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The Dominicans were established in Chester by 1237 or 1238 when the appearance of the Grey Friars alarmed their patron, Alexander Stavensby, bishop of Coventry and Lichfield. So vehement was his reaction to the prospect of the two orders competing for alms that he has been thought responsible for establishing the Dominicans in Chester, although there is no definite evidence and it is equally possible that they came there under the patronage of Ranulph III, earl of Chester.

The friary occupied c. 5½ acres bounded by Watergate Street to the north, Nicholas Street to the east, Walls' Lane (or Black Friars) to the south, and the City Walls to the west. The precinct was bisected by an alley (known as Greyfriars) leading from the east gate to the west gate. The discovery of human remains indicates that the graveyard, and possibly the church, lay in the south-west section of the site. It is generally believed that no traces of the buildings remain, but there are a few boundary walls in the area that are founded on rather more massive stonework which may be a relic of the friary.