The Franciscans arrived in Lincoln around 1230 and the building of the Friary was started around 1237. By the 1280s it was largely complete. The Friary was built at the bottom of the hill of Lincoln to keep it distinct from the Cathedral and Castle at the top of the hill.
By all reports, the Franciscans at Lincoln kept themselves busy and quiet, the Friary never expanding vastly nor becoming overly rich. It still fell victim to Henry VIII in 1538 and the surviving building, which was the infirmary, was leased to William Monson whose son opened a school in the building in 1568. In 1574 the school became the Corporation Grammar School run by Lincoln City Council on the upper floor until 1900.
The undercroft was first a House of Correction (from 1612), then a school for knitting and a mechanic’s institute before joining with the Grammar school in 1862.
After the School moved out the building was reopened as a Museum in 1907 and operated as this until it merged with the Usher Gallery and moved to a new site in 2004. Since then Greyfriars has been used as an exhibition centre.
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