The Grey Brothers and Lund
In mediaeval times Franciscan monks , also known as Greyfriars, or Grey Brothers, were closely associated with alchemical studies. In the 13th century the Franciscan friary in Oxford, in the UK was a centre of knowledge renowned throughout Europe. The Oxford friars were inspired by great scholarly Arabic texts from the Islamic Golden Age during the 9th and 11th centuries. The friary had several notable scholars who taught there, including Roger Bacon. His life’s work was guided by the principle that “half of science is about asking the right questions”, and that mathematical method, though essential, is insufficient. It must be supplemented by the method of experiment: “experimental science governs all the preceding sciences”. Bacon's ‘Opus Majus’ covers inter alia, mathematics, physics, optics and alchemy.
In 1425, the Greyfriars founded a studium generale in Lund next to the Cathedral. This was linked to other Franciscan centres of knowledge such as the one in Oxford, in Paris and in Bologna and most likely marks the beginning of pursuit of alchemy in Sweden. The Greyfriars monastery and their studium generale were located in the the Gråbröder district, which today is encompassed by Winstrupsgatan, Lilla Gråbrödersgatan, Stora Gråbrödersgatan and Bytaregatan. The monastery was located in the southern part of the block.