Crutched Friars

An order of Mendicants said to have been founded by Gerrard, prior of St. Mary of Morello at Bologna, and confirmed by Alexander III in 1169, being brought by him into the Augustinian Rule. Initially they carried a cross fixed to a staff and were therefore called fratres cruciferi (sometimes translated as “Crossed Friars”). Later they wore a cross of red on their backs or chests. They appeared in England in 1244, and similar orders existed in France and the Low Countries from the thirteenth century. They were suppressed by Alexander VII in 1656.