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Myles Coverdale

Austin Friary

History of the Austin Friary

The Austin Friars were given a small piece of land near St Benet’s Street at the end of the 13th cent; this gradually grew to cover the area of the modern New Museums Site bounded by Downing Street (Dow dyers Lane)Free School Lane and Corn Exchange Street (Slaughter Lane). They had come to Cambridge for educational reasons and many of the scholars who met in the White Horse Inn close to the Friary, and who were nick-names ‘Little Germany’, were Austin Friars. One of their members in this Cambridge house was Robert Barnes, who was burned as a heretic in 1540, and another was Myles Coverdale, translator of the Bible into English and a leading reformer. (see A Taylor, Cambridge The Hidden History)

Austin Friars 1592

The last part of the friary to survive was probably the infirmary or guest hall which was only demolished in the 1790s. It was lived in by Thomas Buck, the university printer, and a view of the building from Corpus Christi survives.

Refectory of Austin Friary 1780

For more about the Austin friars in Cambridge:

https://www.british-history.ac.uk/vch/cambs/vol2/pp287-290

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