found

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4.5 The Cloister and Precinct
The Priory Precinct The boundaries of the Priory would have extended beyond the walls of the four ranges though archaeological investigation has been limited. Drainage trenches to the north of the priory church located the burial of an adult and child and are thought to be part of a much large cemetery which was investigated by the Gloucester Archaeology Unit in 1992 in the area now occupied by a car park. The investigations revealed one hundred and twenty eight burials from the excavation of a 20m long trench. The burials included a priest, along with a great number of women and children. Ground probing radar has identified the precinct boundary wall along the rear of the properties on Longsmith Street and documentary evidence gives indication of the location of the remaining boundaries. Archaeological investigation of the foundations of the C14th arched gateway which currently exists on the north west corner of the priory complex have revealed that this entrance has been relocated probably from the priory entrance on Longsmith Street. Other parts of the precinct may have been used as gardens and orchards. The remains of the Priory as they exist today lack a reredorter, kitchens, guesthouse and infirmary. The usual location for the reredorter would be near to the dormitory at the southern end of the demolished east range. Other buildings probably lay to the south of the claustral ranges though these were demolished in the late C19th and early C20th and have not been excavated. Historic maps and pictures show several buildings on this part of the site and the structures were clearly linked to the south range. These buildings appear to have formed a second smaller cloister which was a feature of many friaries; the buildings at Bristol Blackfriars still stand.

Fig. 81 Relocated C14th arched gateway

Fig. 82 Building on the site of the possible former orchard

Fig. 80 Late medieval precinct and suggested form of the little cloister.

Fig. 83 View east along Blackfriars Lane with the carpark to the north

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4.6 Archaeology
Blackfriars is unique in that substantial parts of all four claustral ranges survive as roofed buildings and much of the fabric dates from the original C13th construction. Since the C18th, the priory has been the subject of antiquarian interest and a number of historic texts have been compiled including; Palmer (1882) Knowles (1932) First to investigate the surviving fabric in detail and to draw attention to the significance of the south range and scriptorium. Rackham, Blair and Munby (1978) Studied the surviving C13th roofs during the restoration of the church. Victoria County History (VCH) in the Gloucester volume (1988)

Archaeological investigations have been carried out at Blackfriars since 1963 following the acquisition of parts of the site by the ministry of Works. Early investigations were focused on the north and east ranges and were carried out by Andrew Saunders (1963), Laurence Keen (1967-1972), Peter Brown and Gill Hey (1977) and Christopher Guy (1978, 1979 with minor works in the west range 1984 and 1985). A report on their findings was compiled in 1990 by Peter Ellis based on an interim report by Saunders. Since 1987 watching briefs have been carried out by Kirsty Rodwell in a number of locations determined by excavation required as part of restoration and maintenance works. In 1995 Phil Greatorix (for the Gloucester Archaeology Unit) carried out trial investigations in the north west corner of the site after the clearance of C20th buildings. The majority of excavation has been as a result of the requirements of the restoration and repair works to the priory and as a consequence has been limited to C13th and later deposits.
Fig. 84 Diagrammatic summary of the archaeology within the priory curtilage

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4.6 Archaeology
However, earlier deposits have been found in the west range, crossing and east range. Ground probing radar surveys have been undertaken by Sub Surface Surveys (1992) covering the northern half of the site including the interior of the church and the north west corner of the site, following the demolition of the workshops. Prior to 1987 the response to the restoration programme was excavation-led and repairs to the built fabric went largely unrecorded. Loss of archaeological information in the church was greatest where post-medieval fabric was completely removed and little photographic evidence exists of the church prior to the removal of the interiors. In 1987 it was decided to undertake a detailed structural analysis of the fabric and all of the internal and external elevations of the building were examined. A photogrammetric study of the building was undertaken at this time and this, along with a measured survey of 1962 was used to understand the constructional sequence and structural detail of the buildings. Since 1987 the progress of consolidation works has been better documented and there are photographic records of the east range prior to repair works. During the restoration of the south and west ranges specific elements were studied in more detail. These included the study carrels, C13th roof trusses, internal paint and plaster finishes, floor structures, and timber framed gallery to the north of the west range were studied in more detail. In 2004 an archaeological watching brief was carried out by Cotswold Archaeology during the excavation of the Clutch Clinic which projected into the cloister garth. 150-160 pieces of stone from the priory which had been reused in the construction of the Clutch Clinic building were examined and catalogued in conjunction with Kirsty Rodwell before being sent to English Heritages central store.
Fig. 87 Demolition of Clutch Clinic in progress (2004) Fig. 88 Demolition of clutch Clinic revealing the south range elevation

Fig. 85 View of Clutch Clinic prior to demolition

Fig. 86 Proximity of Clutch Clinic to south range

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4.7 Commercial Road Buildings
Parts of the site covered under this Conservation Plan are not part of the scheduled ancient monument and comprise a number of buildings of various ages and quality which face onto Commercial Road and Southgate Street. The Commercial Road Properties The street frontage facing Commercial Road is a mix of building types. The far south-western corner of the site is occupied by a C20th brick building of poor quality. The building is largely two storeys with a flat asphalt roof and the brick walls are plain with poor quality fenestration. A pitched single storey section abuts the main block which appears to be more industrial in appearance but has also been heavily altered in terms of its fenestration and openings. The building is owned and occupied by the Gloucester branch of the Royal British Legion who also owns the adjoining property which is the Tile Centre. This building is a two storey block built in the mid C20th, with a glazed shopfront facing the street and a horizontal band of glazing on the first floor framed by horizontal panels of render. The building is constructed between two brick flanking walls and, although the building is the only active retail outlet within the Blackfriars block, it does little to add to the quality of the area.

Fig. 89 Photomontage of the Royal British Legion from the junction between Commercial Road and Ladybellegate Street

Blackfriars Inn East of the Tile Centre is the former Blackfriars Inn. The building is late C19th with two storeys. It has been constructed of red brick with stone dressings and has a pitched slate roof. There is a small yard with partly demolished outbuildings to the rear. Blackfriars Inn was acquired by the Ministry of Works in 1976, and is in fair condition though it is currently disused and vacant and has become the focus of some localised vandalism.

Fig. 90 Photomontage of Commercial Road from the Royal British Legion to Blackfriars Inn

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4.7 Commercial Road Buildings
Blackfriars Inn has two rooms on the ground floor either side of a central passage and the second floor accommodation comprises four rooms with a bathroom. The building also has cellars which have been infilled. The building is unremarkable though it is of better quality than the majority of buildings that are adjacent to it facing Commercial Road. It is important because it sits within the Scheduled Ancient Monument site and lies on an area that may have significant deposits below it, including the boundary of the medieval castle and city wall and also the buildings located to the south of the main claustral range. The Black Swan Hotel The Black Swan Hotel occupies the intersection between Commercial Road and Southgate Street. It was built between 1849 and 1850 and is currently Listed Grade II. The building is constructed of ashlar stonework on brick, with a slate mansard roof incorporating dormer windows. The stonework is Victorian in style with heavily articulated rustications forming a pediment, bold quoins and keystones and a heavy set entablature and pediment detail to the upper floor. Today the building comprises five bays of the original three storied C19th fabric which forms a curved frontage. The building once extended west by a further three bays, though these were demolished c.1965. A recently completed extension to the building has been built on the footprint of the demolished wing and has been rebuilt in a modern classical style, with rendered blockwork and some stone dressings. The rear of this part of the building is constructed of brickwork with stone dressings and double-height bay windows facing the rear yard area. The Black Swan Hotel is currently owned by Heritage Enterprise Ltd and the recent conversions have been part of a complete refurbishment of the building to convert it into 22 flats. The building is now in good condition and the quality of the exterior of the building adds to the visual amenity of the area.

No 4 and 6 Commercial Road A large part of the Commercial Road frontage is dominated by the car showroom which appears to have evolved as a rather heavy handed conversion of the ground floor of a C19th building (no. 6 Commercial Road) which originally faced onto the street. This building is probably the same one shown on the OS map of 1883, built at the time of the construction of the Commercial Road. The garage extends under the C19th building to further workshop spaces to the rear and the result is an unattractive mix of poor quality structures which are detrimental to the significance of the Priory and its setting. Although the original C19th building appears to be similar quality to the former Blackfriars Inn, very little of the structure remains. The building is currently vacant and at risk from vandalism and weathering damage. Attached to the garage building is no. 4 Commercial Road which is a three storied building, possibly with cellars. The building appears to be mid C19th and, like Blackfriars Inn and the Black Swan Hotel, is contemporary with the construction of Commercial Road. The building is ashlarfaced brickwork and incorporates some decorative moulded work to the window heads and openings.

Fig. 91 Nos. 4 and 6 Commercial Road

Fig. 92 Detail of the Black Swan Hotel

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4.8 Southgate Street Buildings
Brunswick Baptist Church and 52-56 Southgate Street Brunswick Baptist Church was built in 1973 and designed by the architects Peter Falconer & Partners. It is built in a modern Brutalist style of architecture using profiled concrete cladding panels to form a dramatic large windowless horizontal panel at first floor level. At street level the church is accessed via metal-framed fully glazed doors and screen set between panels of brickwork. The building is harsh in appearance though this is largely due to changing perceptions and architectural fashions; it is a reasonably well proportioned building that is not out of scale with the surrounding context and is very much of its time. The building appears well used and in fair condition though the choice of materials, glazing and signage have dated and deteriorated and the building appears tired and in need of thorough refurbishment. The adjoining building (52-56 Southgate Street) is a four storied building with a glazed frontage to the street. The building is designed with vertical strips of brickwork with similar vertical strips of glazing separated by concrete panels between. The building appears to have been built as offices though the ground floor could have a commercial function. Today the building is vacant. The choice of materials suggests that it was built at a similar time to the chapel, though it lacks any architectural quality and adds very little to the visual amenity of the area, especially as it is at a key location where Blackfriars Lane enters onto Southgate Street. The car parks to the rear of the Southgate Street buildings and the elevation treatment of the building are poor and do little to create a suitable setting for the Priory.
Fig. 95 Brunswick Baptist Church Fig. 96 Car park to the rear of 52-56 Southgate Street

Fig. 93 Brunswick Baptist Church and 52-56 Southgate Street

Fig. 94 View of the new extension to the rear of the Black Swan Hotel

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5.0 Significance
5.1 Summary of significance
The significance of the Priory site and its various elements may be summarised as follows: The historic city of Gloucester has a rich past which has survived embodied within its streets and architecture. Blackfriars is of REGIONAL importance as part of the historic urban grain. Gloucester was an important religious centre with strong connections to the monarchy. Blackfriars is of NATIONAL significance as part of Englands religious heritage. Archaeological remains within the wider Precinct area are of LOCAL significance and reveal much about the history of the city and Priory dating back to the Roman and Norman periods of occupation. The form of the urban block and former precinct area are of LOCAL significance in view of the story they embody of the historical, social and economic development of Gloucester and the Priory. The Priory buildings together are of NATIONAL significance as they are the most complete surviving example of a Dominican priory in England, rivaled only by priories at Norwich and Newcastle. The Priory buildings are of NATIONAL significance as they are a physical record of the social and cultural changes that took place from the C13th to the present day and have documentary evidence to support this. Black Swan Hotel and Blackfriars Inn are of LOCAL significance and are good quality C19th buildings which add visual amenity to Commercial Road. The car showroom and workshops are of LOW SIGNFICANCE and due to their very low architectural merit and poor condition are a detrimental aspect of the Priory urban block. The remaining buildings on the Priory urban block are of LOW significance and vary in architectural merit and quality from Low to Medium. Their location in relation to proximity to the Priory and at key junction points along Blackfriars Lane are key and at present they create a detrimental effect upon the Priory. The scriptorium is of INTERNATIONAL significance as it is the earliest surviving purpose-built library in England. It provides unique surviving evidence of the way that the Dominican monks lived and worked, enabling them to make Englands contribution to C13th and C14th theology and philosophy in Western Europe. The decorative wall paintings in the east range are of NATIONAL significance as they are rare examples of this form of decoration fashionable at the time. The priory landscape is of LOCAL significance as it provides an accessible educational attraction. The north range is of REGIONAL significance as the house of a wealthy alderman in Gloucester and, together with the documentary records including Bells will, are an important part of Gloucesters history. The C19th buildings along Ladybellegate Street are of LOCAL significance as they are good examples of average quality buildings from this period which retain the scale of the original Priory range and add visual amenity to the area. The landscape and cloister surrounding the Priory are of LOCAL significance as they provide an accessible amenity space and valuable urban garden.

Fig. 97 Detail of grafitti to be found in the Scriptorium

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5.2 Significance of the site
Despite widespread reconstruction in the C20th, Gloucester is a city of historic importance and retains clear evidence of the Roman street patterns and medieval Burgage plots. It is also a city with a strong industrial past and was one of the most important industrial trading centres in England. Gloucester is a city of national importance and Blackfriars is an important part which fits within this story. Since the Saxon Minster was founded in 681AD Gloucester has been an important religious centre and place of pilgrimage with strong associations with the monarchy. The Cathedral survived the Dissolution and, together with the remains of Blackfriars, Greyfriars, St Oswalds Priory and Llanthony Secunda Priory, are a testament to this, making it of national significance as part of Englands religious history. Blackfriars is located close to the site of the Norman castle and near to the walls of the Roman town. Deposits have been found in the areas near to the south transept and to the rear of the east range which date from the Norman period and are part of the castle bailey. Roman remains have also been found in a number of places around the Priory precinct. Remains from this early period of Gloucesters history are of regional significance and signify the rich archaeological potential of the area. The precinct of the original Priory was once enclosed by a boundary wall with access via gates off Longsmith Street and Southgate Street. Despite the construction of new roads and the encroachment of later buildings the original routes into the Priory and the boundaries are still evident in some form and the Priory is now part of a much smaller urban block which retains links with the original precinct form. The form of the urban block and former precinct area are of local significance for the story they can tell of the historical, social and economic development of Gloucester and the Priory. Due to their central locations in towns, priories were often destructively converted following the Dissolution and substantial standing remains are rare. Blackfriars survived largely due to its occupation by Thomas Bell. It is therefore unique and of national significance due to the extent of the standing remains and is rivalled in completeness only by Norwich and Newcastle, neither of which retains such a high degree of original C13th fabric. At Gloucester there is remaining C13th fabric within all four ranges and within the church, scriptorium, east range and parts of the west range there are even the original roof structures. The buildings retain important archaeological evidence of their conversion for lay use from the C16th to the present day which is supported by documentary findings; Blackfriars Priory is therefore of national significance as a physical and documented record of the social and cultural change from the C13th to the present day.

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5.0 Significance
5.3 Significance of the buildings
The South Range The identifiable use of the first floor of the south range and the known construction dates make the scriptorium of international significance as it is the earliest surviving purpose-built library in England. The first floor of the south range is the only building in England which illustrates architecturally how the friars studied and trained and the importance of this as part of their Order. It retains remains of 20 of the original 26 study carrels with their individual shuttered windows which formed combined study and sleeping cells. The remains of the scriptorium are of international significance and are unique surviving evidence of the way that the Dominican monks lived and worked, enabling them to make Englands contribution to C13th and C14th theology and philosophy in Western Europe. West Range The west range, though heavily altered, retains the scale of the original Priory and was built using reclaimed elements of the C13th Priory. Archaeological evidence above and below ground still remains which gives vital clues to the original appearance of the Priory and as such the west range is of national importance as part of the story of the original Dominican Priory. The C19th buildings along Ladybellegate Street are Listed Grade II* and are good examples of high quality buildings from this period. They are in very good condition following a programme of extensive repairs. They retain the scale of the original Priory range and add visual amenity to the road which otherwise has few buildings of architectural merit. The East Range The remains of the east range comprise a large proportion of original C13th and later C16th fabric and give a clear indication of the form and scale of the complete range as it would once have been. The range also incorporates evidence showing how other interrelated structures, such as the lean-to over the night stair, once were and help give a complete picture of the original form of the Priory. In addition to this the remains of the oriel bay show how the building was adapted into a lodging to suit the changing lives of the Friars while the later kitchen alterations show how it then was adapted to suit new requirements. The east range is of regional significance due to the quality of the standing remains that give valuable information as part of the understanding of the Priory as a whole. The remains of the east range decorative wall paintings date from the mid C14th to C15th when this part of the range was converted into a Priors lodging and are rare surviving examples of this form of decoration, fashionable at the time. The wall paintings are of national significance as an example of decoration from the late middle ages. The North Range The north range of the Priory was heavily altered in the C16th by Thomas Bell and internally further altered by subsequent occupants. Despite being stripped of all internal features back to the masonry shell the external appearance of the north range appears very much as it would have been in the C16th when it was converted to Bells Place. The north range is of regional significance as the house of a wealthy alderman in Gloucester and together with the documentary records, including Bells will, form an important part of Gloucesters history.

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5.0 Significance
5.4 List of Statutory Designations
The Priory buildings together with Blackfriars Inn and the surrounding grounds are a Scheduled Ancient Monument and the whole site falls within a conservation area (Gloucester Conservation Area No. 5).

Priory Buildings No. 13 to 19 Ladybellegate Street The boundary walls facing Blackfriars Lane and Ladybellegate Street The Black Swan Hotel

Grade I Grade II* Grade II*

Grade II

Fig. 98 Diagram of statutory designations

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6.0 Issues of Vulnerability and Policies


6.1 Managing future change
The city of Gloucester is currently the subject of major regeneration work, which has involved assessing the importance of what already exists and the potential for what might come into being in the city in the future. Blackfriars and the urban block it is located within form a key element of this city-wide regeneration and will therefore be subject to a great number of changes over the next decade. The previous sections of this Conservation Plan provide a detailed analysis of what exists within the block, its historic importance and its relation to the rest of the city. This section sets out the issues which may arise in the face of the proposed regeneration and provides policies to manage future interventions on and around the site. The location and historical significance of Blackfriars makes it an important part of the future development of Gloucester. However, the Priory buildings are highly vulnerable to change and inappropriate development could irreversibly damage the integrity of the monument. The issues and policies explored in this section assume that a sustainable and appropriate new use needs to be found for the Priory complex which will enable better access and wider use of the buildings in order to ensure its survival. The precise detail and design of how this potential to be realised is beyond the scope of this Conservation Plan but the basic principles of development may be agreed within these policies.
Fig. 99 3D image of Blackfriars

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6.2 Context and setting
Issues and Vulnerability The context and setting of the Priory has evolved throughout its history and will continue to change. The Priory precinct would once have been contained within a walled enclosure accessed from two main entrances off Longsmith Street and Southgate Street. The public side of the building would have been the north side of the church where there was the cemetery and also the west elevation where there was a pulpit. By contrast the internal cloister would have created an enclosed private setting. Now these two facades still provide the public front to the Priory though their open setting has been reduced to domestic gardens. The buildings off Southgate Street and Commercial Road have, for much of the recent history of the Priory, created a protective boundary to the Priory which helps shield the buildings from the noise and pollution of the busy streets. However some of the subsidiary spaces to the rear of these buildings are unattractive and create an unsatisfactory setting immediately adjacent to the Priory. Ladybellegate Street provides a quiet route from the city centre and forms an important link between the Priory, Cathedral and docks. Policies Proposals should maintain the open space which allows views of the Priory from the north and the enclosed space of the cloister area. The enclosure created by the Commercial Road and Southgate Street properties is important and should be maintained, though the quality of the buildings and back yards should be improved where possible. The route from the city centre to the docks should be maintained and enhanced in such a way as to attract high footfall to the site and to create a safe and attractive route for pedestrians, making the Priory more accessible. The presence of Blackfriars from Southgate Street should be increased and the quality of the route improved.
Fig. 100 View of Blackfriars from the carpark to the north

Fig. 101 View of access along Blackfriars Lane from Southgate Street

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6.3 Conservation, maintenance and repair
Issues and Vulnerability The rich architectural, historical and social heritage of Gloucester is of prime importance in identifying a successful future for the city. The historic and urban context of Blackfriars is equally important. The Priory is a complex of buildings and structures that has evolved since the C13th and has housed a number of different uses. However, despite change and alterations, the Priory still stands today as the best surviving example of a Dominican Priory in England and the later additions are a valuable part of the buildings history, character and significance. The Priory buildings have undergone a series of maintenance and repair works over the last ten years, guided largely by the Condition Report prepared by Richard Griffiths Architects in 1995. The recommendations of the report proposed repair works which extended to five years and these have largely been implemented. Policies The site is a Scheduled Ancient Monument (SAM) and SAM consent must be sought for any work to the Priory either above or below ground. Areas that fall outside the monument boundary which may impact upon its setting should also be treated as being scheduled. However, if works are undertaken by English Heritage, SAM consent is not required and the works can be undertaken under the provision of a Class VI Consent. Listed Building Consent is required for all proposed works to a listed building; under statutory regulations scheduling takes precedence over listing. If the works to a listed building are being carried out by English Heritage they benefit from Crown Immunity and can invoke the provision of Circular 18/84. The structures and fabric which exist from the pre-Dissolution period should be retained as high priority and no works should be carried out which damage this fabric. Later additions should however be recognised and conserved as important layers in the history of the development of the buildings. Proposals to remove historic fabric must be justified in terms of relevant planning policies and conservation best practice. Up to date records of the site and all new interventions should be kept along with a record of all ongoing repair and maintenance works. A professional ongoing quinquennial inspection of the buildings and remains should be carried out and appropriate repair and maintenance schedules prepared as a result and acted on accordingly. A commitment to the long-term maintenance of the buildings should form part of the business planning for the site. The Conservation Plan should be reviewed and updated as part of this process. Only professionals with suitable proven experience and understanding of historic buildings should be involved with specifying and proposing works to the existing building. All repairs should be carried out according to English Heritage Guidelines which assume minimum intervention, like-for-like repair, and that all work should be reversible and sympathetic to the existing. Previous conservation work where sound and not causing damage to the surrounding fabric or the integrity of the monument should be retained. Conjectural restoration and reinstatement of historic fabric where there is no firm evidence backing up the proposals should not be carried out.

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6.4 Re-use of existing buildings
Issues and Vulnerability The buildings and interiors at Blackfriars are highly vulnerable and inappropriate new uses could put serious stresses on the fabric or the building and damage the significance of the SAM. However, this needs to be balanced with the need to make the Priory a viable and valuable part of the city. The Priory buildings are under the ownership of English Heritage and have been largely used for display purposes. Although this is compatible with the important historic fabric of the monument it has not proved sustainable and proposals need to be developed which establish appropriate new uses for the buildings that retain the integrity of the monument buildings and archaeology while giving the Priory a more viable future. Nos. 13 to 17 Ladybellegate Street have been adapted for residential use and some of the buildings are used as offices within this residential form. This function works appropriately with the C19th buildings though the relationship with the cloister is restricted due to the importance of retaining the complete cloister form. Other buildings within the urban block are owned by various parties and some are disused. As result they have a detrimental effect upon vitality and character of the area. Where possible appropriate new uses should be found for all buildings within close proximity of the Priory to bring life back the area. Policies Proposals for re-use of the existing Priory buildings must be appropriate and respect the fabric and layout of the historic structures while enabling the interpretation of the pre-Dissolution Priory remains. Proposals should enable the Priory to be more fully accessible to a wider audience and enhance the architectural, archaeological, historic and educational value of the site. New uses should not be polluting, damaging or impose environmental pressures on the buildings or threaten their integrity. Such pressures may include overuse by people, damage to historic entrances, heavy servicing and equipment or inappropriate structural loadings on the floors. The east range and all other areas where wall paintings are present are highly vulnerable and new uses should enable the necessary internal conditions for the continued conservation of the wall paintings to remain. The south range is of extremely high significance and any new use of this building should maintain the original fabric of the Scriptorium as found and the interpretation of the space should not be compromised.

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6.5 Archaeology
Issues and Vulnerability A great deal of archaeological investigation has been carried out in the area around the Priory. Early investigations were undertaken to reveal information about the original Priory buildings whereas later investigations have been part of construction works packages. Although much is known about the form of the original building there are gaps in the knowledge. Also the whole area dates back to the Roman occupation and deposits in the area are all potentially highly significant. Policies The archaeology of the site which lies below the C13th deposits belong to the wider context of Gloucester and should be preserved in situ where possible. No below ground interventions should be carried out if there is evidence of significant archaeological deposits. All below ground works which are within proximity of known archaeological remains will require the development of an archaeological mitigation strategy approved by Gloucester City Council and English Heritage before works are commenced. Where evidence of archaeological remains is unknown a full archaeological investigation will be required in accordance with PPG16 and designs must be altered accordingly. It is strongly recommended that the northern part of the site should be backfilled up to the level of the first plain ashlar course of the plinth, in conjunction with a new drainage installation and any necessary archaeological recording.

Fig. 102 Diagrammatic summary of the archaeology within the priory curtilage

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6.6 Potential for demolition
Issues and Vulnerability The Priory buildings are part of the SAM and the majority are listed and of high significance; as such none of the listed buildings is eligible for demolition. Other buildings on the site contribute to the urban grain of the block and help protect the Priory by shielding it from the detrimental effects of the busy traffic off Commercial Street and Southgate Street. However, there are certain elements of the site which currently detract from the overall significance. Some of the more modern and poorly-designed buildings on the site are detrimental to the architectural and historic importance of the whole block. The following diagram shows the buildings within the study area which have a detrimental effect upon the character of the area and which it would be highly desirable to have demolished. These include the car showroom and the nearby workshop. The diagram also indicates which buildings are of low quality and could be demolished if a suitable high-quality alternative building were proposed. However, these buildings are in close proximity to the Priory and to other listed buildings and any proposals would have to consider this in their design, the demolitions of the existing and also the effects upon the potential archaeology in the area. Policies All demolitions and new works should be planned as part of a comprehensive scheme for the whole site. The site falls within a Conservation Area and conservation area consent must be obtained for any demolition of structures within this area. All demolitions within the SAM boundary to gain SAM consent before works are carried out and to undertake any works in accordance with the requirements of the consent approval. Buildings outside the SAM which may impact upon the setting of the monument should also be treated as being scheduled. However if works are undertaken by English Heritage, SAM consent is not required and the works can be undertaken under the provision of a Class VI Consent. Demolition works should be specified and carried out by suitably qualified professionals who are experienced in dismantling buildings within historically-sensitive sites. Demolition works should be phased to allow appropriate repairs and access to other elements of the site when necessary.

Fig. 103 The garage facing Commercial Road

Fig. 104 Workshops adjacent to the east range

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6.6 Potential for demolition

Fig. 105 Diagram of potential demolition within the Blackfriars site

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6.7 Intervention and new building
Issues and Vulnerability As a result of the potential demolitions described previously there are possible development sites that exist within the Priory urban block and also within the Priory curtilage. The design of any new building in such a historically sensitive site must be carefully considered as inappropriate proposals can be irreversibly damaging to the significance and integrity of the monument. The potential demolition of the workshop on the site of the east range creates a valuable site for a new building that could provide the serviced facilities which otherwise could not be housed in the historically sensitive structures. Within the cloister there is the possibility of re-creating a covered walk which would provide a covered link between all of the buildings and potentially provide a route for services within its structure that would reduce the need for below-ground services. Both of these interventions are a radical change to the existing situation and could pose a very real risk to the significance and integrity of the monument. Policies Development proposals should consider the Priory complex as a whole. This should include the interlinking of buildings, the phases of evolution and the relationship of the Priory within the broader context of the historic city of Gloucester. Additionally, the Cathedral Precinct and other monastic sites should be taken into account when designs for change are being prepared. Only the very best architects with the appropriate experience and understanding of working in historic contexts and who also have high quality design skills should be appointed to design and detail any new intervention or new building on the Priory site. Any new addition to the Priory site should be of high quality that will add to the overall significance and constitute a valuable contribution to the monument and its contextual setting. New build should be designed in a modern style which expresses the finest design ideas of the C21st while also being a sympathetic response to the context. New-build works should be specified and carried out by suitably qualified professionals and contractors who are experienced in construction within historically sensitive sites. The scale, massing and height of any new building must not overshadow the monument physically or visually or detract from the appreciation of the complex and remains of the Priory. Interventions and new buildings requiring foundation, drainage and below ground services should be designed to avoid significant archaeological remains.

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6.7 Intervention and new building

Fig. 106 Diagram of potential new landscaping and construction areas within the Blackfriars site

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6.8 Vandalism and security
Issues and Vulnerability The Priory buildings are secure and to some extent are protected from the risks of vandalism by the occupation of the Ladybellegate Street properties during the day. However, the perimeter of the south and east range are easily accessible from the street and are vulnerable to vandalism. The disused appearance and continued deterioration of some of the surrounding buildings within the urban block does attract negative attention and will draw potential vandalism into the site. This is apparent at the rear of Blackfriars Inn which is also in close proximity to the south range. Policies The more the site is occupied the less likely vandalism is to occur, which means that the security of the Priory is to a large degree is dependant upon the success of the wider regeneration strategy. Steps should be taken to improve the appearance of the less attractive buildings on the site and to find new uses for them that create an increased presence on the site. Vulnerable areas where vandalism is occurring should be made secure without resorting to methods that degrade the appearance of the area and result in attracting further unwanted attention. Consideration should be given to the potential of lighting as well as management strategies to be implemented by the future occupiers of the site. Design strategies to deter vandalism and other crime should be included within the new development of the site. If the designers have no experience of this, organisations such as Design Against Crime should be consulted. This element of the design should be seen as integral and key to the future success of the whole site rather than considered as an afterthought. Tackling vandalism and crime should be a comprehensive approach with shared responsibility for the day-to-day management of the site.

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6.9 Vehicle and pedestrian access
Issues and Vulnerability Currently there is vehicle access onto the Priory site from the north from Blackfriars Lane via a gate to a graveled car park area. The cloister garth and north lawn of no. 11 Ladybellegate Street are currently inaccessible to vehicles. Vehicle access into the cloister garth is highly undesirable due to the vulnerability of shallow deposits of archaeology and the potential damage to the attractive setting. Vehicle access into the north lawn is also undesirable for the same reasons. Elsewhere within the urban block there is vehicle access off Commercial Road to an area of hard standing behind the car showroom and also to a carpark behind the Black Swan Hotel. These are both difficult entrances on a busy road and their potential capacity may be limited. A further car park exists off Blackfriars Lane which serves the Brunswick Baptist Church, though it is an exposed and unattractive open area and in close proximity to the monument and is detrimental to the appearance of the area. The car park to the north of the Priory site is a well used centrally located car park, and well positioned to serve the potential uses at Blackfriars. However, it is in poor condition and currently creates an unattractive backdrop to the Priory buildings. Pedestrian access Development proposals for the Priory site must consider the access needs of all people, including those with impaired mobility and other disabilities which could hinder access and understanding of the monument. Some of the Priory spaces present limitations for access and improving this must be carefully balanced against the sensitivity of the fabric and the effects of interventions to improve access. Policies Any future uses should avoid the need for additional parking within the SAM and instead should look to utilise existing space around the car showroom area which has access off Commercial Street. A site-wide access strategy should be developed which enables reasonable, clearly signed and dignified access for all people with impaired mobility to the Priory buildings as well as the issues of attracting high footfall to the site. All solutions must be considered fully before alterations are proposed to the historic fabric.

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6.10 Services
Issues and Vulnerability Currently the individual buildings have minimal incoming services and can accommodate low numbers of visitors with larger numbers catered for with temporary services. Increased numbers and new uses will require new services in a number of the buildings and these must be carefully considered in order not to damage the integrity of the buildings and spaces. Policies The condition of existing services should be surveyed and inspected to assess their condition. New services should be designed with the whole Priory in mind in order to reduce localised piecemeal solutions to individual buildings and spaces. The visual integrity of the buildings should be retained while causing minimal damage to the historic fabric. Visually obtrusive servicing solutions including fire detection and health and safety will not be acceptable. Heavy or large scale plant should be placed where impact on the historic fabric and integrity of the monument will be minimal and should be designed with the loading capacity of floors and structures. New services should be designed to make use of existing voids in the historic fabric wherever possible and be reversible. It is therefore essential that the M&E contractors be professionals experienced in working with services in historic buildings where unusual solutions often have to be found in order to avoid both excessive surface runs or unacceptable damage resulting from recessed services. Drainage runs and below-ground services should be designed to avoid important archaeological remains and should be laid under the supervision of an archaeological team.

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6.11 Landscape
Issues and Vulnerability The landscape around the site largely comprises of the lawned central cloister garth area, the lawned area to the north of the church and the gardens to Ladybellegate Street properties. The appearance of the cloister garth no longer represents a particular period; however, it has been considerably improved in recent years by the demolition of the garage workshop and the space created is an attractive, if underused haven in the centre of the site. The area to the north of the church is largely underused with heavily scarped levels and a narrow pathway to the main entrance. The lawn in front of no. 9 Ladybellegate Street is a poor representation of the grand gardens that once existed there. The areas of gravel to the north east of the Priory are functional but do little to improve the amenity of the site. Elsewhere within the urban block there is little in the way of landscape and what exists are stretches of tar macadam and concrete hard standing, none of which provides a satisfactory setting for the monument. This is further exacerbated by the car park to the north which is poorly planned and deteriorating. The ecological value and landscape interest of the Priory is poor, with the only exception being the interesting sense of enclosure created within the cloister. The only trees on the site are an apple tree within the cloister garth and a pair of tall silver birches directly in front of the north transept. All appear to be in good condition but their effects upon the monument should be considered and monitored. Policies An overall landscape strategy should be developed for the site to aid more clearly the interpretation of the site and improve the visual amenity where the Priory abuts some of the less attractive parts of the urban block. The levels to the north of the Church should be infilled to improve the landscape interpretation of this area. A landscape proposal should be considered which improves the ecological value of the whole site while helping the interpretation of the cloister and lawned area in front of the Church and no.11 Ladybellegate Street. All proposals would have to be developed in conjunction with appropriate new drainage installations and any necessary archaeological recording. Materials should be contemporary and durable while also being congruent with the urban environment. The condition of all trees on the site should be assessed and monitored by a qualified arboriculturalist and the impact of their roots on any archaeological remains or buildings should be determined. New planting schemes should be designed so that the impact of drainage, irrigation and root systems will have no adverse effects on the below ground archaeology or existing historic structures. Steps should be taken to address the landscaping outside of the study area and to engage the city council in improvements to the visual amenity of the area.

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6.12 Interpretation
Issues & Vulnerability It is essential that the history of the site be accessible to visitors and local residents and high quality, engaging interpretation will be key to the long-term success of the Priorys future. Recent demolition works to remove the garage workshop at the heart of the Priory site have opened up the cloister and returned it to a landscaped space surrounded by the four ranges. The interpretation of the cloister would benefit from the reinstatement of a building adjoining the remains of the east range, though at present this relies upon the demolition of all or part of the car showroom on Commercial Road. Although the church once extended further east and west, the form of the C16th buildings is now the most important feature of this part of the site and the interpretation of this range externally should remain as the mansion house with open space to the north and access from this direction. The destruction of the interiors carried out by the Ministry of Works sought to reinstate the character of the church. What exists now is a mixture of remains from different periods that are difficult to interpret. There is possible scope in reinstating floors to replicate previous levels, though this would be hindered by the ground floor levels that exist. Policies A robust Heritage Interpretation Plan should be commissioned which rigorously examines the impact of new buildings on the interpretation experience of the existing historic fabric. The Heritage Interpretation Plan should also examine the feasibility for new displays and temporary activities related to the history of the site, the Priory, and the changing social and economic context which shaped the form of the buildings and streets.

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6.13 Sensitivity to Change
In the light of the broader moves for change in Gloucester and the regeneration of Greater Blackfriars, it is desirable that changes take place to Blackfriars Priory in order to create a viable future for the buildings and to make this special place more acccessible. The site has great potential for change and new uses despite the highly sensitive nature of the historic fabric and areas exist for new buildings. The aim of this Conservation Plan is to guide those changes and to point out those aspects of the site which are most significant and valuable and which are highly vulnerable to change and intervention. The plans on the following three pages identify the most sensitive areas of each building which are highly significant and require careful consideration, as well as those areas which are more open to the possibilities of change. It should be emphasised that further investigations should be carried out prior to the commencement of any design work for the site.

Fig. 107 Diagram showing the sensitivity to change within the site (ground floor)

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6.13 Sensitivity to Change

Fig. 108 Diagram showing the sensitivity to change within the site (first floor)

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6.13 Sensitivity to Change

Fig. 109 Diagram showing the sensitivity to change within the site (second floor)

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7.0 Consultation and Implementation


This Conservation Plan has been written in close consultation with all the stakeholders and interested parties. Representatives of the following organisations have discussed and reviewed the full contents of the plan and will be responsible for its implementation: Gloucester Heritage Urban Regeneration Company English Heritage Gloucester City Council South West of England Regional Development Agency Gloucester City Museum & Art Gallery Gloucester County Archaeology

As the regeneration project develops it will be necessary to review the Conservation Plan and amend, where appropriate, existing policies or write new ones. It is important to consider the Conservation Plan as a live and dynamic tool for change rather than a static, technical report. Written in June 2007, the plan cannot predict how change will occur in and around the site or what new information relating to the significance of the site may emerge in the future. It is therefore imperative that regular reviews are undertaken by the above stakeholders to discuss new findings and to monitor the impact of the proposed regeneration process upon the site and its historic setting.

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