Celebrating the 750th Anniversary of the Grand Union of the Augustinian Order
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At the time of the Grand Union in 1256 some of the groups already had houses outside Italy. Of special interest to us is Clare Priory, which was founded in 1248, as the first Augustinian monastery in the English speaking world. After 1256 other friaries were established in England, and in 1280 the Augustinians arrived in Ireland.
In the middle ages the English Augustinians were known the Austin Friars.
The English province lasted until the suppression of 1538-39 under Henry VIII, but the Irish Augustinians managed to continue a precarious existence despite the persecutions by the English government. Permanent presence of the Augustinians in England began again in 1865 when the Irish friars accepted the care of St. Mary's Parish, Hoxton, London. In 1977 the Augustinian communities in England and Scotland were united in the new Province of St. John Stone.
Clare Priory was the first house of the Order in the English-speaking world. While the date of its foundation in 1248 is established, it is not known whether the founding Augustinians were the Tuscan Hermits or the Followers of John Bonus. At any event, the house became part of the new Order in 1256. The present buildings show traces of their origin in the 14th century.
The priory was dissolved on 29 November 1539 and passed into the hand of Richard Frende, trumpeter of the king. Over the years the existing buildings were in private hands. It was purchased by the English Augustinians in 1953 and is now the site of an Augustinian community, parish, and retreat center.
Locations of Augustinian Houses in England before the suppression under Henry VIII, 1538-1539.
Lubin, Augustinus. Orbis Augustinianus sive Conventum Ordinis Eremitarum Sancti Augustini Chronographica et Topographica Descriptio. Paris: Petrum Baydouyn, 1659. (Special Collections)
Locations of Augustinian Houses in Ireland before the suppression under Henry VIII and subsequent governments.
Lubin, Augustinus. Orbis Augustiniana sive Conventum Ordinis … Louvain: Institut Historique Augustinien, 1972. (Special Collections)