A relic of the shaded cloister walks of the gardens of Whitefriars’ monastery which was established here in the reign of Edward I until around 1538. The religious house, which gives it name to this area within the ward of Farringdon, belonged to a Carmelite order popularly known as the White Friars because of the white mantles they wore on formal occasions. At its zenith, the priory sprawled an area from Fleet Street to the Thames. At its western end was the Temple and to its eastern end was Water Lane (now Whitefriars Street). A church, cloisters, garden and cemetery were housed in the grounds. Walter Thornbury in his 1878 book Old and New London describes the convent, “with broad gardens, where the white friars might stroll, and with shady nooks where they might con their missals.” When fully grown, ash trees can reach up to 35 metres and live up to 400 years.
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