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(&amt\\ Ittttiwmtg Jjta)| 




Henrg W. Sage 


ft.3.q6^g6 : !t.3..l?f//f. 



O'lJ EngHsh houses of alms :a pictorial 

3 1924 015 418 241 


Cornell University 

The original of this book is in 
the Cornell University Library. 

There are no known copyright restrictions in 
the United States on the use of the text. 

Old English Houses of Alms 


The Romance of Symbolism and its Relation 
TO Church Ornament and Architecture. 
With numerous Illustrations. Foolscap Quarto, 
Cloth, 7/6 net. 

The Story of Ford Abbey from the Earliest 
Times to the Present Day. Profusely 
Illustrated. Crown Quarto, 10/6 net. 

IvOndon : Kranci® Griffiths. 



A Pictorial Record 

With Architectural and Historical Notes 



^E^L OF 


34, Maiden Lane, Strand, W.C. 


To my Mother 


■f ' V * i - 

'V"1".I. 1' 

Table of Contents 


Introduction ... ... ... ... ... ... ••• 15 

St. John's Hospital, Canterbury ... ... ... ••• 3^ 

St. Nicholas Hospital, Harbledown ... ... ... •.• 34 

St. John's Hospital, Northampton ... ... ... ••• 3^ 

St. Mary's Hospital, Chichester ... ... ... ... 4^ 

St. Margaret's Hospital, Wim borne ... ... ... ... 44 

The Boniface Hospital, Maidstone ... ... ... ... 46 

St. Cross Hospital, Winchester ... ... ... ... ... 48 

The Bede House, Higham Ferrers ... ... ... ... S3 

Almshouses at Ewelme ... ... ... ... ^^ 

Leicester's Hospital, Warwick ... ... ... ... 60 

Almshouses at Stratford-on-Avon ... ... ... ... 66 

Jesus Hospital, Lyddington ... ... ... ... 68 

Browne's Hospital, Stamford ... ... ... ... 70 

Bablake Hospital, Coventry ... ... ... ... 72 

Beere's Almshouse, Glastonbury . . ... ... ... 74 

St. John's Hospital, Lichfield ... ... ... ... 76 

Greenway's Almshouses, Tiverton ... ... ... ... 78 

Ford's Hospital, Coventry ... ... ... ... 80 

Christ's Hospital, Abingdon ... ... ... ... 84 

Waldron's Almshouses, Tiverton ... ... ... ... 86 

The Travellers' Rest, Rochester ... ... ... ... 88 

Jesus Hospital, Rothwell ... ... ... ... 90 

Whitgift's Hospital, Croydon ... ... ... ... 92 

Jesus Hospital, Bray ... ... ... ... 96 

St. Peter's Hospital, Bristol ... ... ... ... 98 

Coningsby's Hospital, Hereford ... ... ... ... 102 

Bubwith's Almshouses, Wells ... ... ... ... .104 

Napper's Mite, Dorchester ... ... ... ... 106 

Sackville College, East Grinstead ... ... ... ... 108 

Abbott's Hospital, Guildford ... ... ... ... no 

Penrose Almshouses, Barnstaple . . ... ... ... 112 

Aubrey Hospital, Hereford ... ... ... ... 114. 

TABLE OF CONTENTS (continued). 

Almshouses at Lyford 

Almshouses at Beaminster 

Gray's Almshouses, Taunton 

Almshouses at Moretonhampstead 

Hungerford Almshouses, Corsham 

Hall's Almshouses, Bradford-on-Avon 

Tompkin's Almshouses, Abingdon 

Sherburn Hospital, Durham 

St. John's Hospital, Heytesbury 

Almshouses at Milton Abbas 

SS. John's Hospital, Sherborne 

Appendix. List of Masters of Sherburn Hospital 

Index of Persons 



.. 116 







. 138 





List of Illustrations 


1. Sculpture on Leper Hospital, Taunton (Frontispiece) 

2. St. John's Hospital, Canterbury 

3. St. Nicholas Hospital, Harbledown 

4. St. John's Hospital, Northampton 

5. St. Mary's Hospital, Chichester 

6. St. Margaret's Hospital, Wimborne 

7. The Boniface Hospital, Maidstone 

8. The Beaufort Tower, St. Cross, Winchester 

9. The Dining Hall, St. Cross, Winchester 

10. The Bede House, Hicham Ferrers 

11. Almshouses at Ewelme ... 

12. Leicester's Hospital, Warwick (General View) 

13. Leicester's Hospital (Staircase and Covered Ways) 

14. Leicester's Hospital (Entrance and Quadrangle) 

15. Almshouses at Stratford-on-Avon 

16. Jesus Hospital, Lyddington 

17. Browne's Hospital, Stamford ... 

18. Bablake Hospital, Coventry 

19. Beere's Hospital, Glastonbury 

20. St. John's Hospital, Lichfield 

21. Greenway's Almshouses, Tiverton 

22. Ford's Hospital, Coventry 

23. Christ's Hospital, Abingdon 

24. Waldron's Almshouses, Tiverton 

25. The Travellers' Rest, Rochester 

26. Jesus Hospital, Rothwell 

27. Whitgift's Hospital, Croydon ... 

28. Whitgift's Hospital (Inner Court) 

29. Jesus Hospital, Bray 

30. St. Peter's Hospital, Bristol ... 

31. St. Peter's Hospital (Chimney Piece) 

32. Coningsby's Hospital, Hereford 



















LIST OF ILLVSTRATIO^S— (continued). 


33. BuBwiTH's Almshouse, Wells 

34. Napper's Mite, Dorchester 

35. Sackville College, East Grinstead 

36. Abbott's Hospital, Guildford ... 

37. Penrose Almshouses, Barnstaple 

38. Aubrey Hospital, Hereford 

39. Almshouses at Beaminster 

40. Gray's Almshouses, Taunton 

41. Almshouses at Moretonhamp stead 

42. Hungerford Almshouses, Corsham 

43. Hungerford Almshouses (North Side) 

44. Hall's Almshouses, Bradford-on-Avon 

45. Tompkin's Almshouses, Abingdon 

46. Sherburn Hospital, Durham 

47. St. John's Hospital, Heytesbury 

48. Almshouses at Milton Abbas ... 

49. SS. John's Hospital, Sherborne (New Wing) 

Sculpture on Leper Hospital, Taunton 
Almshouses AT Lyford ... 
St. John's Hospital, Cirencester 
Almshouses AT Chipping Campden 
Panelling at St. John's Hospital, Northampton 
Handles at St. Cross Hospital, Winchester 
Hungerford Almshouses, Corsham (General View) 


. 105 

. 107 

. 109 


• "3 

• 115 

• 117 

. 119 

. 121 

• 123 

. 127 

. 129 

• 131 

• 135 

• 139 

. 141 

• 143 







St. Cross Hospital, Winchester. 
Almshouses at Ewelme ... 
Browne's Hospital, Stamford ... 
Ford's Hospital, Coventry 

Facing Page 
Facing Page 
Facing Page 
Facing Page 




Some few years ago the author and illustrator of this volume began to make a 
series of drawings of old English almshouses and hospitals, a subject that had hitherto 
been much neglected. With the exception of some half-dozen examples, delineated 
and described in Dollman's Ancient Domestic Architecture (1858), one or two mono- 
graphs devoted to single foundations, and an occasional paper in the published 
Transactions of our numerous Archaeological Societies, the searcher after information 
relating to these interesting institutions, has had to rely on two very diversified classes 
of publications — the voluminous reports of the last Charity Commission (1813-27) ; 
and the local directory and guide book, wherein almshouses are generally 
dismissed in a few lines, and no illustration given. Dugdale's and Oliver's Monasticons 
contain a good deal of reliable information on the hospitals and kindred institutions 
attached to, or connected with religious houses, as also do such standard works as 
Hoare's Wiltshire, Hasted's Kent, Dugdale's Warwickshire, and Hutchins' Dorset, 
while the recently published Victoria County Histories give a good deal of interesting 
information that was unknown to exist in the days of the earlier county historians. 

The author can rightly claim that, with the exception of DoUman, who dealt with 
some six or seven examples only, no series of drawings devoted entirely to almshouses 
and hospitals had been published, until those done by him, meeting with the approval 
of the Editor of The Builder, began, on July 11, 1908, to appear in the pages of that 

These drawings, supplemented by a few plans, and with additional letterpress, 
are here gathered together in book form. 

The original idea was to give, in the form of an Introduction, a fairly full account 
of these old foundations from their first institution. This has been rendered unnecessary 
by the recent (Sep. 1909) publication of Miss Rotha Mary Clay's excellent and well-nigh 
exhaustive volume on English Mediaeval Hospitals, a work which, although mainly 
confined to the purely historical and archasological side of the subject, has necessitated 
a revision of the author's original scheme in so far as regards the earlier history of these 
foundations. Miss Clay, keeping strictly within her title, deals with the mediaeval 
examples only, that is to the year 1541, up to which time these charitable institutions 
were almost without exception, ecclesiastical i n foundation, endowment, and administration, 
and essentially so with regard to planning and architecture. The reproduction of a kind 

PREFACE— continued. 

of isolated monastic infirmary, as found among other places at St. Mary's Hospital, 
Chichester, helped to confirm and perpetuate for many generations, the semi-ecclesiastical 
plan, and the purely ecclesiastical character of windows, doorways, and architectural details. 

Interesting as are these early types to the ecclesiologist and the antiquary, it is 
mainly the 1,5th, i6th, and 17th century examples that have most to offer the modern 
architect, and the lover of the picturesque element in building. To the pious merchant 
and the benevolent noble of the i6th, 17th, and i8th centuries we owe some of the 
most beautiful portions of our parish churches, some of the finest specimens of domestic 
architecture we possess, and some of the most delightful sets of almshouses in the 
country, and of these last many interesting examples remain of every period. An 
immense number, of course, have vanished, even in recent years, some few have been 
allowed to go to ruin; while others, originally of ancient foundation, were largely if not 
entirely rebuilt in Tudor, Jacobean, or Georgian days. 

The examples selected for the purposes of illustration have been chosen more for 
their architectural or picturesque qualities than for any purely archaeological or historical 
interest they may possess, although their claims in the latter respect have not been 
entirely neglected. The author does not claim for this volume that it is exhaustive 
either with regard to letterpress or illustrations, but he ventures to suggest that it will 
be found to be fairly representative of almshouse and hospital exterior architecture, from 
the founding of St. John's Hospital, Canterbury, about the year 1084, to the building 
of the new wing at St. John's Hospital at Sherborne in 1866. 

With two exceptions, St. Peter's Hospital, Bristol (originally a private residence), 
and Jesus Hospital, or the Bede-house, Lyddington (first erected as a palace for the 
Bishops of Lincoln), the whole of the foundations dealt with in the following pages 
were erected as almshouses or as hospitals. 

The author wishes to take this opportunity of thanking the Masters of these old 
houses of alms, and his numerous correspondents, who have so readily furnished him 
with any information in their possession, particularly Mr. Jethro Cossins, the well- 
known architect and antiquary of Birmingham, and Mr. Herbert Batsford, of the 
eminent publishing firm of that name. 


VRE¥ ACE— continued. 

In a special manner are his thanks due to the Editor of The Builder for permission 
to issue this volume of illustrations after a shorter interval than is usual. All the 
descriptive notes that accompany each drawing have been carefully revised, and have, 
in many instances, received large additions. 

The principal authorities consulted, apart from local guide books and monographs 
too numerous to mention, were the great Monasticons of Tanner, Dugdale, and Oliver; 
Dollman's Ancient Domestic Architecture; the Dictionary of National Biography ; the 
old county histories of Dugdale^ Hoare, Hutchins, Hasted, etc. ; the new Victoria 
County Histories ; Fry's Guide to the London Charities ; the published Reports of 
the last Charity Commission; the Transactions of our numerous county and other 
Archaeological Societies ; and last, but by no means least, Miss Rotha Mary Clay's 
Medieval Hospitals of England, to which attention has already been called. 

In conclusion the author would ask his readers' indulgence with regard to the dates 
given in the following pages. Except in a comparatively few instances, where definite 
dates figure on the buildings themselves, or are given in some contemporary document, 
it is impossible to be immaculate in chronology. This being so the reader is asked to 
remember that, in the majority of cases, the dates given throughout this volume are 
approximate only. 

Upwey, Dorset. 

August, 1 910. 


Mmshoir^es ci/ L//ord B^rKs 


The remarkable outflow of benevolence that marked the earliest days of Christianity 
led almost immediately to a care for the poor, especially in times of sickness or distress. 
From early times also the funds of the Church were applied to the maintenance of 
widows and orphans, sick and poor, and it was the especial duty of deacons and 
deaconesses to wait on the sick in their homes. 

Public hospitals for the reception of the sick, infirm, old, and needy, began to be 
erected as soon as Christianity, freed from persecution, could give material expression 
to its charitable impulses with impunity. Houses were set apart for the reception 
of lepers, travellers, pilgrims, destitute people, foundlings, and the aged. 

It is not necessary for us to go through the long list of such charitable institutions, 
erected for the benefit of the less fortunate members of the community under the 
auspices of the Church from their first appearance in Christendom, but by the so- 
called Arabic canons of Nicsea, the bishop was expressly bound, in virtue of his office, 
to institute hospitals. Canon 70 prescribes that in every city a place should be set 


Old English Houses of Alms 

apart for strangers, sick and poor, which should be called a xenodochium, and that the 
bishop should select one of the monks of the desert, himself a foreigner, far from 
home and family, and a man of integrity, to take charge of the hospital, to procure for 
it beds, and whatever may be necessary for the sick and poor ; and that if the property 
of the hospital should be inadequate, he should make a collection from the Christians, 
according to their several means, and with this provision sustain the brethren who are 
strangers, poor, or sick, as each may have need. 

The earliest hospitals belonged naturally to the Eastern Church, but the Western 
Christians were not long in following in the footsteps of their Eastern contemporaries. 
Rome itself quickly gained notoriety for its care of the sick and poor, and its hospitals 
were often the objects of Papal munificence. With this example before them the 
Christians of Gaul and Italy erected large numbers of these benevolent and useful 

The Teutonic countries cannot show any foundations of the same antiquity as those 
above mentioned, although the Synod of Aix, in 8i6, ordered that every ecclesiastical 
foundation, whether canonical or monastic, should provide for the poor, the sick, the 
widows, and the strangers. Such poor-house was to be placed near the Church, and a priest 
was to be its superintendent ; the infirmary was to be within the convent, as were also 
the wards for the widows and poor maidens. 

The establishment of many hospitals in the northern countries during the 8 th and 
9th centuries, was due in a large measure to the efforts of the Irish missionaries, who, 
caring as much for the welfare of the bodies of their converts, as for their souls, 
received the name of Hospitalia Scotorum. These hospitals were always closely connected 
with the religious houses founded by these early missionaries, but practically no archi- 
tectural remains have survived. During early days, and, indeed, until the Reformation, 
hospitals and almshouses attached to religious houses, were, like all the other Institutions 
of the Church, directly controlled by the episcopate. The sums of money and other 
endowments of pious benefactors were placed under the control of the bishop, and so 
came within the jurisdiction of the Church. These donations and bequests were generally 
regarded In the nature of alms' in the days when the more wealthy members of the 

1 The alms of pilgrims and travellers, no doubt, helped to fill the coffers of many hospitals. 


Old English Houses of Alms 

community, and even the king himself, were in the habit of compounding for their sins 
by alms, an idea which was strengthened, even, indeed, if it did not originate, in the 
custom of the Church by which the imposition of alms was regarded as a means of 
penance. The introduction of this practice is attributed to Theodore of Canterbury, 
A.D. 700, and it was a practice much abused, as one would imagine, by those who were 
in a position to redeem their penances with gold. 

There is abundant evidence to show that the property of hospitals was regarded by 
the Crown as formmg part of the property of the Church, and those in attendance on 
the inmates were drawn almost without exception from adjacent monasteries or 

Miss Clay sums up in a single paragraph the relationships that existed between these 
charitable institutions, the Church and the State. " The hospital was a semi-independent 
institution, subject to royal and episcopal control in matters of constitution, jurisdiction, 
and finance, yet less trammelled in organization than most religious houses. It formed 
a part of the parochial system, and had also links of one kind and another with monastic 

The rules of conduct drawn up for the regulation of hospitals were of an essentially 
monastic character, and the special office of Eleemosynarius, or Almoner, which at first 
was given to one who merely distributed alms in monasteries and hospitals, became in 
due course the title of the Superintendent, Warden, or Master. 

The Hospitium was the place where travellers and strangers were entertained within 
the monastery itself. None were refused admission, all were to be made welcome, 
especially monks, clergy, poor, and foreigners. No one was to be questioned except by 
direct order of the Abbot. Even passing wayfarers were pressed to eat before continuing 
their journey, and should they not have time to wait for the common meal, food was 
specially prepared for them. They were to be met by the prior or his delegate, and 
after a few words of prayer by way of salutation, the kiss of peace was given and 
received. Some such form of hospitality was imperative in the days when travelling was 
attended by so much difficulty and danger. 

St. Benedict, in his Rule, says, "Before all things, and above all things, special care 
must be taken of the sick, so that they be served in very deed, as Christ Himself, for 

17 c 

Old English Houses of Alms 

He saith : ' I was sick, and ye visited Me ' ; and, f What ye did to one of these My 
least Brethren ye did it to Me.' " 

Cassian speaks of one of the older monks being stationed by the Abbot near the 
entrance of the monastery to welcome the strangers as they arrived, and St. Benedict 
placed them under the general supervision of the cellarer, or house-steward. Subsequently 
a special office was appointed with the title " hospitalarius." 

Every precaution was taken that the influx of strangers should neither disturb the 
placidity of the " House of God," " nor lead to the propagation of mischievous rumours 
about it. None of the monks might exchange a word with a guest, except to ask a 
blessing. Part oJ the discipline of candidates for the novitiate consisted in their being 
deputed to wait upon the guests in their sitting-rooms (cella hospitium). History shows 
how the simple hospitality, enjoined by Benedict and his contemporaries, degenerated 
into luxury and display, demoralising to monks and laymen, impoverishing the funds 
and endowments, and one of the causes of the ultimate fall of religious houses. 

In early times the hospital was a guest-house, religious house, and infirmary under one 
roof; but in later days when these charitable institutions were erected mainly as retreats for 
the destitute and the aged, they were given such various appellations as " Maison Dieu," 
" Bede-house," " God's House " as well as the more familiar " Hospital," and " Alms- 
house;" which two last terms were applied indiscriminately. Generally considered, how- 
ever, there is a slight distinction, if not a difference between an " Almshouse " and a 
" Hospital," for whereas the former usually consists of a set of buildings made up of 
separate tenements between which there is no interior communication, the latter is entered 
by a common gateway, and possesses one or more rooms common to the community. 
The difference is something akin to that existing between what is now called a 
" collegiate " and a " cottage " system of housing. Both almshouses and hospitals were 
provided with chapels, and the two forms of charity were developed synchronously. The 
two systems, working side by side can be studied to great advantage at St. Cross 
Hospital, Winchester, where we have the "collegiate " system in the hospital founded by 
de Blois, and the " cottage " arrangement in the " Almshouses of Noble Poverty," a 
later benefaction of Cardinal Beaufort. Although the " Hospital," and the " Alms- 
houses " have been amalgamated for the purposes of administration they are quite distinct 


Old English Houses of Alms 

Occasionally one finds the term " hospital " given to a charitable institution that was 
largely, if not entirely, educational in its scope and purposes, as Heriot's Hospital, Edin- 
burgh ; Christ's Hospital, London (now removed to West Horsham) ; and that fine piece 
of mediaeval architecture, Chetham Hospital, Manchester. In the same way the term 
" College " was sometimes applied to an almshouse, as Cure's College at Southwark, 
Sackville College, East Grinstead; Bromley College, Morden College, etc. 

In this connection mention may be made that Eton College was founded as a school and 
an almshouse. This may be news to many, yet such is the fact, for " The King's College 
or Our Lady of Eton beside Windsor," was founded by Charter on nth October, 1440, 
and created a corporation capable of holding property in perpetuity. It was to consist 
of a provost, ten fellows, four clerks, six choristers, a schoolmaster, twenty-five poor 
scholars, and a like number of " poor infirm men." The original foundation was to 
have combined the characteristics of a college of secular priests, an eleemosynary school, 
and an almshouse. Part of the revenues of Eton College at the present day come from 
about a hundred acres of land near Primrose Hill, which, like a good deal of the land 
it formerly held, had formed part of the possessions of the leper hospital of St. James in 
Westminster Fields, which had been granted to the college by its founder, Henry VI. 
The derivations of the terms, hospital, hospice, almshouse, Domus, Dei, etc., are so 
obvious as to require no comment. The meaning of the term " Bede " house is probably 
not so familiar. The word Bede means literally prayer. Thus a Bedehouse is a house 
of prayer, and a Bedeman a man of prayer. From Bede (prayer), the name was transferred 
to the small globular bodies used for " telling beads," or counting prayers. The Bede 
folk were those who prayed for a benefactor, and the Bedehouse was essentially a house 
of prayer and only incidentally an almshouse. Prayer for the souls of the founder was the 
raison d'etre of all Bedehouses, for, uncharitable as it may be to say so, many people 
founded these houses more with the object of providing their soul's welfare with a per- 
manent and continuous stream of intercessors, than to relieve the poor; under the impres- 
sion no doubt that charity covers a multitude of sins. Curiously enough the place-name 
Bettws, as found in Bettws-y-Coed, is the Welsh equivalent of our English Bede, i.e. 


In addition to the hospitals and almshouses founded by the Church or private benefactors 
in pre-Reformation days for the poor and kged, we shall find that the earliest institutions 


Old English Houses of Alms 

of which we have any definite records were mostly tounded for the relief of lepers, and, 
when this disease died out, were in many cases adapted to the housing of the poor. The 
sites of some of these old hospitals is commemorated in the word Spital, an obvious 
corruption of hospital, as Elsing Spittle, near Cripplegate; Spitalfields, Spitalgate; while 
another form of commemorative place-name is that contained iii Burton Lazars, Leics. 

How, or at what time leprosy gained its great hold in England is not known. Some 
trace its origin from Egypt during the loth century; others state that it was introduced 
here by the returning Crusaders, notwithstanding that Syria was singularly free from 
this scourge at the time of the Crusades. It has also been suggested that it was brought to 
our shores by the Danes and Northmen who so freely ravaged the country. Whatever 
its origin, there is no doubt that the disease (whether true leprosy or not is a question that 
can be left to the medical experts) was very rife in England for many years, probably for 
centuries before the first Crusade. The known existence of leper-hospitals and lazar- 
houses, like St. Nicholas' Hospital, Harbledown, founded at least ten years before the 
first Crusade, is proof that however much they may have spread the disease over Europe, 
the introduction of it here is one of the few sins perhaps that the " Saint Terres " or 
saunterers of the romantic Crusades did not commit. Leprosy is not mentioned in any 
Saxon document with which the author is familiar, but reference to it occurs in the 
Ancren Riewle of Richard Poore, Bishop of Salisbury, 1217-28. 

Whatever the origin of the disease the position of outcast lepers was pitiable in the 
extreme. None would receive them; they were stoned in the streets, and generally 
regarded with horror and loathing. The efforts of the .Church, and the erection of lazar- 
houses on the outskirts of the towns helped to alleviate their sufferings; while the records 
of the mercy of Jesus to lepers in the Gospels, would draw the attention of the charitable 
to them as special objects of compassion, with the result that some of the noblest and 
most richly endowed foundations in the country were erected for the relief of lepers. 

The laws and enactments passed at various times, providing for these unfortunates, and 
guarding against the spread of the disease, make it clear that the leper was well cared for 
by the legislature. Infected persons were gradually removed from the monastic in- 
firmaries and lodged in isolated lazar-houses. At first they were allowed to beg corn and 
food in the market places, but their public appearances caused such offence to the healthy 
members of the community, that alms were collected on their behalf by proctors, who. 


Old English Houses of Alms 

armed with a collecting box, were allowed to visit, on one day a month, monastic and other 
churches during the hours of service. It is thought that this custom is the origin of the 
later practice of collecting briefs in churches for the sufferers by a fire, flood, or some 
other great calamity. Many records exist relating to the collecting of alms for lepers. 
In 1 163, Bishop Bartholomew Iscanus, of Exeter, granted to the infected people of the 
leper hospital of St. Mary Magdalene in that city, liberty to collect a toll on all corn and 
bread sold in the fairs and markets, and also to collect alms from door to door on certain 
days of the week. Jenkin's records in his History of Exeter, that " a certain Richard 
Orange, Esq., a gentleman of noble parentage, submitted himself to a residence in this 
hospital (St. Mary Magdalene), where he lived many years, and was buried in the chancel 
of the Chapel." 

As late as the reign of Edward VI. large numbers of lepers were still in England, for in 
Ed. 6, c. 3, directions are given for carrying the poor to the places where they were born, 
" provided always that all leprous and poor bed-ridden creatures may, at their liberty, 
remain and continue in such houses, appointed for lepers, as they now be in." Miss Clay 
(Mediaval Hospitals 0/ England), records the collecting of a toll for lepers at Maiden 
Bradley, where the leprous women and their prior held a weekly fair; and at Newbury, 
where, according to a charter of 1 2 1 5, the collected proceeds are even to this day divided 
among the almsmen of St. Bartholomew's Hospital. Contemporary representations of 
lepers are found on the hospital seals of Sherburn, (Durham), Lincoln, and the Lazar- 
house, Mile End. So these old institutions continued, with varying fortunes, until the 
dissolution of the monasteries furnished an abundant incentive to this form of active 
benevolence, both living and posthumous; and however much they may have suffered 
during the years immediately following the dissolution of the religious houses, which had 
hitherto been their only mainstay in times of poverty and distress, the lot of the needy 
old folks during the succeeding centuries was not always an unenviable one. The bold 
bad baron, or the erring dame, were no longer able to settle matters with their consciences 
by donations to Mother Church, or the founding of Bedehouses. The Wars of the Roses 
had played terrible havoc with barons both good and bad, as well as with their possessions, 
but under the more settled government of the Tudors, and the encouragement they gave 
to commerce, the trading classes soon acquired both wealth and power. A great and 
mighty need arose, too, for on the monasteries and kindred institutions had devolved the 


Old English Houses of Alms 

care of the poor, and these gone, their only resources disappeared until such time as 
private or municipal enterprise provided them with all they had lost in the downfall of 
the religious houses. 

The suppression of the monasteries resulted in immense tracts of land going out of 
cultivation, and laws were passed to arrest the depopulation of the country side. The coin- 
age became debased, the guild lands, in reality the medixval artisans' benefit funds, were 
confiscated. The poorer classes suffered terribly, for the monastic houses did for them 
all that our Poor Laws now do for their successors, and a great deal more. 

The monks were, generally speaking, indulgent landlords and kind neighbours; they 
kept open house and daily provided meals for all comers. All this now vanished, and in 
place of the easy-going clerics, the landlords consisted of courtiers and royal favourites, 
who, once in possession of their ill-gotten gains, proceeded to squeeze the last penny out 
of their tenants. They held their estates with cruelty and exaction, and seized and 
enclosed the common lands. The transition therefore, from a religious to a private and 
semi-secular form of poor relief, was a period that brought untold misery and suffering 
to the poor, the sick, and the aged. 

It would be absurd to affirm, as do a few writers on England's pre-Reformation 
ecclesiastical system, that these retreats were never used for mischievous purposes, or that 
the disposal of the revenues was always free from the imperfections and evils which belong 
to all such human institutions, even in the 20th century ; yet it would be quite un- 
worthy of the dignity of history to affect to undervalue the immense services which these 
foundations rendered to society at large, and to individuals in particular. If, in pursuit of 
corporate and private advantages, those in authority occasionally lapsed from the condi- 
tions of their trust, and preferred the individual to the general good, they did no more than 
all bodies of men have done when placed in similar positions; but whatever their personal 
interests and greed may from time to time have led them to do, we must remember that 
they constituted the only permanent mediating authority between the rich and the poor, the 
strong and the weak, and that — to their eternal honour be it said — the wardens and masters 
of these foundations fully comprehended, and faithfully performed, for the most part, the 
arduous duties of their responsible ofllices. 

Old English Houses of Alms 

It is also beyond question that these and similar institutions of the Middle Ages, not- 
withstanding the frequent pilfering of the funds, and other excesses on the part of those in 
authority, had a gradual tendency to develop a more wholesome system of constitutional 
rights, and to lead in time to that limitation of absolute power — whether vested in indi- 
viduals or general assemblies — which we have come to regard as the safest and most 
desirable form of civilised government. In fact, the history of our mediaeval institutions 
fvirnishes the best illustration of the steps by which we have reached our present condi- 
tion, and of the manner in which we have more or less profited in the endeavour to attain 
that conscientious, yet morally subdued condition of political freedom and purity of public 
life, on which we pride ourselves as a nation. 

Turning from the general to the more particular purposes of this volume, we shall find 
that, interesting as are the earliest types of hospitals and almshouses to the ecclesiologist 
and the antiquary, it was durmg the i6th and 17th centuries that the material structure 
of these charities reached its highest architectural development. In 1 509 Thomas Bond 
founded the Bablake Hospital at Coventry, and a year later Abbot Beere erected his fine 
almshouse at Glastonbury. William Smyth, in 15 14, repaired and practically rebuilt the 
curious hospital of St. John in the city of Lichfield, over which he presided as Bishop. 
The great merchant princes of Tiverton, John Greenway and John Waldron, built, in 
1 517 and 1579 respectively, the beautiful almshouses still standing in this old Devon- 
shire town. Jesus Hospital, Rothwell, the benefaction of a pious schoolmaster, was erected 
in 1 591, and the building achievements of this century are fittingly epitomised in John 
Whitgift's princely gift of Trinity Hospital to his native place of Croydon, a building that 
Englishmen should ever revere and retain. In 1609, William Goddard founded Jesus 
Hospital, at Bray, and placed it under the care of the Fishmongers' Company, who still 
control it. To the year 1 6 1 5 we owe Bishop Still's interesting addition to his predecessor 
Bubwith's Hospital at Wells; and that little cloistered building called "Napper's Mite," 
at Dorchester. Sackville College, East Grinstead, and George Abbot's stately hospital 
at Guildford, date from 161 9, while to the same century we owe Lady Hungerford's 
delightful almshouses at Corsham, erected in 1668. Some of these homes are for men 
only, some for women only, while a few accommodate the poor of both sexes. At 
Wimborne the old hospital provides for three married couples, three single men, and 
three single women. In a few instances we find hospitals founded for special classes of 


Old English Houses of Aims 

unfortunates, as at Blackheath where Sir John Morden founded a College for decayed 
merchants. Sir Thomas Coningsby founded a hospital at Hereford, the master of which 
was, according to his original stipulations, always to bear the name of Coningsby. 

There is little doubt that both the exterior and interior architecture of these charities, is of 
great suggestive value in regard to grouping of parts and general planning, while all of 
them are in a greater or lesser degree, worthy specimens of the diligent labour and 
fanciful imagination that is so characteristic of nearly all the Tudor, early Renaissance and 
Jacobean periods. If we examine the plans of these 1 6th and 17th century foundations, 
we shall find, almost without exception, that the component parts appertaining to nearly all 
of them consist of: — ^an audit room, a suite of rooms for the master or warden; an 
infirmary for the sick, a common hall; a suite of living rooms for the inmates; and a chapel, 
which last usually communicates directly with the secular buildings. In early types the 
chapel adjoins the hall from which it is separated by nothing more substantial than an 
open screen, thereby affording the sick and bedridden an opportunity of hearing the recital 
of the Church's oflices, from which, had the chapel been a separate building, they would 
have been debarred. It is generally considered that this wise and thoughtful arrangement 
was adopted from the ancient monastic infirmaries. It is found with existing hospitals 
at Chichester, Higham Ferrers, Stamford, Wells and Glastonbury. Another form of 
building is where the dwelling rooms for the inmates are under one roof, but the chapel, 
although contiguous to them, is a distinct and separate building, as was the case at St. 
John's Hospital, Northampton; and yet another variety is that in which the chapel or 
church is connected with the main wings by an ambulatory or cloister, as at St. Cross 
Hospital, Winchester; at Ewelme; and at Cobham. At the old hospitals of Sherburn and 
Greatham, Durham, the church is not connected in any way with the secular buildings, 
while with the old leper hospital at Sandwich, the little Early English Chapel stands isola 
ted in the midst of a public square, the various tenements of the almsfolk being grouped 
around it in little courts and byways. 

A surprisingly large number of foundations have retained their ancient chapels, 
while in a few instances, as at St. Bartholomew's Hospital, Oxford, the old chapel is 
the only architectural portion of the foundation that has survived. These hospital 
chapels have not yet received the attention they deserve at the hands of the eccle- 
siologist, for, in addition to a fair quantity of pre-Reformation fittings and furniture, 


Old English Houses of Alms 

the original stone altars may still be seen in hospital chapels at Ripon, Stamford, 
Greatham, Glastonbury, and Salisbury. One or two, the Greenway Almshouses, Tiver- 
ton, for example, stiU exhibit on their walls a plea to the passer-by to pray for the soul of 
the founder, a pious request that found litde favour with the Parliamentary visitors 
of Reformation and Puritan days. 

Good examples of the quadrangular type of hospital are found at S. Cross 
Ewelme, Higham Ferrers, Warwick, Croydon, and Bray. Appertaining to this type, 
but owing to the narrowness of its courtyard, classed quite by itself, is Ford's Hospital 
at Coventry. 

Almshouses forming three sides of a quadrangle, the fourth side either left open 
or shut off by nothing more substantial than a wall, are at Temple Balsall, Abingdon, 
Lyford, and Heytesbury. Good straight rows of almshouses are those at Taunton, 
Stratford-on-Avon, Abingdon (Christ's), Lichfield, Hereford (Aubrey), and in many 
other places. 

Picturesque little almshouses with a cloistered gallery or covered way along the 
front are those at Moretonhampstead, Dorchester, Barnstaple, and the Leper, or St. 
Margaret's Hospital, Taunton. 

Good entrance gateways! are at St. Cross, and S. John's Hospitals, Winchester ; 
Sexey's Hospital, Bruton ; Jesus' Hospital, Roth well ; Beere's Almshouse, Glastonbury; 
and St. John's Hospital, Canterbury. It may not be uninteresting to call attention to 
the fact that although the great majority of almshouses and hospitals were planned 
and built expressly as houses of alms, there are several instances of buildings built for 
quite different purposes, being converted into residences for the poor. At the time of 
the Reformation the sale by the Crown, of some portion of a monastic or conventual 
house, to a person wishing to found an almshouse, was not uncommon. The old 
baronial hall of the Earls of Derby at Manchester — at the time of the dissolution a 
College of Secular Canons — was thus acquired by Sir Humphry Chetham, who founded 
the famous Chetham Hospital for boys, the magnificent buildings of which still remain. 
In much the same way Thomas Sutton became possessed of the old home of the 

]A fine Norman doorway brought from the Magdalene Hospital, Winchester, now forms the entrance to 

St. Peter's R.C. Church in that city. 

25 D 

Old English Houses of Alms 

Carthusians (Charterhouse), and re-endowed it as Sutton's Hospital. St. Peter's Hospital, 
Bristol, and the Bedehouse, Lyddington, are other examples of buildings erected for 
totally different purposes, being converted into homes for the poor. When the Savoy 
Palace was destroyed by a drunken mob wreaking their vengeance on the Duke of 
Lancaster, the ruins were re-built and endowed by Henry VII., as the famous Savoy 
Hospital. After a chequered and unhappy career, what remained of the much 
pilfered funds of this foundation was made over to the, then, new hospital of Bridewell — 
afterwards a house of correction — ^which eventually became merged in King Edward VI.'s 
schools, now reformatory schools, at Southwark and Witley. 

St, Katherine's Dock marks the site of the old hospital of St. Katherine, which, 
not so very long ago, stood where the waters of the Thames now flow. The great 
medical hospitals of Guy, St. Bartholomew, and St. Thomas, were originally hospitals 
in the non-medical meaning of that term, a remark that applies to several of the Oxford 
Colleges, which, if not exactly founded as almshouses, were incorporated with, and 
derived the nucleus of their funds from such institutions. 

Founders' tombs or monuments are found in hospital chapels at Sandwich (Henry 
de Sandwich, lord warden of the Cinque Ports) ; St. Bartholomew's, Smithfield 
(Rahere) ; and St. Mark's, Bristol (Maurice de Gaunt). Monuments, brasses, or 
chantries, of hospital founders or co-founders are found among other places at Ewelme 
(Alice de la Pole) ; Cobham (Lady Margaret de Cobham, brass) ; Tiverton (John 
and Joan Greenway, brass ; and John Waldron) ; Winchester Cathedral (de Blois and 
Cardinal Beaufort) ; Warwick (Robert Dudley, Earl of Leicester) ; Milton Abbey (John 
Tregonwell) ; Bradford-on-Avon (John Hall, chantry) ; Salisbury Cathedral (Hunger- 
ford, restored chantry) ; Rothwell (Owen Ragdale) ; Canterbury Cathedral (Chichele • 
and Stephen Langton) ; Wimborne Minster (Gertrude Courtenay). Within the chancel 
rails of St. Cross' Hospital Church is a fine brass (1382), to John de Campeden, 

Probably the most beautiful monument of ah almshouse founder or benefactor, 
with the exception of the tomb of Alice de la Pole at Ewelme, is that in the 
old priory church of St. Helen's, Bishopsgate, to the memory of Sir John Crosby, 

1 The Fellows of All Souls College, Oxford, keep the tomb of Henry Chichele, the founder, in good repair. 


Old English Houses of Alms 

the builder of Crosby Hall — ^now unfortunately removed from its original site — ^and a 
great benefactor to London charities. This monument is without question one of the 
finest examples of monumental architecture we possess. The base of the tomb is of 
Purbeck marble, the figures of Sir John and his wife are of white alabaster, tricked out 
with colours. 

Appropriately enough, on the opposite side of the chancel of the same historic 
church, is the monument of Sir Thomas Gresham, founder of the Royal Exchange and 
of Gresham College. This monument, however, is a very uninteresting affair, being 
a sarcophagus tomb with fluted ribs, its heavy appearance being somewhat redeemed 
by the exceptionally well-carved escutcheons. 

In St. Saviour's Church, Southwark, is a mediaeval recessed arch, converted in 
later times into a memorial to Thomas Cure, saddler to Edward VI., Mary, and 
Elizabeth. He was a great benefactor to Southwark, where he founded a kind of 
almshouse, with a warden and pensioners, called the " College." The book of statutes, 
drawn up by the founder, still exists. It contains injunctions against " begginge," 
" typplinge in howses," " swearynge and raylinge." 

Cure also appears to have been one of the founders of St. Saviour's School. His 
epitaph, which is worth quoting, is a curious instance of Latin punning, and it is 
thought to have been the origin of an old song called The Perfect Cure. 

" Elizabetha tibi Princeps, servibit Equorum 
a sellis curus quem lapis iste tegit 
Serviit, Edwardo Regi Mari^ que Sorori 
Principibus magna est laus placuisse tribus 


Semper erat Curo commoda plebis erant 
dum vixi tribui senibus alendis 
Nummorum in sumptus Anna dona Domos. 
Obiit 24 Die Maii An Dom 1588." 

Effigies of founders, placed within niches or in some architecturally-treated 
recesses, are found on the exterior walls of Morden College, Blackheath (Sir John and 


Old English Houses of Alms 

Lady Morden) ; Jesus' Hospital, Bray (William Goddard) ; Sexey's Hospital, Bruton 
(Hugh Sexey); S. Cross' Hospital, Winchester (Cardinal Beaufort) ; and on 
Foster's Hospital, Bristol. 

Contemporary portraits of founders or co-founders are those in St. John's Hospital, 
Winchester (Ralph Lambe); Abbots' Hospital, Guildford (George Abbot) ; and 
Christ's Hospital, Abingdon (Sir John Mason, and Edward VI.). 

Ancient Alms boxes are preserved at St. Nicholas' Hospital, Harbledown, the 
Penrose Almshouses, Barnstaple, and at the " Domus Dei," Stamford. 

Pessimists are never tired of asserting that every good action is inspired by a 
selfish motive, and that our rather vulgar modern custom of erecting stained glass 
windows, fonts, etc., presumably for the glorification of God, but obviously for the 
gratification of Jones, has many a mediaeval precedent. We must, however, not allow 
a few instances of personal vanity to blind our eyes to the fact that the greater number 
of almshouse founders erected the material structure to promote the welfare of the 
poor rather than to perpetuate or gratify a sense of personal vanity. No group of 
buildings are, in their way, more charming, or more impregnated with human associa- 
tions than the picturesque sets of almshouses that adorn so many of our cities, towns, 
and villages — ^asylums of peace and rest, comfort and repose, standing monuments to 
the memory of their founders, and the cause of heart-felt gratitude in the hearts of 
thousands of our needy old folk, now as in the past. Surely many an English town 
would be shorn of half its interest were its old houses of alms to be removed ; and as 
surely the general air of peace and quietude, the grassy plots, the benches and sun- 
dials, the heraldic insignia of founder or benefactor, all contribute in conveying to the 
receptive mind an appeal that is almost sacred in its simple eloquence. The touching 
inscriptions, carved on wall or gateway, are always appropriate and happy in expression, 
the lettering well spaced and sweetly cut. 

This all too brief introduction to our Old English Houses of Alms may fittingly 
close with the delightful inscription cut on the wall of a small set of ancient almshouses at 
at Bromham, in Wiltshire. 


Old English Houses of Alms 

MAT 25, 




Old English Houses of Alms 

St. John's Hospital, Canterbury 

CIRCA 1084. 

This ancient foundation is without question one of the earliest hospitals, properly 
so called, erected in this country. It was founded by Lanfranc about the year 1084, 
and has continued down to the present day as an asylum for the infirm poor. Its 
original purpose appears to have been the housing and care of poor, lame, infirm 
and blind men and women, the building being divided into two portions for this 
purpose. Nearly all the original buildings, which were of stone, were burnt down in 
the fourteenth century, with the exception of portions of the chapel, where traces of 
the old Norman building remain. Eadmer says in his History, " He (Lanfranc) built 
a fair and large house of stone, and added to it several habitations for the various 
needs and convenience of the men, together with an ample plot of ground." 

Miss Clay ' writes, "As Eadmer was living until 1 1 24, he saw the hospital shortly 
after its erection. He may even have watched the Norman masons complete it, and 
the first infirm inhabitants take up their abode." There is no doubt that this hospital, 
like so many others in the vicinity of Canterbury, benefited greatly by the alms of 
pilgrims wending their way to the great shrine of Becket in the Cathedral hard by. In 
1507 a complaint was made to the Archdeacon that the Mayor of Canterbury had 
carried off among other things the chalice, paten, and bells from the chapel, but the 
charge appears to have been unfounded. The foundation is now tenanted by aged men 
and women, the presentation being in the hand of the Archdeacon. As at Lanfranc's 
sister foundation at Harbledown, a number of ancient cooking utensils and other 
domestic objects of interest are preserved here. 

The building is entered through a picturesque half-timbered gateway, the gables 
of which have carved and perforated barge-boards. 

1 The " Mediseval Hospitals of England." 





St Nicholas' Hospital, Harbledown 

St. Nicholas' Hospital at Harbledown, situated on the London Road, one mile from 
Canterbury Cathedral, can justly claim to be one of the oldest foundations of its kind 
in the country. It was founded about 1084, for the relief of lepers, by Lanfranc, the 
Italian cleric brought by William I. from the Abbey of Bee, to be set at the head of 
the English Church. The fact that it was built ten years prior to the first Crusade is 
interesting, as throwing doubt on the generally accepted idea that leprosy was unknown 
in England until introduced here by the returning Crusaders. Lanfranc realised that 
only men of special gifts should be appointed to take charge of the lepers at Harbledown. 
Miss Clay tells us, "He not only arranged to supply all they might need on account of 
the nature of their illness," but appointed men to fulfil this work, " of whose skill, 
gentleness and patience no one could have any doubt." 

The lepers at Harbledown were not allowed to wander about the roads without 
permission, though leave was granted them to visit sick friends or relations, or to go 
beyond the customary bounds for recreation or on useful business. On entering the 
hospital, the lepers were supplied with a russet-coloured dress; the brethren wore scapulars, 
or the ordinary working dress of a monk, and the sisters wore mantles. Both men 
and women wore ox-hide boots reaching mid-way up the leg. On their heads the men 
wore hoods, while the women used thick veils. 

In 1276 the voluntary offerings had dwindled to such an extent that it was with 
great difficulty that the inmates were able to provide themselves with sufficient food. 
Miss Clay says, " When funds were low at Harbledown, the Archbishop impropriated 
Reculver church, thus augmenting the income by parochial tithes." This disgusted 
the parishioners, who sought redress, thinking it " ill to be subject to lepers." 

It is pi'obable that the site of Harbledown Hospital was chosen by Lanfranc on 
account of the proximity of a well of medicinal waters which were thoucrht to be 
efficacious in cases of leprosy. Medicinal wells were found also at Burton Lazars 
Peterborough, Newark and Nantwich, which may account for the sites of the hospitals 
at these places. 


Old English Houses of Alms 

The well at Harbledown is commonly called the Black Prince's well, according to 
the popular tradition that water from it was sent to the hero of Poictiers when on his 
death-bed at Canterbury. This tradition is unsupported by evidence, while the fact 
that the Black Prince did not die at Canterbury, is entirely against the theory. It may, 
however, be connected with the Prince in another way, for after the battle above referred 
to, the Prince and his prisoner, King John of France, passed through Harbledown 
(April 19th, 1357) on their way to Canterbury and London. Halting at the Hospital, 
they would doubtless be offered the relics to kiss, and would probably drink a cup 
of water from the holy well. If such were the case, it can easily be understood that 
the spring might ever afterwards be known as the Black Prince's well. Be this as it 
may, the key-stone of the semi-circular arch above it, bears in somewhat deep carving, 
the well-known cognisance of the Prince, the three feathers, and the motto, "Ich Dien," 
but there is no evidence to show when the stone was inserted. ' 

The existing structure, although partly rebuilt with brick in the reign of James II., 
contains a considerable portion of the original Norman building, while the walls of the 
interior are covered with a number of old fresco paintings. A curious feature of the 
Church is the downward slope of the floor from the altar to the west doorway. This 
was unquestionably designed to drain ofi^ the water with which the church was flooded 
after the lepers had attended mass. The same thing is observable at Shaftesbury, and 
in many of those churches that were built to accommodate large bodies of pilgrims. In 
many of the churches the pilgrims, with clothing, feet, and bodies covered with the 
dust and filth of the journey, would spend the whole night before the hallowed shrine 
or saintly relic, with the consequence that the necessity arose of devising some simple 
means of flushing the floor with water. The old seats and benches at Harbledown, dating 
from the thirteenth century, are also worthy of attention. 

Some interesting relics are preserved in the building, including the famous 
" Erasmus " money or alms box, of which tradition gives the following account. When 
Erasmus visited the hospital in the company of Dean Colet, one of the brethren presented 
a holy relic for the travellers to kiss before being sprinkled with holy water. The relic 
was the portion of a shoe once worn by St. Thomas of Canterbury. The dean declined 
the profi^ered favour with such an outburst of wrathful rhetoric, that the courteous 


Old English Houses of Alms 

Erasmus must needs make amends, and appease the astonished brother by dropping 
a goodly donation into the box, at that time fastened by a chain, of which a few links 
remain, to a tree near the hospital gate, or at the end of a long pole, so that the 
passer-by might give his donation at a safe distance from the infected lepers. Other 
relics to be seen are some good " London " marked pewter plates and tankards, a set 
of wooden trenchers, and a maple mazar, or drinking cup, with a silver-gilt relief, 
whereon the carver has engraved the combat of Guy, Earl of Warwick, with a dragon. 

&•:-■• nil 

Jtlmshovjes sf . • 

Chipping VampdeM 


The Erasmus Money Box. 


St. John's Hospital, Northampton 

CIRCA 1200. 

Leland tells us that this hospital, dedicated in the name of S. John the Baptist, 
and formerly in the patronage of the Bishop of Lincoln, was founded by William 
Sancte Clere, or S. Liz, Archdeacon of Northamptonshire. By an inquisition, how- 
ever, taken in the first year of Edward IIL's reign (1327), it is there stated to have 
been founded nearly two centuries before that date by Walter, Archdeacon of the same 
county, for the reception and maintenance of infirm poor. The solution of the mystery 
is rendered even more difficult by the fact that in the recorded list of Northampton's 
Archdeacons, no mention is made of Walter, but the name of one William occurs as 
possessed of that title at the period of his death in 1168, and he may be the William 
Sancte Clere above mentioned. Bridges, the historian of Northants, states that " the 
government of this hospital is vested in a master and two co-brothers or chaplains. 
The master appoints the brothers, and is himself appointed by the Bishop of Lincoln. 
The hospital consists of a chapel, a hall or common room, with lodgings for the poor, 
and two rooms over them for the co-brothers. The master hath a good house and 
garden. The co-brothers, who officiate as chaplains, are in holy orders, but it is not 
required that the master be a clergyman. The co-brothers' salaries are ;£^ each, with 
IIS. each in lieu of firewood, and los. on the renewal of leases. Eight poor people, 
appointed by the master, are maintained here with lodging, firing in the common hall, and 
an allowance of is. 2d. weekly. Lord Northampton pays annually, by agreement, ;^io 
instead of wood, out of Yardley chase." 

The further revenues of the foundation came from rents and property in several 
parishes of the county and elsewhere, and by a survey taken in the twenty-sixth year of 
Henry VIII. (1535), the revenue, clear of all deductions for upkeep, salaries, and 
pensions, is returned at ^57 19s. 6d.; by a subsequent estimate made some seven 
years later, the taxation of the income was reduced to £2^ 6s. 2fd. 


Old English Houses of Alms 

The plan of the building consists of a common hall, with a central passage, on each 
side of which were the rooms or cubicles of the residents, being in this respect similar 
but not exactly corresponding to the examples at S. Mary's Hospital, Chichester, the 
Bede house at Higham Ferrers, Browne's Hospital, Stamford, and others, to which 
attention has been called in the introduction. 

The difference is that although the chapel stands at the N.E. angle of the main apart- 
ment, it is not approached from within the latter, the entrance being external, and on the 
south side. 

About half-way in the length of the common hall is a staircase leading to two rooms 
above, originally allotted to the co-brothers. The chapel has an east window of three 
lights, and is a good example of Middle Pointed intersecting tracery, the west window of 
five lights being Perpendicular, and four-centred. Under this window is a doorway of 
the same date, embellished with some excellent carving (see illustration). Of this chapel 
Bridges writes : — " In the windows are some imperfect coats of arms and broken figures, 
and in one window the entire portrait of a person mitred, with a crosier in his hand, and 
of another in the posture of prayer. In several places of the east window, in black 
letters, is Honor Deo." Many of the masters were buried in this chapel, together with 
some knights and others who were slain at the battle of Northampton, temp Henry VI. 
The chapel underwent a much needed renovation about 1850, when the wooden bell-cot 
over the west gable, the seats and communion table, and the enclosure wall and entrance 
gates were erected. 

The master's house was an exception to the general rule, in that it stood in a garden 
away from the hospital. The building shows a few fragments of 13th century work, 
including the original roof and a small lancet window, the remaining portion being 
mainly of 1 6th century date. A full account and plan of this building, with illustrations 
of the two early features to which attention has been called, will be found in Turner's 
Domestic Architecture of the Thirteenth and Fourteenth Centuries, vol. i. p. 156. 


Old English Houses of Alms 

Externally, the architecture is unusual. The principal front (see plate) consists of a 
large arched recess, in which originally was a niche ; and a low doorway. The gable is 
pierced by a circular window, the tracery of which is of very unusual design, and 
one that the author has never met with elsewhere. The gable cross is quite modern. 
This building, unfortunately, is no longer fulfilling the charitable purposes for which it 

Tamil in^ on West Door of Ghapel, 
S.Joh'n's kospital f/oHh'snipton. 

was erected, for after the peculations of successive masters during the 17 th and i8th 
centuries, the funds practically vanished, and the building became neglected, and so 
remain, until it was acquired by the Roman Catholic community for their place of 
worship, being consecrated as such by the late Cardinal Manning. This will ensure the 
preservation of the chapel, and, one trusts, of the secular hall as well, for at the present 
moment this serves no nobler purpose than that of providing a residence for the caretaker. 


.TldneY Heafh 

S^ John's Mo6pifaI, TtoilhaymfoLkm/ 


St. Mary's Hospital, Chichester 

CIRCA 1229. 

St. Mary's Hospital, at Chichester, is a foundation of great interest, and one that is 
said to have been founded by William, fifth dean of Chichester {temp Henry II.) for 
the reception of nuns ; but its early history is very obscure. In 1229 it was first recog- 
nised as the Hospital of the Blessed Virgin Mary, for the maintenance of a warden, 
chaplain, and thirteen poor persons. Besides the regular inmates, arrangement was made 
for poor travellers to be taken in and well cared for on seeking admission. A statute 
of the Hospital enacted that " if anyone in infirm health and destitute of friends should 
seek admission for a term, until he shall recover, let him be gladly received and assigned 
a bed." 

Its final constitution was settled under Elizabeth in 1562, when it was limited to a 
warden and five inmates, to which number three have been added in recent times. 

St. Mary's at Chichester is the finest remaining example of the old infirmary type of 
almshouse. The hall is divided from the chapel only by a good Decorated screen, 
so that the sick or bedridden could lie in their beds along the sides of the hall and attend 
to the services conveniently. The great hall of four bays has a fine timber roof extend- 
ing in one span over the entire building, and is subdivided into a species of nave and 
aisles by wooden pillars supporting the roof. These aisles in i860 were divided into 
rooms or cabins for the inmates. 

The chapel is almost entirely of the Geometric-Decorated period ; the screen (with the 
exception of the upper part, which shows signs of a Jacobean restoration), and all the 
woodwork is of the same date. The piscina is canopied with trefoil-headed tracery in the 
arch, and over the sedilia is some very beautiful cusped tracery. The old stalls and 
misereres are also well worthy of attention. 



Bench End m Chapel 

^ «^'J5^^^i--'--.-.r.v. . .-..v • kI" ...>;.-" v:X- 

^ Mary 5 


didney Healh. 

St. Margaret's Hospital, Wimborne 


Like so many of our really old charitable institutions, St. Margaret's Hospital, situated 
a quarter of a mile to the north-west of Wimborne, appears to have been founded 
originally for lepers. Tradition gives John of Gaunt, son of Edward III., as the founder, 
but what slight documentary evidence exists, seems to indicate an early 13 th century 
institution. The foundation was not one of the well-endowed, and it appears to have 
been largely, if not altogether, maintained, by the gifts of the charitable, who, in return, 
were granted various indulgencies, as is set forth in a deed dated XVI. Henry VIII., 
wherein we learn that 

" Pope Innocent IV., in the year 1245, ^7 ^" indulgance or buUe did assoyl them 
of all signs forgotten, and offences done against fader and moder, and all 
swerynges neglygently made. This indulgans, granted of Petyr and Powle, and of 
the said Pope, was to hold good for 51 years and 260 days, provided they repeated 
a certain specified number of Paternosters and Ave Marias daily." 

The chapel joins one of the tenements of the almsmen, and here comes one of the 
minster clergy every Thursday afternoon to conduct service. The interior has been 
refitted in recent years, but the windows, walls, etc., remain in their original state. 
There are three doors in the north wall, the doorways of which are chamfered and 
have pointed heads. The east window has a semi-circular head, plain wooden tracery 
dividing it into two lancets with an opening above them. On the south side some 
pointed doorways and lancet window help to determine, together with the deed already 
quoted, the 13 th century origin of the building. Some traces of frescoes, both geo- 
metrical patterns and figures, remain on the inside walls. The roof is an open one 
of timber, with the beams running across at the level of the wall plates. To 
the left of the doorway selected for illustration will be seen a very good outside holy- 
water stoup, the surface of the stone having been worn into a deep hollow by contact 
with generations of hands. The only other outside stoup in Dorset with which the 
author is acquainted, is an equally good example in the wall of the side porch of Broad- 
mayne Church, near Dorchester. 


Old English Houses of Alms 

The tenements attached to this little hospital are nine in number — three occupied by 
married couples, three by men and three by women. The walls of these dwellings are 
at present a mixture of stone, rubble, and modern brick. The old stone muUions have 


*— .-^Sidney Healii. 

been pulled out for the insertion of more modern windows, but portions of the old 
framings remain, as do a few wooden door frames embedded in the walls, and one or two 
courses of the enormous slabs of stone that originally covered the roof. 


The Boniface Hospital, Maidstone 


This ancient and interesting foundation, frequently called the Hospital of Newark (New 
Work), was founded in 1260 by Archbishop Boniface, for the reception of poor 
travellers, and in particular for such pilgrims as passed through Maidstone on their way 
to the shrine of the martyred Becket at Canterbury. The hospital chapel, after being 
used for many years as a storeroom, has been restored and again fitted for worship, as 
St. Peter's Church. It contains much good work of early Perpendicular date. In 1395 
the old hospital was, by Archbishop Courtenay, incorporated with a college of Secular 
Priests ; and of this foundation the greater part is still standing. The college was dissolved 
circa 1538, the existing buildings being in private occupation. 

These comprise a fine gateway (see illustration), a long range of rooms between it and 
the river, and a tower guarding the river approach. On the right of the gateway is the 
master's house; on the left a wing where was formerly the College bakehouse and 
other domestic oflUces. The corresponding wing containing the refectory and dormitories 
is now a school, and the massive tower by the river makes a delightful private residence, 
as also does the master's house, with its terraced gardens sloping to the Medway. No 
trace of the old cloisters remains. Above the main arch of the gateway is a fine apartment 
used by the local lodge of Freemasons. 



St. Cross Hospital, Winchester 


The fine old Hospital of St. Cross, near Winchester, was founded in 1 136, by Henry de 
Blois, Bishop of Winchester, but the following year the management of the foundation 
was given to the Knights of St. John of Jerusalem, who for some time appear to have 
had a difficulty in making good their claim to administer the charity. 

In 1 185 they surrendered the foundation to Bishop Toclyve, but two years later it was 
handed back to them by the Pope, a grant that was confirmed in 1189 by Richard I. 
Litigation, even then, did not cease, for in 1179 ^* "^^^ awarded to the Bishop of 
Winchester on appeal to the Pope. The Hospitallers, however, in 1 1 99, once more gained 
possession of the buildings, to whom they were given by King John, but the following 
year saw the whole of the foundation assigned to the Bishop of Winchester. A survival 
of the Hospitallers' rule here is preserved in the badges (Crosses potent), worn by the 
pensioners, and it may be here mentioned that, on the death of one of the brothers, the 
Silver Cross is placed on a red velvet cushion, and laid on his breast in the coffin, but is 
removed before the burial takes place, and fastened by the master on the gown of the 
next comer. 

The hospital buildings consist of an outer gateway and court, in which are the various 
domestic offices of the brotherhood. From the fore-court, through Cardinal Beaufort's 
noble gateway, one enters the spacious quadrangle, around which are arranged the 
brethren's dwellings, hall and church, while on the east side is the ambulatory with the 
infirmary above. The north side comprises the refectory and the master's house. The 
ambulatory, of sixteenth century date, is one hundred and thirty feet long. It possesses 
a good oriel window and simple spandrils to the supporting woodwork. By far the 
finest architectural feature of the secular portion of this quadrangle is the massive gate- 
way, called the Beaufort Tower, after the famous Cardinal, who, if not the original 
builder, restored it in a very thorough manner (1404-47), and endowed it with that 




Old English Houses of Alms 

architectural quality that gives it so distinguished a place in the building achievements of 
the fifteenth century. 

Above the richly groined and vaulted ceiling of this gateway the external arch of 
which is four centred and well moulded, is the founder's chamber, lighted by a square- 
headed, transomed window, with cinquefoil tracery. This apartment is now used as a 
board-room by the hospital trustees, and here also the ancient documents relating to the 
foundation are preserved. Above this room the external wall carries a canopied niche, 
wherein one stood an effigy of the Blessed Virgin, who, falling from her pedestal about a 
century ago, nearly killed one of the brethren in her descent. The head of this broken 
figure may still be seen in the north choir aisle of the church. The north side of this 
gateway has three similar niches, only one of which has retained its effigy, that of the 
Cardinal in a kneeling posture. Within the gateway is the porter's hatchway, associated 
with the retention of that charitable custom of mediaeval England by which the wayfarer, 
be he gentle, simple, beggar or noble, was entitled to a daily dole. The custom as at 
present carried out is but a relic and a faint echo of the times when a hundred poor men 
were fed every day in the great hall of the hospital. We are told also that the poorer 
scholars of Winchester College dined without fee in the " Hundred Men's Hall." The 
daily dole now consists of but two gallons of ale and two loaves of bread; the number of 
wayfarers who claim their portion of each, averages thirty a day. 

Cardinal Beaufort also founded in 1446 the " Almshouses of Noble Poverty," but 
these dwellings, situated on the south side of the quadrangle, were pulled down in 1789. 
The existing brethren's houses to which the Cardinal is thought to have added the tall 
projecting chimney-shafts, are fashioned like those of the old Carthusians, each brother 
having two rooms, a pantry, and a garden. 

The Brethren's Hall, or the " Hundred Mennes Hall " was re-roofed in 1334 by Wil- 
liam de Edyndon. It is lighted by four XlVth century windows and contains a minstrel 



Old English Houses of Alms 

gallery, an interesting XVth century staircase, and a raised hearth or open fireplace, in 
the centre of the floor. This hall originally measured 36 ft. by 24 ft., but a portion was 
cut off to provide a residence for the master, who is now housed in a modern building 
erected to the north of the Beaufort Tower, outside the gates. 

Interesting as are the secular portions of this foundation, the old Hospital Church, now 
the parish Church of the Village of St. Cross, a village that owes its origin to the charit- 
able institution set in its midst, is of remarkable value to students of ecclesiastical 
architecture. Occupying more than a century in building, the exact dates being from 
1 130 to 1255, it exhibits every style of architecture from Romanesque, through the 
Transition-Norman and Early English, to the Late Decorated, the Transition-Norman 
portion being considered the best example of this particular period, in existence. The 
west front is very beautiful. The south-side is somewhat plainer, owing, no doubt, to 
the fact that here were placed the early Conventual buildings, since done away with. 
Between the south transept and the choir aisle is a triple-arched doorway with zig-zag 
mouldings. The principal objects of interest in the interior are the massive pillars, the 
triforium with intersecting arches, the altar-slab of Purbeck marble, the stone screens and 
tabernacle work on either side of the altar, and the roof pendants. In the north choir aisle 
a tile marks the burial place of King, one of the Brethren, who, although only a working 
mason, and more than seventy years of age, discovered and opened out the greater part 
of the mouldings and frescoes on the walls. There is but one monument in the 
Church, that of Speaker Cornwall, 1789, and a brass in the choir to John de Campeden, 
1382, Master. The ancient sacristy adjoining the south transept has a vaulted roof, and 
three or four recesses or aumbries for keeping the sacred vessels. The exterior walls of 
this portion indicate that the roof has been twice lowered. 

The Hospital and its endowments survived the Reformation. The Vicar-General 
reported that there was need for " reformation in certain things," and that sturdy beggars 
were to be repulsed. 


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Old English Houses of Alms 

Mr. A. E. Freeman wrote, " St. Cross has that peculiar attraction which belongs to 
whatever is first of its own class. No one can pass its threshold without finding himself 

Handkj at 



landed, as it were, in another age. It seems a place where no worldly thought, no pride 
or passion, or irreverence could enter ; a spot where, as a modern writer has expressed it, 
a good man, might he make his choice, would wish to die." 

The Bede House, Higham Ferrers, Northants 


This institution was established on the site of an earlier building by Henry Chichele, in 
1423, for twelve men and one woman, all to be not less than fifty years of age; the 
senior bedesman to be termed the prior. The founder, a man of humble birth and a native 
of Higham Ferrers, became Archbishop of Canterbury in 14 14, and his monument may 
be seen in England's premier cathedral. He also built All Souls' College, Oxford. 
Miss Clay tells us that there is a tradition that " while keeping the sheep by the river 
side he was met by William of Wykeham, who recognised his talents and provided for 
his education. He afterwards desired to found a College in the pli,ce where he was 
baptised, and of this the almshouse formed a part." The Bede House forms a parallelo- 
gram, measuring internally 65 ft. 8 in., by 23 ft. lojin. The western portion was 
originally divided into sleeping cabins for the inmates, and thus served for hall and 
dormitory, the chapel being at the east end. This arrangement is found in many old alms- 
houses, and it appears to owe its origin to the old monastic infirmaries; the idea being to 


Old English Houses of Alms 

allow the sick and bedridden to join in Divine Service, an open screen only dividing 
chapel from hall. The alms box for the contributions of charitably minded persons was 
set up in the middle of the dormitory. An unusual feature was a boarding-school which 
the Archbishop attached to the Bede House. 

Externally, the building has a curious striped appearance, from the alternate courses of 
red and white stone of which the walls are constructed. The west front consists of a 
large five-light-window, the arched bead being four-centred and slightly ogeed, and the 
hood-mould crocketted. The moulded details are very good, while the heads 
forming the hood-mould terminations are similar to those on the windows of the 
College, another of the Archbishop's gifts to his native place. The doorway beneath 
the window is also ogee-headed in the hood-mould, which is crocketted. The bell-cot on 
the apex of the gable is modern. The north and south fronts are divided by buttresses 
into six bays, in two of which is a two-light square-headed window, with cinquefoil 
tracery. One bay on each front has a four-centred arched doorway. The chapel has 
been much restored, and the east window is quite modern. 

Internally, the hall has a fine oak roof of six bays, the trusses of which spring from 
corbels of oak. The arch between hall and chapel is four-centred, with an embattled 
capital at the springing. The south side of the hall has a large original fireplace. 
Indications of a building earlier than Chichele's by more than a century, are afforded by the 
south-west window of this hall, where the trefoiled and soffit-cusped tracery below the 
transom proclaims it as early Decorated in date. Two entries in the Lincoln registers of 
presentation to the wardenship of the hospital in 1258 and 1265 respectively, confirm the 
evidence as to the earlier foundation, which, no doubt, formed the basis for Chichele's 
fine building. 

Among the documents preserved relating to the Bede House, are some fifteenth century 
statutes and regulations regarding the toilet, eating, bathing, and laundry arrangements 
of the inmates, which afford very interesting reading. 

The hospital and the large estates adjoining are the property of Earl Fitzwilliam. 



Almshouses at Ewelme, Oxfordshire 


The village of Ewelme, twelve miles S.E. of Oxford, and three miles N.E, of WaU- 
ingford, has a very interesting hospital or almshouse. In 1437, Henry VI. granted to 
William de la Pole, Earl of Suffolk, and Alice (the granddaughter of Geoffrey Chaucer) 
his wife, " That they or either the survivor of them, should found an hospital at their 
Manor of Ewelme, in the county of Oxford, and settle a sufficient endowment not exceed- 
ing the yearly value of 200 marks, for the maintenance of two chaplains and thirteen 
poor men, to be incorporated, and to have a common seal." It was also ordained " that 
the above number of persons should be ever maintained in it, one of the chaplains or 
priests to be called master of the almshouse, who shall govern it and shall administer the 
affairs thereof." The first master was Sir John Seynsberg, and the first incumbent John 
Bostock. On the completion of the building the house was duly made over to the master 
and the poor men for ever, and was entitled " God's House," or the house of alms. As 
a safeguard against the endowments being alienated by any future lords of the manor, 
the Chancellor of England for the time being was made protector of its revenues. Old 
documents tell us that those benefited by this institution were to live charitably, meekly, 
and godly; to be free from drunkenness, and to reveal no secrets of the house. The 
poor men were further enjoined to keep the cloister and the quadrangle clean. The 
same founders also endowed the free school adjoining the hospital at its western 
extremity, now a national school. 

The unpopular William de la Pole was beheaded m May, 1449, but previous to this 
he had provided, by will, for the final endowment of the hospital, as is thus recorded : 

"Anno 1448. Ho spit ate de Ewelme vocatum 'God's House' per Wil- 


and by an inquisition taken after his death, it was found that among other possessions in 
the county which he held jointly with his wife, was the moiety of one hundred acres of 
wood with appurtenances, in Ewelme, the advowson of the Church of Ewelme, and the 
advowson of the eleemosynary house or hospital there; all of which continued with a great 


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Old English Houses of Alms 

deal of other property, to be held by his widow in her own right of inheritance. She 
lived to a great age, and died on the 20th of May, 1475, ^^^ ^^s buried in the parish 
church of Ewelme. On the attainder of the Earl of Lincoln, one of the descendants of 
William de la Pole during the reign of Henry VIII., the whole of the Suffolk 
property in Ewelme was forfeited to the Crown, when with Wallingford, akeady an 
appendage to the Duchy of Cornwall, it was made a royal manor. As Crown property, 
James I., in the third year of his reign, annexed the rectory of Ewelme, with a canonry 
of Christ Church, to the Regius Professorship of Divinity at Oxford, and likewise in 
1 6 12 annexed the mastership of the hospital to the Regius Professorship of Physic at 
Oxford, both of which appointments still remain. 

The hospital is contiguous to the west end of the church, with which it is connected 
by a passage, whence there are doors on the N. and S. sides into the adjoining 
churchyard. From this passage a short flight of steps leads to the quadrangle, around 
which are the rooms 'of the Inmates, each of whom has a sitting-room on the ground 
floor, and a bedroom over. An ambulatory extends all round the quadrangle in front 
of the dwellings. 

The external walls are of stone, the internal walls towards the quadrangle of brick and 
wood construction. The oak uprights with the herring-bone arrangement of the brick- 
work gives a very pleasing effect. Of the gables In the centre of each side of the quad- 
rangle only two have retained their original bargeboards, but both of these are very 
good. The W. side of the quadrangle contains the audit and muniment rooms, and a 
suite of apartments, once' appropriated to the use of the master or schoolmaster. The 
school adjoining presents many interesting architectural features, but this is somewhat 
beyond the limits of the present volume. 

The church, dedicated In honour of S. Mary the Virgin, is a most interesting piece of 
building. It consists of a tower at the W. end, nave, and aisles, north and south 
porches, the latter an open timber one; a chancel with north and south aisles, and a 
sacristy on the north side of the chancel. The whole of this building was erected by Alice 
the wife of William de la Pole, after her husband's death, and it exhibits a uniformity of 
design and of architectural detail that is as unusual as it is valuable. The south aisle 
of the chancel, called S. John Baptist's Chapel, is its most prominent architectural 

.S? H 

Old English Houses of Alms 

feature. The roof is of richly panelled oak, the walls being covered with Scriptural texts 
and powdered with the sacred monogram, I.H.S. Under one of the arches, between 
the chancel and this chapel, are the elaborate monumental tombs of the foundress. The 
effigy is of alabaster, and she is shown habited in a tunic, surcoat, veil, and wimple, with 
her head (over which is a canopy), reclining on a cushion, supported by winged angels. 
A coronet adorns her head, and her left arm is encircled with the order of the Garter; the 
feet rest on a lion. Here also is the tomb of Thomas Chaucer and Maud his wife, on 
which is a brass showing the husband in full plate armour, and the wife in 1 5th century 
costume. The bench ends and encaustic tiles complete the list of good things remaining 
in this chapel. The church has no constructional chancel arch, and the roofs of nave, 
aisles, and chancel, together with the rood screen and parcloses, are of good Perpendicular 
type. The font, placed on the north side of the nave, has a well known elaborate cover, 
which was restored about 1 8 50. Along the centre of the nave from east to west are the 
gravestones of the Rectors of Ewelme, and on the floor of the south aisle those of the 
various masters of the hospital. This aisle has always been set apart for the use of the 

In Leland's time the monument above mentioned of Alice, Countess of Suffolk, had 
upon it this epitaph, since destroyed : — 

Orate pro anima serenissim^ principiss^ Alici^e 
duciss^ suffolce^, hujus ecclesije et prim^. 
fundatricis hujus elemosinari^; qvm obiit xx. die 
Mensis Maii, an. mcccclxxv, litera dominicali a. 

This epitaph makes it appear as though the good lady were the sole founder of the 
Hospital, but such is not the case, for the charter of Henry VI. makes it clear that the 
license for its foundation was granted to husband and wife jointly, and we have already 
mentioned the precautions taken by Sir .William de la Pole to provide for the endowment, 
prior to his unfortunate death. The trustees of this interesting foundation are lords of 
the manor and the principal landowners of Weyhill, Hants. 


Bar^boBtdj- in 


3io«EY Heath 

ilLM5H0U5ES AT EWELME Oxfon/shir-e 


Leicester's Hospital, Warwick 

CIRCA 1450. 

The exterior view of Leicester Hospital, with its detached chapel poised high above 
the arch of the old gateway, is one of the most picturesque to be found in the old town 
of Warwick. The composition may possess but little real architectural character, but the 
many gables, steep-tiled roof, clusters of chimney-shafts, projecting windows, and over- 
hanging upper storeys succeed in producing a mass of broken and unexpected lines that 
captivate the mind by that quality which, for the want of a better word, is called the 

The small chapel of St. James is built above the old West Gate of the town, and is 
appropriated to the use of the hospital brethren. The embattled tower dates from the 
XlVth century, when it was erected by Thomas Beauchamp. The whole edifice was 
restored in 1863, when the flying buttresses were added to give stability to the south 
wall. Inside the chapel is divided into two portions by a beautiful Perpendicular oak 
screen, within which are old oak stalls for the use of the master and brethren. In the 
space outside the screen a few chairs are provided for any strangers who may care to 
attend the service held daily at ten o'clock. It is a matter for regret that the large clock 
has been placed so as to hide the tracery of the tower window on both sides, and the 
same thing is to be seen at Henley-in-Arden, and in a large number of Midland towns and 
villages. It is somewhat rare to find an old town gate with a church still standing 
above it, but here at Warwick we find not only the example above mentioned, but the 
old East Gate is still standing intact, and this also with a church on the top. This building 
of church and gate one above another may have arisen in consequence of the limited 
amount of ipace available within the restricted boundaries of a mediaeval walled town. 
The custom, however, was not an uncommon one, for at Canterbury the Church of the 
Holy Cross stood originally above the well-known West Gate of the city until 1380, 
when it was rebuilt on its present site, just within the walls, by Archbishop Sudbury. 
St. John's Church, at Bristol, stands above an old city gate, as was also the case at St. 
Giles' Church, Winchester. 


.'"Mr"' " ■ 

» I. • u ■-■■■■ 

Sidrtev Kesth 

Old English Houses of Alms 

Entering the Courtyard of Leicester's Hospital, we find ourselves in a true mediaeval 
atmosphere. The gateway through which we gain access bears the letters R.L., and the 
date 1 57 1, which is the date of Robert Dudley's Charity, not of the original buildings, 
the greater part of which was built by the Guilds of Holy Trinity and St. George in 
the fifteenth century. Above the main arch of this entrance is the motto, 
" Droit et Loyal," and the well-known bear and ragged staff of the Leicesters. 

When the united Guilds were dissolved, the buildings were acquired by the town, 
and on New Year's Day, 1571, a deed of gift conveyed the building, and all within it, 
to the Earl, who thereupon founded the hospital, which bears his name. The founda- 
tion provided for a master and twelve men, who were, if possible, to have been soldiers, 
born in the counties of Warwick or Gloucester, or having resided there for five years. 
Failing old soldiers, the Charity was to be extended to the poor of Kenilworth, Strat- 
ford-on-Avon, Wootton-under-Edge, or Erlingham. 

The foundation was richly endowed, and the estates of the hospital now consist of 
farms and tithes in the counties of Warwick and Gloucester. By an Act of Parliament 
passed in 18 13, the master receives ;^400 a year, while each brother is allowed ;^8o a 
year, in addition to the privileges of the house. Whenever the brethren walk abroad, 
they wear "gowns of blew cloth," and silver badges, bearing their founder's cognisance. 
One of the last was stolen some fifty years ago ; the remainder bear the names of their 
first recipients, and the date 1571. 

The building stands on a terrace that rises abruptly from the roadway to the 
hospital church. 

Leicester called the place " Pvlaison Dieu " (the old French mediseval name for a 
hospital), which may account for the large number of texts which adorn the building. 


■ Leicefterjr 

Mprpital ,. ^^. , 

'The Staircase and 

Covered Wa/s 


Old English Houses of Alms 

The old parts of the hospital are constructed of timber, lavishly carved with the badges of 
the Leicester and Warwick families, while at every available point, an emblazoned coat 
of arms has been set up. The quadrangle contains a cloistered corridor, and a Jong flight 
of covered steps. The surrounding buildings comprise the master's lodge, the old guild 
chamber, and various apartments of the brethren. The banqueting-hall, wherein Sir 
Fulke Greville entertained King James I., is now partitioned off into various domestic 
offices. It contains a fine timbered roof of Spanish chestnut, and the apartment is well 
worth restoring to its original use. 

The old kitchen now serves as a common room for the inmates, and contains some of 
the furniture and relics removed from Kenilworth Castle, in addition to a good collection 
of ancient arms and armour. The master's lodge contains a suite of beautiful apart- 
ments, but these are not generally shown to the public. 



Almshouses at Stratford-on-Avon 

1269 (Original Foundation). 
The founder of this Charity is unknown, but in early times, about 1269, it appears to 
have become associated with the Guild of the Holy Cross, the chapel of which still 
remains in close proximity to the almshouses. Stratford, at one time, had several guilds, 
which, eventually, all became merged in the Guild of the Holy Cross. The guild alms- 
houses, with the exception of those at Abingdon, do not appear to have survived the 
dissolution of these fraternities. 

The present buildings have retained many characteristics of their i6th century origin, 
notwithstanding many restorations, both within and without. Until a few years ago, the 
whole of the massive oak uprights of the street frontage were covered with rough cast 
or "stucco," a custom that appears to have been very prevalent in the Midlands. This 
has now been removed with the happiest result. The clustered and solidly-buttressed 
chimney stacks are massive erections of brick. 

In 1 90 1, a curious custom, relating to the foundation, was revived, on the discovery 
of an old document known as "Sir Hugh Clopton's Settlement in his Name and 
Family," which had been deposited in the museum attached to Shakespeare's Birth- 
place. Sir Arthur Hodgson, the then owner of the Clopton Estates, on learning the 
nature of the deed, resolved that the terms of the bequest should be carried out, thus 
reviving a quaint ceremony of old Stratford that had fallen into desuetude for more 
than a century. The bequest bears the date December 12th, 1732, and stipulates for the 
preaching of a sermon in the ancient chapel of the Guild of the Holy Cross on May 29 
in each year, " annually commemorating the happmess of the glorious restoration of our 
Constitution in Church and State," for which the sum of one guinea was to be paid 
to the vicar of the parish, five shillings to the clerk, and one shilling each given to the 
twenty-four almsfolk. The bequest further provides for the purchase of blue coats for 
the men, and blue gowns for the women every second year, " to be accounted from the 
Annunciation of the Blessed Virgin Mary, which shall happen next after the decease of 
the said Hugh Clopton," and upon the coats of the men and the gowns of the women the 
cross, the well known heraldic cognisance of the Clopton family, was to be affixed. Any 
residue was to be spent in the purchase of straw hats and aprons for the women or in 
such other manner, " as the Mayor, Aldermen, and Burgesses shall think fit." 



Almshouses at J'tratFord-on-Avott 


Jesus Hospital, Lyddington 


Lyddington, near Uppingham, in Rutland, possesses in its Bede House, one of the 
most interesting buildings in the country, and one, moreover, that has not yet received 
the attention it deserves at the hands of both architect and antiquary. Its not least 
pleasing feature is the fact that it shows no signs whatever of extensive restoration, but 
has merely been kept in repair, and to this is due its extraordinary value as a piece of 
mediaeval architecture, probably the best example of its period in the whole country. 

Originally built as a palace or country residence for the Bishops of Lincoln, it was 
embattled and fortified by Bishop Henry de Burghersh in 1320-42. To the architectural 
student of almshouses proper, this building has little value, as it was not until 1602 
that it was converted by Thomas, Second Baron Burghley, into a hospital for the 
reception of a warden, twelve poor men, and two poor women, the buildings then 
existing having been erected by Bishop John Russell in 1480-96. The foundation was 
endowed with land at KingsclifFe in Northamptonshire, which now produces an annual 
income of about ;^i 16. 

The original great hall of the palace is intact. Here there is a very good flat oak- 
panelled ceiling, a fine oriel, and a large open fireplace, above which appear the arms 
of Bishop Russell. The ceiling has a deep cornice with richly moulded tracery in oak, 
while portions of old glass in the windows display various episcopal arms, crests, and 
badges ; relics, as are the large heraldic hatchments on the walls, of the building's 
former episcopal greatness. Below the hall are the remains of the old kitchen buttery 
and other domestic offices. On the north side is a delightful old cloistered walk, the 
lean-to roof of which is supported on massive oak uprights, while the mouldings of 
windows and doorways are remarkably well preserved. 

The curious octagonal tower, bearing the arms of Bishop Russell, is approached by 
steps from the old palace garden. There is a tradition to the effect that a similar tower 
was originally placed at each angle of the garden, but if such were the case, no trace of 
any other remains. It is probable that in Bishop Russell's time the tower was capped 
with battlements, which have since been replaced with a stone tile roofing. The little 
building is octagonal, of which five sides project into the roadway. The lower storey 
is pierced by two archways, through which passes the public path, while the upper 
storey is entered from the raised path of the garden by a slightly projecting doorway. 
There is little reason to doubt that it was originally a kind of gateway and watch-tower, 
from whence the approaches to the palace could be seen. 

A full description of this Bede House, and a number of illustrations, appeared in 
"Country Life" of July 24th, 1909. 


<Jesus Hospital 

Sidney Hsafh 

Browne's Hospital, Stamford 


The old town of Stamford, Lincolnshire, has a number of almshouses, of which 
perhaps the most interesting is that founded in the reign of Edward IV., by William 
Browne, a native of the town. The founder " was a Marchant of a very wonderful 
Richeness " we are told by Leland, who gives the dedication of the Bede House as 
All Saints. 

Miss Clay writes : " The founder had willed that there be for ever a certain alms- 
house, commonly called William Browne's Almshouse, for the invocation of the most 
glorious Virgin Mary, and All Saints, to the praise and honour of the Name 

Browne died before the completion of the building, and in 1493 his wife's brother, 
Thomas Stoke, or Stock, Canon of York and Chaplain to the Lord Chancellor, obtained 
fresh letters patent for the better administration of the foundation. He also gave to 
the hospital the manors of Swafield and North Witham, several tenements, and a silver 
seal. The seal, which is still in existence, shows the Father supporting the Saviour 
upon the Cross between His knees, while the Spirit is represented as a Dove. 

In 1 6 10 the Charity was again re-founded by letters patent, when it was directed 
that the inmates should consist of a warden, confrater, ten poor men, and two poor 
women advanced in age. Stock finished building the foundation, the chapel of which 
was dedicated to the Blessed Virgin on December 25 th, 1495. The south front, com- 
prising the entrance porch, audit-room, and dormitories, is very characteristic of the 
late 15th Century style of Architecture. The tower surmounting the roof is modern; it 
replaced a small bell-cot, which, in its turn, formed no part of the original structure. 
Inside, the main building contains some fine suites of apartments, the windows having 
retained a good deal of old glass. A writer in 1858 says: "The original stone altar 
has been preserved, and forms part of the pavement at the entrance to the chapel. It is 
remarkable for its unusually large dimensions, and the five crosses are still very perfect." 

The miserere stalls and sedilia are also still in existence. 


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''Sidney Heath 


Bablake Hospital, Coventry 


Bablake, or more commonly, Bond's Hospital, at Coventry, although not of such 
architectural importance as the magnificent range of buildings in the same town known 
as Ford's Hospital, has many points of interest. It is twenty years earlier than the 
Charity founded by William Ford, and, like that example, is composed largely of strong 
timber work filled in with lath and plaster. The gables are richly carved and perforated, 
the finials having deep mouldings. The windows are muUioned and diamond paned, 
while many of them have headings of tracery, and project oriel fashion. 

This institution was founded by Thomas Bond, in 1509, for the support and 
residence of old men of the Trinity and Corpus Christi Guilds, and it is connected 
through a later benefaction with the Bablake School for Boys, founded in the reign of 
Elizabeth. Fifty years after its first establishment the hospital had another benefactor 
in Thomas Wheatley, a wealthy ironmonger of Coventry, about whose acquisition of 
wealth a curious legend has been preserved, to the effect that, in the course of trade, he 
sent a representative to Spain to purchase some steel gads, which he did at open 
auction, and despatched them to his employer at Coventry. When the cases were 
opened, they were found to contain, instead of the articles ordered, a large quantity of 
cochineal and ingots of silver. The agent not knowing from whom he had made the 
purchase, they were kept by Wheatley for a considerable time, in the hope that a claimant 
would appear; but this not happening, he sold them, the proceeds going to swell his 
already large donations to charitable institutions. The hospital seems to have enjoyed 
an uneventful existence, down to the year 161 9, when one of the pensioners, John 
Johnson, poisoned no less than eight of his co-brothers with rats-bane, in the hope of 
becoming senior brother of the house, to which position additional privileges were 
attached. On the death of his eighth victim he was suspected and questioned, whereupon 
he promptly poisoned himself. He was buried in the church, but his guilt being 
clearly proved, the body was dug up and buried at the cross roads in Leicester highway, 
" with a stake through it, according to law," as we are told by Dugdale, the Warwickshire 
historian. The foundation was dedicated, like the Guild that supported it, to the Holy 
Trinity, the symbol of which was borne on their gowns by the almsmen. 


,BabIaKe Wo^pital, Coventry. 

aidney Neath. JT I e/ 

Abbot Beere's Almshouse, Glastonbury 


Situated in a yard at the back of the old Red Lion Inn at Glastonbury, is a small 
almshouse for women, with a chapel attached, founded in 151 2 by Richard Beere, last 
Abbot but one of Glastonbury. The gateway is a massive piece of building, exhibiting 
above the arch a deeply carved panel displaying a Tudor rose and a cap encircled by a 
crown. The heraldic animals supporting the charge have become much defaced. At 
the west end of the chapel, a portion of which is shown through the open door of the 
gateway, are the arms of the old abbey — ^a cross fleury between two roses — ^and jugs of 
beer, the punning heraldic device of the abbot, who was to Glastonbury what Wykeham 
was to Winchester. Had the vicissitudes of time dealt more kindly with his work, 
the buildings he erected would have brought the forgotten abbot as large a measure of 
praise as is given to the prelate of Winchester. Both men combined with austere 
devotion a genius for building; but whereas Wykeham' s work has mostly survived, that 
of his fellow cleric nearly all vanished with the downfall of the great abbey of which he 
was once the head. The dedication of the adjoining chapel is unknown. At the 
side of the altar is a recess, which, on the supposition that this is the original altar, may 
have been used for storing plate and vestments. One of the main entrances to the abbey 
was through the almshouse gardens, and the stones of the gateway leading thither could 
be seen until a short time ago in many parts of the Red Lion Inn. Since the sale of 
its abbey to the Church of England in 1 907, Glastonbury has suffered from extensive 
restoration. The hostelry has been stripped of its old monastic stones, which have been 
used as the basis for the new gateway, built as closely as possible to the plan and style 
of the old one. In addition to much work at the abbey, Beere built the church of St. 
Benignus, on which his initials and rebus appear, and the little building in High Street 
called the Tribunal, which some consider to have been the abbey court-house. It was 
Abbot Beere who rebuilt, in 15 10, the leper hospital at Taunton, the beautiful sculptured 
panel of which, showing the initials R.B. and a heavily-jewelled mitre (Glastonbury 
was a miti-ed abbey), is given as a frontispiece to this volume. Glastonbury also has 
the remains of the Hospital of St. Mary Magdalene, mainly Early English with debased 
Perpendicular additions, and a good bell-gable figured in Parker's " Glossary," Vol. II., 
Plate 17. 


fM Hlf" 

^k^ jp'^P'fr'^'a.miwtn ,i^^ ■*\iw\ a/ m Mmi* / 

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^33or Beeres Hlmshouse, Gbsbnbury. 


St. John's Hospital, Lichfield 

CIRCA 1500. 

The date of this foundation is unknown, the founder being one of the three 
Bishops Roger who ruled over the See of Lichfield. Little is known about it until it 
was re-endowed and practically rebuilt by Bishop William Smyth, who was consecrated 
to the See of Coventry and Lichfield in 1493. As Smyth was shortly afterwards translated 
to the See of Lincoln, and died in 15 14, the re-building of this old charity was probably 
completed. about the end of the 15th century. Its most distinctive architectural feature is 
the extraordinary row of massive chimney shafts projecting some distance from the face of 
the wall. The attached chapel unfortunately underwent a drastic " restoration " by 
Chancellor Law in 1840, when the whole of its ancient features, fittings, and furniture 
were ruthlessly swept away. Over the entrance doorway is a large tablet surmounted 
by armorial bearings, and a bishop's mitre, together with an inscription recording the 
munificence of the bishop, who is remembered as the founder of Brasenose College, 
Oxford, and a great benefactor to St. John's Hospital, Banbury. Thomas Fuller, the 
rare old divine, says of him that " this man wheresoever he went may be followed by the 
perfume of charity he left behind him." 



Greenway Almshouses, Tiverton 

CIRCA 1517. 

Until the year 1830 no town in the west of England had retained its old-world 
buildings in a more perfect state than Tiverton. At the above named date, however, 
the place underwent so prolonged a " restoration " that the work was not completed 
until 1854. During this period the beautiful screen in S. Peter's Church, commemorating 
the munificence of John and Joan Greenway, was pulled down, with the exception of 
a few fragments now at Powderham; while the rood-screen, v/hich suffered the same 
fate, has been re-erected at Holcombe. Possibly because they were mere charities 
possessed of no great wealth, the Greenway, Waldron, and Slee Almshouses, the two 
former dating from the first quarter of the XVI. century, were spared. The first named 
was erected, circa 1 5 1 7, by John Greenway, a wealthy wool merchant, and Joan his wife, 
whose memory is preserved in the following rhyme carved in bold letters under the main 
cornice of the building : — 

" Have grace ye men and pray 
for the sowl of john and jone grenway." 
Its most distinctive architectural feature is the projecting porch of the chapel with its 
wealth of sculpture. On either side of the Greek cross above the apex of the arched 
doorway is an eagle carrying a bundle of sticks, and on either side of these again a shield, 
that on the dexter charged with the arms of England and France, quarterly, encircled by 
the Order of the Garter, that on the sinister bearing the arms of Courtenay and 
De Redvers, also within the Garter. Above this interesting piece of stone carving are a 
series of recessed panels, within which are quatre-foils supporting shields bearing various 
monograms or arms, but all somewhat worn. 

The device of the eagle and sticks has long been a puzzle to antiquaries, and one 
that has been found on four buildings only, viz., Greenway Almshouses, Tiverton Church, 
Ford Abbey, and Colcombe Castle. As it does not appear until the first quarter of the 
XVIth century, and then only on buildings of which the Courtenays were owners or 
patrons, it may possibly bear some allusion to that great Devonshire house. 

The brass effigies of John and Joan Greenway, circa 1529, lie on the pavement of 
the beautiful Greenway Chapel in Tiverton Church, but only one shield remains, charged 
with the arms of the merchant adventurers, and this inscription : — 

"Pray for john greenway." 


fiidiicy Heath 

The "Chapel Porch, Greenway Almshovses T/verlon. 

Ford's Hospital, Coventry 


Coventry, the town of the Three Spires, possessed until comparatively recent years, 
more remains of XVth and XVIth century timbered houses than any other English town, 
with the exception perhaps of Chester. The alternating periods of depression followed 
by the great trade revivals that have periodically swept over the town, have had a baneful 
effect on the old buildings. With the decline of the silk trade the place became deserted - 
and the houses neglected until watchmaking once more filled the town with residents. 
When this in its turn declined, Coventry lay almost desolate, until the cycle industry filled 
it with such an overflow of population that enormous areas of the old town were pulled 
down to afford the necessary accommodation for the artificers. Thus it is that modern 
methods of production have their destructive as well as their productive force ; for, in 
this money loving age, no memorials are allowed to stand in the way of what are called 
modern " improvements," as witness the deplorable fate of Crosby Hall and the narrow 
escape of the Whitgift Hospital at Croydon. Fortunately, Coventry has not swept its 
old-world buildings entirely away, for the place will always be worth visiting so long as 
it retains such architectural gems as S. Mary's Hall, and the two old almshouses erected 
by their pious founders. 

Ford's Hospital, or, as it is sometimes called. Grey Friar's Hospital, from its old- 
time proximity to the monastery of the Grey Friars, was erected in 1529 by William Ford, 
a native of the town, for five poor men and one woman, but the scope of the charity has 
been somewhat enlarged in recent years by providing for a number of out-pensioners. 
The original endowment was largely added to by the founder's executor, William 
Pitsford, and later by Simon Norton, an Alderman. 

In Dugdale's Warwickshire, the foundation is thus referred to : — 

" Grey Friers, near unto the ruins of this Friery, is there an Hospitall (now called 
Grey Frier Hospitall, in respect of its situation), touching the foundation whereof, 
and its successive benefactors, I shall not need to say anything more than what 
the inscription upon the walls there do declare: — ' May the 4th, anno 1529, Mr. 
William Fourd of this city. Merchant of the Staple, founded this almes-house for 
five men and one woman, and gave to each of them 5d. a week for their main- 
tenance ; afterwards Mr. William Pisford, his executor, gave other lands, and 


p 6re5 Kriar/ or BcrliJB^ Jio^^jital . Colimtia. 
Platijf of Grouttb atib Kir^t Kloor;jf, 

^j-otfi VoIlMmf 'Bucieiit 
Domestic fli-'chitectoi'e. 



Old English Houses of Alms 

appointed six men and their wives to be placed therein, and each couple to have 
7|d. a week, and the nurse the same. And in the room of the sixth poor man 
and his wife, there shall be one honest good woman of the said city taken into the 
said Bede-house, which shall be about the age of forty, or betwixt forty and fifty, 
to be keeper of the said five poor men and their wives, as need shall require, 
to see them clean kept in their persons and houses, and for dressing their meat, 
washing of them, and ministering all things necessary to them.' The same Wil- 
liam Wigston, also ordaining that when any of the women deceased before their 
husbands, the man was still to have the whole wages of yjd., but if the husband 
died before the wife, she was to have but half the said stipend. 

" In the seventh year of King James the First, the lands given to this hospital] 
were questioned as concealed from the crown (because by the will of the donor, 
there was appointed a yearly pension of £6i, to maintain a priest to say mass two 
days in the week, and to pray for the souls of William Fourd, and Henry and 
WiUiam Pisford, and the souls of their wives), and were again purchased by the 
city, who have ever since maintained the charitable uses, with a great addition out 
of the chamber of the city. 

"In the year 1621, the city added another man and woman at their own charge, 
so that there is now six couples besides the nurse, each couple being allowed 2s. 
weekly, and the nurse i s. a week, although there be not any advance of rent in 
the city. Mr. Simon Norton, alderman of this city, gave towards the mainten- 
ance of one man and woman in this hospitall, for which the city doth allow 
2s. a week also as the rest have, so that there is now seven couples and a nurse in 
this hospitall." 

The plan of this building consists of an open central court in the form of a parallelo- 
gram (see plate) on either side of which are the abodes of the inmates, and an entrance 
passage, to the left of which on the ground and upper floors, are the apartments of the 
matron. Another passage leads to the gardens which are common to the little community. 

The great value of this building to the architect lies in the fact that the whole edifice is 
practically co-eval in date, with the exception of the eastern end, which shows signs of a 

81 L 

Old English Houses of Alms 

slight extension. Each dwelling has a separate stairway leading to the upper rooms. 
The room over the entrance doorway is thought to have been the chapel, so integral a 
feature of these old foundations, and some traces of old glass, together with some 
fragments of a panelled ceiling give support to this conjecture. The corresponding room 
at the eastern end of the court was originally the common hall of the institution, and the 
names and benefactions of various donors still remain inscribed on the walls. Both of 
these rooms are now used as living rooms for the inmates. 

Externally the little buildihg is just as fascinating, the west front being probably the 
most beautiful example of the English timbered house of the XVIth century we possess. 
The principal features are the three ranges of upper windows, which project boldly from 
the face of the wall, the gables having richly carved barge boards. Along the front a 
range of oak uprights form the constructional framing of the walls, the inter-spaces being 
filled in with lath and plaster. Each upright is ornamented by a small pinnacled buttress. 
Beneath the upper storey a projecting and coved string course extends the whole length 
of the building; and on the ground floor is a series of nine single-light windows in three 
bays, on each side of the principal doorway, which is placed in the centre of the edifice. 

Among the other duties required of the warden or keeper of this institution was that 
of seeing the inmates " clean kept in their persons and houses, and for dressing their meats, 
washing of them, administering all things necessary to them." 



Christ's Hospital, Abingdon 


Christ's Hospital at Abingdon, in Berkshire, is one of those charitable institutions 
founded by the boy King Edward VI. It is really one of three old almshouses that sur- 
round the churchyard of St. Helen's Church. This institution was remodelled from the 
Guild of the Holy Rood, which had for many years been in a very flourishing condition. 
The inhabitants of the town did not suffer so much from the dissolution of the Abbey of 
Abingdon as might have been expected, for the monks had for some time fallen into 
dissolute habits, while all the good works formerly done by them were carried on by the 
Guild. Miss Clay tells us, in English Medieval Hospitals, that of almshouses associated 
with guilds at Colchester, Stratford-on-Avon, and Abingdon, none survived save the last 
named, which was incorporated by Edward VI. This particular guild was that of St. 
Cross, and other guilds of this name were associated with charities at Colchester, Stratford- 
on-Avon, and Hedon. 

The most distinctive architectural features of Christ's Hospital are the long range of 
wooden tloisters, and the tall lantern with a gilded vane rising from the centre of the 
roof. Within the cloisters are old oaken benches. In the panelled hall beneath the 
lantern hang portraits of Edward VI. and Sir John Mason, his co-founder in this 
charity. Among the treasures preserved in the Hospital is a curious old volume written 
by Master Francis Little in 1627. It bears the title A Monument of Christian Munifi- 
cence, "wherein the Honourable memorie of the chiefe benefactours both of the ould 
Fraternitie of the Holy Crosse and the new foundacion of the Hospital of Christ in 
Abingdon, in the Countie of Berks is registered, and immortalized to God's glorie and to 
their everlasting praise and for the inviting of posteritie to ye imitation of their 
charitable bountie." 

The book is an account of the life of Sir John Mason. One of the early governors 
of the Hospital was William Lee, whose portrait and genealogical tree hangs in the St. 
Catherine aisle of the parish church. 


8 s 

Waldron's Almshouses, Tiverton 


This picturesque set of almshouses in Wellbrook Street, Tiverton, was erected by 
John Waldron, a wealthy merchant of Tiverton, who died shortly after the building was 
commenced. The Charity was for the support of eight aged poor men, who received, 
as do their successors to-day, two shillings each per week, eight shillings yearly as milk 
money, and twelve and sixpence as a New Year's gift. 

The building has a little open gallery or arcade, along the front. The attached chapel 
has an entrance porch which exhibits so many points of similarity, both as regards general 
construction and architectural detail with the Greenway example, founded some fifty-two 
years earlier, that one is led to conclude that if they were not the work of the same hands, 
the design of the earlier foundation had a considerable influence on the artificers of the 
later one. The spandrils of the arched doorway contain shields on which is the monogram 
and merchant's mark of John Waldron, as do the series of shields placed along the top. 
The whole of the edifice, in fact, is covered with these personal devices of the founder 
ad nauseam. The highly-wrought panel above the massive dripstone contains the arms 
of England and France quarterly, within the Garter. 

John Waldron did not live to see the building completed, as is recorded by the follow- 
ing inscription on the walls : — 

" John Waldron and Richoard his wyfe 
Builded this house in tyme of their lyfe. 
At such tyme as the walls were fourteyne foot hye, 
He departed this worlde, even the eightynth of July (1579)." 

Below the main cornice is this inscription : — 

" Since youth and lyfe doth pass awaye. 
And death at hand to end our dayes. 
Let us do so that men may saye. 
We spent our goods God for to prays.' 

On other portions of the wall we read : — 

" He that upon the poor doth spend. 
The goods that he hath here. 
So God again the same doth send. 
And pay the same with great increase. 
Depart thy goods whilst thou hast tyme. 
For after death they are not thyne. 
Remember the Poor." 

The tomb of John Waldron, ornamented with bold Renaissance sculpture lies in the 
chancel of Tiverton Church, but the inscription given as follows by Westcote, is almost 
obliterated: — 

" Here lieth John Waldron, Merchant of Tiverton, 
Founder of the Almshouses by West Exe." 

Tiverton has yet a third set of old charities in the little humble dwellings erected in 
1 613 for poor women, out of a benefaction left by George Slee, a merchant and native of 
the town. 


The Porch , Waldrons hlmshovse Tivertqw 


The Poor Traveller's Rest, Rochester 


On the north side of the narrow High Street of Rochester stands the house 
immortalised by Charles Dickens in one of the Christmas numbers of Household Words. 
The front of the building has been somewhat restored, but the gallery, occupying one side 
of an open space at the rear, erected for the comfort of the poor wayfarers, is part of the 
original foundation. 

As is recorded by the inscription on one of the numerous tablets on the building, one 
of the worthy Mayors of Rochester endeavoured to perpetuate the memory of the founder : 

Richard Watts, Esqr., 

by his will dated 22 aug., 1579, 

founded this charity 

for six poor travellers 

who not being rogues or proctors 

may receive gratis, for one night, 

lodging, entertainment, 

and four pence each. 


in honour of his memory, 

and inducement to his example, 

Nathl. Hood, Esq., the present mayor, 

has caused this stone, 

gratefully to be renewed 

and inscribed 

A.D. 1771. 

In his story of the " Seven Poor Travellers " Charles Dickens says : " I found it to 
be a clean white house, of a staid and venerable air, with a quaint old door already three 
times mentioned (an arched door), a choice little long low lattice window, and a roof of 
three gables." 

The seventh poor traveller was then taken over the house by the good woman who 
waited on the wayfarers. " Howbeit, I kept my thoughts to myself, and accompanied 
the presence to the little galleries at the back. I found them on a tiny scale, like the 
galleries in old inn-yards ; and they were very clean. While I was looking at them the 
matron gave me to understand that the prescribed number of Poor Travellers were forth- 
coming every night from year's end to year's end; and that the beds were always occupied. 
My question upon this and her replies, brought us back to the Board Room so essential 
to the dignity of ' the gentlemen,' where she showed me the printed accounts of the 
charity hanging up by the window. From them I gathered that the greater part of the 


Old English Houses of Alms 

property bequeathed by the Worshipful Master Richard Watts for the maintenance of 
this foundation was, at the time of his death, mere marsh-land; but that, in course of 
time, it had been reclaimed and built upon, and was very considerably increased in value. 
I found, too, that about a thirteenth part of the annual revenue was now expended on 
the purposes commemorated in the inscription over the door; the rest being handsomely 
laid out in Chancery, law expenses, collectors' tips, receiverships, poundage, and other 
appendages of management, highly complimentary to the importance of the Six Poor 
Travellers. In short, I made the not entirely new discovery that it may be said of an 
establishment like this, in dear old England, as of the fat oyster in the American story, 
that it takes a good many men to swallow it whole. 

It was in the cosy kitchen, it will be remembered, that this seventh Poor Traveller 
entertained his fellow wanderers on a certain Christmas Eve to a supper of turkey, beef, 
and hot wassail; from which goodly cheer, as it was being carried from the neighbouring 
inn, there arose in the quaint old streets of Rochester, a fragrance so savoury as to cause 
the public to stop, and snifF in wonder. 

Among the things to be seen in this interesting old house is an autograph of Charles 
Dickens with that of his companion, Mark Lemon. 

Jesus Hospital, Rothwell 


Jesus Hospital at Rothwell, near Kettering, Northants, was founded in 1591, by 
Owen Ragdale, a schoolmaster. The buildings enclose a small quadrangular court, entered 
by a delightful and massively-built gateway. 

Above the arch is a kind of recessed panel on which appears, in sweetly-cut lettering, 
the simple inscription, " Jefus Hofpitall." 

Between twenty and thirty men receive, in addition to free lodging and clothing, ten 
shillings a week each from the provided funds. Each inmate has a small garden, the 
adjoining orchard being the common property of the community. 

All that the pious schoolmaster asked in return for these very substantial benefits, was 
that those who enjoyed them would " have a special care and regard that his tomb in 
Rothwell Church, and the epitaphs, superscriptions, walls, pavements, and other things 
therewith annexed, should be kept whole, safe, bright, and clean." 

At Kettering, a few miles away, are some almshouses in the form of a group of one- 
storeyed cottages, founded in 1688, by Edward Sawyer, whose coat of arms appears over 
the doorway of the central cottage. 


Sidn&y Heath 

Jesus Hospital 



The Whitgift Hospital, Croydon 


The foundation stone of Holy Trinity, or, as it is more commonly called, the Whitgift 
Hospital, at Croydon, was laid in 1596, twenty-three years before George Abbot's stately 
foundation at Guildford was commenced. 

The Croydon charity, dedicated by the founder to " the poor brethren and poor 
sisters " of Croydon, was completed during the archbishop's lifetime, he being unwilling, 
as he informed Stow, to be " a cause of their damnation," to his executors. The building, 
quadrangular in plan, is built of red brick. The external gable of the west front exhibits 
the initials I.W., the arms of the founder and of the See of Canterbury, and an archbishop's 
mitre, placed within a small recessed panel between two small windows. Cut on the 
entrance doorway is the appropriate motto, " Qui dat pauperi non indigehit " (He who 
giveth to the poor shall not want). Strype, in his Annals, calls it " this memorable and 
charitable structure of brick and stone, one of the most notable monuments founded in 
these times, for a harbour and subsistence for the poor." 

Like its younger sister at Guildford, this hospital has retained practically the whole of 
its original doors, benches, tables, and other furniture. There is also some very fine 
panelling, and an excellent Jacobean mantelpiece. 

The chapel, situated in the south-east corner of the quadrangle, is a small plain 
building, the east window of which displays the arms of Whitgift and of Canterbury. 
At the west end is a portrait of the founder, and one of an unknown lady which 
certain guide book writers will insist on describing as the archbishop's daughter, 
notwithstanding that Whitgift was a life-long bachelor. The old dining hall has its 
original panelling, furniture, and fitments, some fragments of old glass, and a number 
of documents relating to the foundation. Most of the old muUioned windows of the 
courtyard, and all but one of the chimneys, have been so tampered with at various times 
that little of the Elizabethan brick and stone work of these particular portions remain. 

Whitgift was one of the most learned of the reformed archbishops. He had been 
master first of Pembroke and then of Trinity College, Cambridge. His reputation as 
a preacher caused him to be commanded to preach at Court, when Elizabeth is said to 
have expressed her satisfaction with the remark that this was a " White Gift " indeed- and 
somewhat later in his career her majesty was pleased to call him, with the facetiousness 


^ ! 

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Old English Houses of Alms 

allowed to royal and elderly maidenhood, her " black husband." The tomb of Whitgift 
is in the parish church of Croydon. The original, with the exception of a few frag- 
ments, had been destroyed by fire, and the present monument, restored by Mr. Oldrid 
Scott, was unveiled by Archbishop Benson in 1888. Whitgift, however, needs no other 
monument than his Hospital of the Holy Trinity, and it is satisfactory to record that, 
at the moment of pennmg these lines, the authorities of Croydon have decided, although 
by a narrow majority of four, not to proceed with the demolition of this excellent 
Elizabethan building. In a year that has witnessed the removal of Crosby Hall and 
the destruction of the famous Colonnade at Bath, it is gratifying to note that for 
many years at least, for as long as its bricks hold together let us hope, the one building 
left to redeem the dull monotony of modern Croydon, will be spared the fate that, in this 
essentially commercial age, has overtaken a host of buildings, historically of more 
importance, but none of them more worthy to rank among the great charitable institutions, 
and the architectural achievements of the spacious times of Queen Elizabeth, as this 
hospice founded by the great archbishop for the poor brothers and sisters of his native 




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Jesus Hospital, Bray 


Jesus Hospital at Bray, near Maidenhead, was founded in 1609, by William 
Goddard, who died about the end of the same year. The testator stipulated that the 
outer walls of the building should be of brick, and that there should be rooms « fit 
and convenient " for forty people to dwell in ; together with a chapel for Divine 
worship. There was also to be a bakehouse and a kitchen, common to the whole 
community. The charity is controlled by the Company of Fishmongers, pursuant to 
the will of the founder, who directed that the wardens should nominate and choose 
forty poor men and women, whereof six should be chosen from the most aged freemen 
and freewomen of the said Company, and thirty-four from among the poorest parishioners 
of Bray, having resided there for a period of twenty years and being not less than fifty 
years of age. In addition to small weekly money payments, coal and wood, clothing 
in the form of a coat for men and a " camlet gown " for the women, is given 
every second year. The plan of the building is of the usual quadrangle type, enclosing 
a courtyard laid out with walks and cultivated plots. A large effigy of the founder, in 
doublet, hose, and rufF, appears over the main entrance to the almshouses. 

The view of these buildings from the quadrangle is said to have formed the basis 
for the background of the late Fred Walker's fine picture, " The Harbour of Refuge," 
now in the Tate Gallery. 



St. Peter's Hospital, Bristol 


This is one of the most interesting specimens of ancient domestic architecture 
remaining in Bristol. The original mansion is thought to have been erected about the 
close of the i2th century by John Norton, when the building covered all the ground 
from S. Peter's chvirchyard to the river. It remained in the possession of the Nortons 
for several centuries, and in 1435 ^^ ^^^ bequeathed by Thomas Norton to his two 
sons, Thomas and Walker, by whom it was divided into two tenements. Walter is said 
to have resided in the western portion of the building, and Thomas in the eastern 
portion'. The latter is believed to be the same Thomas Norton who had the reputation 
of being one of the most famous alchemists of his day, but who nevertheless died in 
poverty. The Nortons continued to reside here until 1580, when Sir George Norton, 
who had become possessed of the whole property, sold it to Henry Newton, afterwards 
Sir Henry Newton, of Barr's Court, but neither the purchaser nor any of his family 
appear to have resided here. The next known owner is stated to have been (1602) 
Robert Chambers, by whom it was sold to Robert Aldworth, a wealthy merchant, in 
1607. This gentleman's monogram may still be seen, together with the date 161 2, on 
the front of the house facing the river. Aldworth made considerable alterations in the 
premises, and appears to have largely re-built the house in the style (Jacobean) of the 
period, for a contemporary deed states that it was " by the said Robert Aldworth erected 
and new built." 

The street frontage with gables enriched with arabesque ornament belongs to this date 
(16 1 2), while the court room is an addition of the same period. In S. Peter's Church 
adjoining there is a very fine tomb to the memory of Robert Aldworth, who died in 
1634. Although the principal part of the house was re-constructed by Aldworth, a 
portion of the churchyard frontage (see plate) towards the east is part of the original home 
of the Nortons. After Aldworth's death it was in the occupation of various families, 
and then became appropriated for trade purposes, being first used in such capacity as a 
sugar house, when it was thus referred to by Evelyn, " Here I first saw the method of 
refining sugar and casting it into loaves." In 1696, when the coinage at the Tower 
was supplemented by the establishment of branch mints in several provincial towns, the 
civic authorities pressed the claims of Bristol for the honour, but being informed that 



Old English Houses of Alms 

provision of a suitable house was essential, it is recorded that the Corporation appointed 
a Committee " to make a bargain with Sir Thomas Day for the Sugar House, and the 
house will find the way to pay the rent." The bargain having been made, the building 
was used as a mint from 1696 to 1698, when the coining of money out of London was 
prohibited as being an infringement of the king's prerogative. 

At the last named date the building passed to the present owners, then known as 
the Corporation of the Poor, and the first Board of Guardians formed in England, 
being established under a special Act of Parliament passed in 1696. They paid Edward 
Colston and other interested persons ;^8oo, and converted the building into a kind of 
house for the poor, when the beautiful Jacobean sitting-room fitted up by Aldworth, 
was utilised by the guardians as their board or meeting room, since which time it has 
been used continuously for this purpose. It is a beautiful apartment. The plaster ceiling 
is constructed in square and diamond shaped compartments, filled in with floral and other 
devices, while the deep cornice has a running series of armorial shields supported by 
griffins. For centuries this was all covered with whitewash, but some twenty years ago 
the encrustation was removed, and the ceiling emblazoned with heraldic and other colours, 
in supposed accordance with the original decoration. 

The apartment is roofed above the ceiling with a very fine 1 5th century open timber 
roof, which may have been the canopy of the great hall of the earlier mansion before 
its reconstruction in 1612, when it was doubtless shorn of a portion of its length. 
The guardians now occupy the entire premises for administrative purposes only, and 
the old board room proving too small for their greatly increased work, a new one has 
been erected in the S.W. portion of this interesting old house. 

The elaborate chimney-piece, of which an illustration is given, shows a curious 

blending of late Gothic with Jacobean ornament. The upper portion no doubt was 

added on to the old Gothic base at the time Aldworth renovated the room. The large 
brass fire dogs and the grate are worthy of attention. 


Chrm«ey*piece in SfPeter''s Nospjtal Bristol 

Coningsby s Hospital, Hereford 


Hereford, like so many of our old cathedral cities, has a large number of old 
hospitals and almshouses, but unlike the majority of these centres of ecclesiastical 
jurisdiction, the city of Hereford has retained in an unusual degree the original inten- 
tions of the founders and the buildings as originally erected by her pious citizens in the 
past. Prominent among these is the hospital erected in 1 6 14 by Sir Thomas Coningsby 
on the site of a foundation of the Knights Hospitallers, for the reception of eleven 
poor old soldiers or mariners, " of three years' service at least in the wars, or at sea, 
or serving men of seven years' service." The buildings, in the form of a quadrangle, 
comprise twelve apartments, a chapel, refectory and offices. The chapel was restored 
in 1886, when the old woodwork was cleared away, with the exception of a canopied 
oak pew, used by the Commander of the Hospital. A stained glass window displays the 
arms of the founder, while on the walls are various heraldic charges, carved in stone 
and coloured, of the Coningsbys. At the west end of the chapel a small arcaded lattice, 
with a sliding panel, communicates with the infirmary. Over the door by which the 
building is entered are two Ionic pillars framing a tablet whereon is a piece of sculpture 
showing the founder's arms, crest, and mantling. The original great gateway has been 
built up, and now forms part of a house. 

Sir Thomas Coningsby founded this hospital in testimony of his gratitude to 
Providence for preserving him in his travels by land and sea, as well as against malice 
at home. It was to provide for a chaplain and eleven old soldiers or mariners; at the 
head of whom should be an old soldier of the name of Coningsby, who was to be 
called the Corporal -of Coningsby's Company of Old Servitors, and styled in all their 
speeches and writings Commander of the Hospital. Touching the apparel of the old 
servitors, he ordered that each should have, when admitted, " a fustian suit of ginger 
colour, of a soldier-like fashion, seemly laced, a soldier-like jerkin with half sleeves, 
and a square shirt, down half the thigh, with a moncado, or Spanish cap, a soldier-like 
sword, with a belt to wear as he goeth abroad, a cloake of red cloth lined with red 
baize, to be worn in the hospital and city of Hereford " ; the cloak to be worn in more 
distant walks and journeys. Whenever the Company went to the Cathedral or other 
public place, the chaplain and corporal were to march at their head, the servitors following 
two abreast. 

The inmates of the hospital may still be seen marching through the quaint old 
streets of Hereford, the Commander leading the way, the Servitors following two 
abreast, and giving, with their red cloaks and Spanish caps, a touch of colour amid the 
sombre shadows of the Cathedral city. 

Coning-sbfs Wojpitaf, WereFord. 

aiidney Heaffi 


Bubwith's Almshouse, Wells 


The cathedral city of Wells possesses some six or seven sets of charities, many of 
which were founded by various bishops of the diocese. One of the most important 
of these is the little building near St. Cuthbert's Gate, known as Bishop Bubwith's 
Almshouse, built by his executors in 1436, some twelve years after the prelate's death 
in 1424. The charity was for the relief of men so poor that they were forced to beg 
for a living, and so decrepit that they were physically incapable of asking alms from 
door to door. Provision was also made for reduced burgesses of the city, who were 
given increased comforts, such as the softest beds, etc. Bubwith, who was Treasurer 
of England under Henry IV., did not live, as we have seen, to witness the completion 
of his almshouse. To this bishop is due the north-west tower of Wells Cathedral, with 
its beautiful screens. His chantry is in the Cathedral. The original plan was of the 
u^ual mediaeval type, a large hall open to the roof, with cubicles on each side for the 
inmates, and a chapel". Bubwith's original building was much tampered with in 1850, 
but the ancient plan may still be traced. A fine old doorway has survived, but the 
canopied and crocketed niche above it has been cut off flush with the walls. The most 
interesting architectural portion of the existing edifice is an addition made from a 
bequest by Bishop Still obiit 1607. It consists of a remarkable cinque-cento sedilia on 
the south side of the almshouse (see plate). Curiously enough. Still, like his brother 
founder, did not live to see his bequest take architectural form, as the addition for 
which he made the bequest was not finished until 161 5, eight years after the donor's 

1 "The Hospitale and the Chapelle is builded al in lenghth under one Roofe." (Leland.) 


Bvbwirhj mmshov^e^ 


Napper's Mite, Dorchester 


This is a charming little building situated in South Street, Dorchester, the ancient 
Durnovaria of Dorset. It was erected and endowed in 1615 by Sir Robert Napper or 
Napier, of Middlemarsh Hall. Externally the building shows a slender turret containing 
one bell, and a picturesque arcade or open gallery along the entire fronL The original 
foundation comprised ten apartments, and a chapel, in which the senior brother was 
appointed to read the prayers and conduct Divine Service every morning and evening. 
The ten apartments remain, but the chapel is now used as a storeroom, on the wall of 
which is a slab bearing the Napper arms and the inscription : — 






This slab once occupied a prominent position on the exterior wall, and the last 
word, signifying in Greek, " a hospital for strangers," also contains the date of the 
foundation, mdcxv. 

Within the little cloistered gallery is a stairway leading to a large room on the 
-second floor, possibly the old common room of the brethren. The stone bracket 
supporting the clock has been copied from a similar design at the old George Inn at 
Glastonbury. This little compact building is occupied by ten old men of sixty years 
of age or upwards, who each receive, in addition to free quarters, six shillings a week. 
The institution is controlled entirely by Lord Alington, a direct descendant of its pious 
founder. / 


Sidney hwth 

Nappei-5 Mite, Doi-chester. 


Sackville College, East Grinstead 


This interesting Sussex almshouse was founded by the second Earl of Dorset, who 
by his will dated 1609, 1^^' money for the purpose. The buildings, restored by 
Butterfield, are quadrangixlar, and have retained their Jacobean characteristics. The 
ivy-covered walls of the quadrangle exhibit several large muUioned windows and four 
old doorways. The north doorway gives access to the porch, and is surmounted by a 
sculptured panel displaying the arms of the Dorset family. High above the porch rises 
a small lantern. The principal rooms consist of a haU and chapel. The former is now 
used by the warden, but it was originally set aside for the lodging of members of the 
founder's family. Above the fireplace are the Dorset arms, and the date 1619, which 
we may reasonably suppose to indicate the date of the completion of the building. 
This apartment is worth seeing for its old oak fittings and furniture. The chapel is 
not quite so interesting, but has retained portions of the old woodwork and an aumbry 
fitted with an old oak door. The kitchen contains a good collection of ancient fire-dogs, 
said to have come from Buckhiirst, a neighbouring mansion. 


Sidney Heath 

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Abbott's Hospital, Guildford 


The foundation stone of George Abbott's Hospital, the gift of the founder to his 
native. place of Guildford, was laid by Sir Nicholas Kempe on April 6th, 1619, some 
eight years after the donor's promotion from the Bishopric of London to the Arch- 
bishopric of Canterbury. The central gateway, flanked by semi-octagonal turrets and 
adorned with the Virgilian inscription, " Deus Nobis H^c Otia Fecit," is lighted 
by two tiers of windows whereof the upper one is divided by stone muUions into four 
lights, and the lower one, by the addition of a transom, into ten. Above these is a large 
sun-dial, and below them the founder's heraldic insignia tastefully carved on a large stone 
panel inserted in the brickwork. The turrets are surmounted by cupolas, on each of 
which veers a banner vane. 

Beyond the gateway is the quadrangle, about 70 feet square, prettily laid out with 
walks and flower beds. On the left are the rooms of the brethren, on the right those 
of the sisters, while in the north-east corner is the Master's House. The dining-hall, 
an apartment 30 feet long, is panelled nearly to the full height of the walls, and has a 
fine cornice and a very remarkable mantelpiece with an open fireplace. Like all the 
other apartments, this hall has retained the whole of its original fittings, stools, tables, 
and benches. The attached chapel has also many points of interest, including two 
stained glass windo^vs, the designs of which have been attributed on very slight evidence 
to Albert Durer. Other attractive features are the kitchen, with its buttery-hatch ; 
the "board-room " over the gateway ; the Master's House ; and the old black oak, with 
which the whole of the interior is embellished. Among what may be termed the minor 
architectural features are the elaborate chimney-stacks, of every shape — octagonal, poly- 
gonal, or roughly squared — collected at the top into clusters by bands of heavily- 
moulded brickwork. It was in this building that the unfortunate Duke of Monmouth 
was lodged on his way to London, after Sedgemoor; and here also Archbishop Abbott 
retired for a while after an ill-aimed arrow from his cross-bow had killed one of the 
keepers of Lord Zouch, with whom he was hunting at the time. This unfortunate 
incident caused a great controversy, not only among the English divines, but with the 
learned doctors of the Sorbonne as well, and ended in the grant of a full pardon to 
Abbott from the King, and a dispensation from the bishops, contrary to the opinion of 
Lord Keeper Williams, who held that a sacred office could not be held by " a man of 
blood." Three bishops-elect, one of them Laud, refused to receive consecration from 
Abbott, and their scruples were respected, while it was gloomily remembered afterwards 
that the crown had been placed on the head of Charles L by a homicide. 

5idney Healh 

hhbolVs Hospital, GuildforJ. 

The Penrose Almshouses, Barnstaple 


Few of our old towns can show so many old almshouses existing under ancient 
foundations as Barnstaple. The greater number have been rebuilt or restored many times 
since they were first erected ; but those founded in 1627 by John Penrose, Mayor of Barn- 
staple, have escaped any serious alteration. These are situated in Litchdon Street, near the 
Square, and are quadrangular in plan, with a sort of wooden roofed cloister, the roof 
supported on stumpy granite columns, attached to one of which is a very ancient alms- 
box that has received the charitable contributions of generations of Barnstaple's citizens. 
The entrance is placed in the centre of the front elevation, the covered way being terminated 
on one side by the Council Chamber, and on the other by the chapel. In the latter there 
is a fine portrait of John Penrose, the founder of the charity, by Jansen. The buildings 
consist of twenty dwellings, with accomodation for two inmates in each. 



The Penrofe Hlmfhoufep^ 3^rnfhple. 


The Aubrey Hospital, Hereford 


This little half-timbered building at Hereford was founded in 1630 for six poor 
women — widows or spinsters — of not less than sixty years of age. In addition to free 
quarters, each inmate receives a sum of money, paid quarterly. The front of the 
building comprises three gables, and is of the usual half-timbered type, exhibiting 
massive oak framework filled in with brick and plaster. The mouldings are very good, 
and the building has not suffered from any extensive restoration. 

Almshouses at Lyford, Berks 


A very interesting group of almshouses of a humble and unpretentious type are 
those at Lyford, about six miles from Abingdon, in Berkshire. The buildings are of 
brick, and are quadrangular in form, the chapel being on the west side. The charity 
was originally founded in 161 1 by Oliver Ashcombe, a native of Lyford, for the poor 
of East and West Hanney and Lyford. The revenue is now ;^3oo per annum. Each 
of the twenty inmates receives four shillings a week. The illustration of this set of 
almshouses is given as a heading to the Introduction, page 15. 



Almshouses at Beaminster 


Beaminster, the " Emminster " of Thomas Hardy's novels, is the most delightful 
town in West Dorset, charmingly situated in a valley upon which fall the shadows of 
the twin hills of Lewesdon and Pillsdon Pen. The town lies equidistant (six miles) 
from Crewkerne in the north and Bridport in the south, and has no railway ; communi- 
cation from the outer world being by coach, a blessing for which lovers of an unspoiled 
old town are very grateful. The chief glory of the place is its Perpendicular church, 
with a tower as fine in conception and as rich in well-wrought figures and mouldings as 
any to be found in the neighbouring county of Somerset. As a general rule, the 
churches of Dorset are vastly inferior in workmanship to those of the sister shire, but 
Beaminster is a charming and quite noteworthy exception. The beautiful manor-houses 
of Parnham and Mapperton are in the immediate environs of the town, while a short 
distance away is Racedown Lodge, the residence, for a time, of the poet Wordsworth. 

As one would expect, this little town has retained a good number of its smaller 
domestic buildings, among them a set of almshouses, the front of which is almost 
hidden from view by the high ground of the churchyard. This building was erected 
and endowed in 1630 by Sir John Strode, of Parnham, on the site of an ancient chantry 
house, and this no doubt explains its somewhat peculiar position. The founder directed 
that six poor persons of Beaminster, or elsewhere, should inhabit it. On one of the stones 
is this inscription: — 

God's House 
Sit honos Trino Deo 
Anno Dom 




Gray's Almshouses, Taunton 


This group of almshouses, situated in East Street, Taunton, was founded by 
Robert Gray, in 1635. The exterior is a simple but dignified piece of XVIIth Century 
building. On one of the heraldic panels inserted above the doorways are displayed the 
arms of the founder, together with those of the Merchant Taylors' Company. The roof 
of the chapel is surmounted by a small bell turret. The interior also has a few points 
of interest. The chapel, where the men and women sit apart, has retained much of its 
ancient decoration and fittings. Here also is an old oak chest within which the ancient 
documents relating to the foundation are preserved. Among these is said to be an 
Inspeximus of a grant dated 6 Edward IV. 

Adjoining the almshouses are two gabled houses, dated 1638, which belong to the 
charity. The coloured effigy of Robert Gray, clad in the costume of his period, is in the 
north aisle of the Church of St. Mary Magdalene, whose beautiful Perpendicular tower is 
noteworthy, even among such a wealth of towers of this particular era as Somerset can 

The epitaph attached to Gray's monument ends with the following lines : — 
" What he gave and how he gave it. 
Ask the poor, and you shall have it." 


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Almshouses at Moretonhampstead 


Moretonhampstead, situated on the edge of the true Dartmoor Country, possesses a 
very picturesque little group of Jacobean almshouses. Along the front runs a little open 
gallery or cloister, the principal entrance being placed in the centre. Above this covered 
way is a dripstone, with somewhat unusual terminals, which is carried nearly the entire 
length of the building. A covering of thatch has taken the place of the original stone 
roof, but with this exception the little structure, is much as it was when first erected. The 
large blocks of stcne with which it is constructed were no doubt obtained from one of the 
numerous quarries of the neighbouring moor. 


'^''"'ll'iS?!^'^!^!^ s*^ 

The Hungerford Almshouses, Corsham 


It is doubtful if one could find throughout the length and breadth of the County of 
Wiltshire a more excellent or picturesque group of buildings than the Hospital or Alms- 
house of Lady Hungerford, at Corsham, seven miles from Chippenham. The great 
attraction of this secluded village is Corsham Court (the seat of Lord Methuen), with its 
remarkable collection of pictures ; but the lover of the picturesque will surely revel in the 
harmonious grouping and ornamental detail of the Hungerford Almshouses, founded 
and endowed in 1672 for a master and six aged poor, by Margaret, the widow of Sir 
Edward Hungerford. The original funds provided ;^2o yearly for the master, and ;^3o 
yearly for the six inmates, but the endowment has been increased by Mrs. Alexander. The 
governor of the almshouse is Earl Radnor. 


Old English Houses of Alms 

The accompanying illustrations will convey some idea of the charm of this many- 
gabled stone building, which, except for the insertion of a few XVIIIth Century windows 
and the addition of one or two chimney-stacks must be exactly as originally built. A free 
school was at one time attached to the foundation, but this portion of the charity has fallen 
into abeyance. 

Above the highly picturesque west and north doorways appear on a hatchment the 
arms of Hungerford, surrounded by sculpture of a Renaissance character depicting among 
other things the " garb " of the Peverels, and the " sickle " of the Hungerfords, both 
family badges. 

The seal of Sir Edward Hungerford's famous ancestor. Sir Walter de Hungerford, 
K.G. (a.d. 1425), displays the happy heraldic alliance of the sickle, his own badge, with 
the garb of Peverel (borne by him in right of his wife, Catherine, daughter and co-heir of 
Thomas Peverel), to form his Crest, i.e., a garb between two sickles, and such appears on 
the Corsham Almshouse. Through an alliance with the Hungerfords, the great Devon- 
shire house of Courtenay bore the sickle as one of their numerous badges. 

Both the north and west fronts exhibit tablets lettered with the following commemor- 
ative inscription : — 

" This Free School and Almshouse was founded and endowed by Margaret Lady 
Hungerford, relict of Sir Edward Hungerford, Kt., of the Honourable Order of 
the Bath, daughter and co-heire of William Halliday, Alderman of London, and 
Susan his wife, daughter of Sir Henry Row, Knight, and Alderman and Lord 
Mayor of London." 


Old English Houses of Alms 

High above the gable of the west porch rises a tall bell turret containing one bell. 
The chapel attached to the foundation has retained its original Jacobean pulpit, stalls, screen 
and gallery. 

The date of the building is usually given as 1672, the year no doubt of its completion 
and opening, for the tablet on the north front bears the date 1668. It is surely worthy 
of note that this XVIIth Century charity, with its air of spacious planning, nobly-propor- 
tioned rooms, cosy tenements and solid walls was not erected as a manorial residence or 
for rent-paying tenants, but merely as a home and shelter for six destitute old women. 

There is little doubt that the four pollarded willows skirting the wall of the west front 
are solitary survivors of a belt of similar trees that formerly sheltered the building on both 
sides. They bear evidences of great age, and may well be as old as the structure they 
still help to protect from the fierce rays of the summer sun, and the devastating storms of 
wind and rain that, gathering force on the western seaboard, periodically sweep over the 
exposed downs of Wiltshire, Somerset and Devon. 

Through failure of issue male, the remnant of the once vast estates of the Hunger- 
fords went, by marriage, to the family of the Earl of Radnor, where it still remains. 

The family burial-place of the Hungerfords was within two beautiful mortuary 
chapels in Salisbury Cathedral, but these were destroyed by that terrible " restorer," Wyatt. 
W. H. Rogers, in his " Sepulchral Effigies of Devon," says, " Walter, Lord Hungerford, 
K.G. (ob 1449) and his first wife, Catherine Peverel, were buried in their chapel in the 
nave (Salisbury), a beautiful structure, chiefly of iron. Their tombs, joined together and 
despoiled of their brass effigies, remain in the nave. The matrices exhibit the proportions 
of a Knight on the one, and of a lady on the other ; both stones were powdered over with 


Old English Houses of Alms 

sickles and a ledger line outside all. The whole has now disappeared, except the stones in 
which the brasses were set." Hutchins, who describes these chapels previous to their 
removal, tells us that round the outside were forty shields of arms exhibiting the various 
alliances of the family. Among these were Hungerford impaling Strange and Mohun, 
Peverel, Courtenay Mules, and many other Western families. The remains of one of 
the chantries destroyed by Wyatt have been removed from their original position in the 
nave and converted into a pew for the Radnor family. Various compartments are filled 
with newly emblazoned shields bearing the arms of the founder and his two wives, while 
the ceiling has a series of heraldic charges showing the descent of the Earl of Radnor from 
the Hungerfords. The upper portion of this restored family pew contains some very 
interesting early iron work, indicating that the original chapel must have been originally 
nearly as good, if not quite so elaborate, as the beautiful iron chantry of Edward IV. in 
St. George's Chapel at Windsor. 



Hall's Almshouses, Bradford-on-Avon 


This building was founded and endowed in 1700 by John Hall for four poor men. 
The founder was the last of an ancient family who had been associated with Bradford-on- 
Avon for centuries. One of this benefactor's ancestors, another John Hall, built the 
interesting but over-elaborate Jacobean mansion of Kingston House near by. The 
almshouses are built of stone throughout, the blocks used in the front elevation being 
exceptionally large, even for such a stone-producing county as Wiltshire. Above the two 
centrally-grouped doorways a beautiful Renaissance panel exhibits on a shield the " three 
battle-axes" of the Hall family, and the motto "Deo et Pauperibus" (for God and the Poor), 
to which has been added "improved, restored and further endowed 1 891-3 by Horatio 
Moulton, of Kingston." One chimney-shaft bears the letter H, surmounted by a coronet, 
for Hall ; the second shaft an M, also with a coronet, for Manvers, the Earl of this name 
being a lineal descendant of the founder and the present administrator of the charity. 
At the end of the nave of the parish Church of Bradford-on-Avon is the Chantry Chapel of 
the Hall family. 

The pleasing appearance of the building to-day is due largely to conditions as enviable 
as they are rare. In the first place the structure is coniplete, nothing having been added 
or taken away, while its situation at the junction of two main roads enables one to walk 
round and view the edifice from al^ points of the compass. Would that all good architec- 
ture could be seen to such advantage. 

Bradford-on-Avon has managed to retain quite a number of its old domestic buildings, 
in addition to its wonderful little bridge chantry, one of three left in England (the others 
being at Rotherham and Wakefield), and its Saxon Church, attributed to St. Aldhelm, 
the first Bishop of Sherborne, in Dorset. 


Sracrf^ofd* on *Avom 

Sidney Heath 



Tomkin's Almshouses, Abingdon 


Among the numerous sets of charities for which Abingdon is noted, are the alms- 
houses situated in Ock-Street. They comprise eight dwellings built in the form of a 
quadrangle, of which one end is open to the street. On a large recessed tablet is the 
following inscription : — 

"These almshouses were built in the year 1733 by the order of Mr. Benjamin Tom- 
kins the elder, of this town, and according to the form prescribed by him to his sons, 
Mr. Benjamin and Mr. Joseph Tomkins ; who were executors to his Will and Testament, 
by which he gave sixteen hundred pounds, to endow the same for four poor men and 
four poor women for ever." 

This foundation has been further endowed by Mr. W. F. Smith, of Abingdon, 



Sherburn Hospital, Durham 

1759 (rebuilt.) 

Sherburn Hospital, or, more correctly, Sherburn House {i.e. House of Mercy), owes 
its origip to the well-known Hugh Pudsey, the " Jolly Bishop of Durham " (i 1 54-1 194), 
and was intended for the reception of sixty-five lepers, some of whom were women. 

The name " Sherburn," or " Sherborne " is common to several places in England, and 
is derived from Scyrburna (limpidus torren's, or clarus fons). 

The building is situated on the Castle Eden Road, two and a half miles east of 
Durham, and is dedicated to " Christ, the Blessed Virgin, Lazarus, Martl^ and Mary." 

One of the most beautiful and interesting possessions of Sherburn House is the old 
hospital seal. It depicts Christ standing, a glory around His head ; one hand holds a 
scroll, with the words " dato et retribuam," while the other supports aloft a crown. Behind 
is seen the gateway, entering which is a bent and diminutive creature. The inscription 
reads Sigilium Hospitalis Christi in Sherburne. Notwithstanding some slight damage, 
this seal is in a good state of preservation and is a singularly beautiful example of the seal- 
cutter's art. 

The original order of Sherburn House provided for five convents of lepers (sixty-five 
persons of both sexes, with a steward at their head), and further provision was made for 
three priests and four clerks, one of whom was required to be a deacon. " The priests 
and clerks slept in a chamber or dormitory adjoining the chapel ; and all, together with the 
steward, dined and supped in the common hall. In winter the priest rose at midnight for 
the night-mass, but in summer the night-niass was so sung as to terminate at twilight." 
A perpetual lamp burned before the High Altar of the Presence, in the Greater Chapel. 

Leper's Chapels were almost invariably detached buildings, totally unconnected with 
the almshouse, and such was the case at Sherburn, which had, however, two smaller 
chapels, one of which communicated with the quarters of the inmates. 


Old English Houses of Alms 

Daily attendance of the lepers at mass was compulsory. All the inmates whose health 
permitted were expected to attend Matins, Nones, Vespers and Compline in their separate 
chapels, but on Sundays and High Festivals, High Mass was celebrated in the Greater 
Chapel, which was dedicated to " God, Mary Magdalene, and St. Nicholas." During 
Lent and Advent the lepers received corporal discipline in the chapel, in the presence of 
their Prior and Prioress respectively — " donee omnes vapulent " (till all are beaten). The 
general discipline was severe, and disobedient members were punished per ferulem modo 
Scholarum (with a ferule like boys at school). 

The food allowance of the lepers is interesting reading, and whatever the faults of the 
mediaeval system of succouring the sick and infirm, " starvation diet " was not one of 
them. " The daily allowance of the lepers was a loaf weighing five marks, and a gallon of 
ale to each ; and betwixt every two, one mess or commons of flesh three days in the week, 
and of fish, cheese or butter on remaining four. On high festivals a double mess, and in 
particular, on the feast of St. Cuthbert ; in Lent, fresh salmon, if it could be had, if not, 
other fresh fish ; and on Michaelmas Day, four messed on a goose. With fresh fish, flesh 
or eggs, a measure of salt was delivered, the 20th part of a razer ; when fresh fish could 
not be had, red herrings were served, three to a single mess, or cheese and butter by 
weight, or three eggs. During Lent, each had a razer of wheat, to make fermenty 
(Simulam), and two razers of beans to boil. Sometimes greens or onions were provided ; 
and every day except Sunday, the seventh part of a razer of bean meal ; but on Sunday 
a measure and half of pulse to make gruel. Red herrings were prohibited from Pente- 
cost to Michaelmas, at which latter season each received two razers of apples." 

Many other interesting records relating to the lepers are in existence, from which we 
learn that in addition to a common kitchen, a cook was provided, also cooking utensils, 
pots, lavers, pans and ale- vats. The sick were allowed fire and candles; the old woman 
who attended the sick had perquisites in the shape of wheaten loaves, while, in the event 
of a brother or sister dying, the grave-digger had the deceased person's meat and drink 


Old English Houses of Alms 

for the day. The yearly allowance for clothing was three yards of woollen cloth, white 
or russet, six yards of linen and six of canvas. " From Michaelmas to All Saints the fuel 
consisted of two baskets of pieat, and four baskets daily from AH Saints to Easter. 
Trusses of straw were served on All Saints' Eve and Easter Eve ; and four bundles of 
rushes on the Eves of Pentecost, St. John Baptist, and St. Mary Magdalene. On the 
anniversary of Martin de Sancta Cruce, a former master, every leper received five shillings 
and fivepence in money." 

When visitors came to Sherburn they were allowed to stay the night at the Hospital. 
From Miss Clay we learn that the ordinances of early lazar houses show that the theory 
of contagion had little place in their economy, notwithstanding that the inmates of such 
hospitals were seldom permitted to frequent the high road except for the purpose of 
collecting alms, etc. 

So the order of the Hospital continued until the commencement of the XVth century 
by which time great abuses had crept in, the revenues being used for private emolument, 
and in 1429 Bishop Langley applied to the Pope for a new constitution, which was issued 
in 1434, one of its terms being " that the Master must be in Holy Orders and to him shall 
pertain the sole management and discipline of the Hospital, subject only to the Bishop." 
This constitution is interesting as showing that by this time leprosy had almost died out 
in England, " forasmuch as now few lepers can be found, 1 3 poor persons of good 
character are to be received and provided with meat and drink, to the value of lod. weekly, 
and 6s. 8d. yearly for clothing and fuel." In remembrance, however, of the ancient 
foundation " two lepers are to be received and provided for apart," Si in partibus reperiri 
poterint, aut sponte illus accesserint (if they are found in the neighbourhood, or voluntarily 
come there). For fifty years the Hospital seems to have been fairly well managed, but in 
1500 the funds were again being diverted from their original purpose, and were main- 
taining priests and chantry, with no provision whatever for the poor. 


Sherhijm Hoipikl 

Old English Houses of Alms 

The condition of the Hospital at this time is summed up in a report by a Mr. Thomas 
Trollop to the Surveyor of the King's Durham Land. " There is neither poor man nor 
poor-woman, neither yet priest nor clerk, nor child, found of the house-charge, saving 
only two Priests, two clerks, and two children, which the Fermor doth keep by reason 
of his lease; and all the residue of the revenues of the house goeth altogether to the private 
use of the Master." 

Enquiries followed this report, and attempts were made to better the impaired revenues, 
but no marked improvement took place until 1580, when the position of the Brethren 
was raised and the finances put on a more solid basis. From this time down to 1735 the 
foundation ran a quiet and uneventful course, but the Civil war played havoc with the 
property of the Hospital. " Valuable documents were destroyed, and stocks of cattle and 
corn consumed by the two armies encamped in the neighbourhood of Sherburn House." 
Sherburn suffered especially after the battle of Neville's Cross. 

At this date another constitution was applied for by Bishop Chandler, by which the 
position of the Brethren was still further defined, and security taken for the better main- 
tenance of the estate. 

So much for the old history of the Hospital. The list of Masters, among them 
some remarkable men, is given in Appendix I. From the foundation of the building 
in 1181 to 1855 there were forty-four masters in succession, the first being Arnold de 
Aclent, who was styled " Rector of the House of Lepers." 

The original building suffered much during the middle of the XIV th century from 
the ravages of the Scots during their Border raids. The old buttressed wall at the entrance 
is in great part original, but has been patched and repaired at different periods. The 
main arch of the entrance gateway is original, as is the vaulting within, and the arched 
ribs. The inner arch, together with the buttresses, date from the end of the XVIIIth 
century. The upper walls are quite thin, being built to hide a modern roof which sloped 


Old English Houses of Alms 

from the north and south walls to a gutter between them. Over the gateway is a muni- 
ment room for the keeping of ancient documents of interest relating to the foundation. 
The Master's lodge was pulled down in 1833, and re-built "with no pretensions to that 
architectural beauty which had formerly distinguished it." 

The Hospital Church contains but little of the original structure. It has been twice 
burnt down, the second time in 1864, when it was re-built approximately in the original 
style. The tower, which dates from early in the Xlllth century, escaped with slight 
damage, but was re-faced and had new mouldings inserted. Three of the windows on 
the south side are original, as also are the beautiful Decorated sedilia. 

A small inlaid brass in one of the Chancel steps commemorates the death of 
Thomas Lever, Master from 156 2- 1577. The Chalice is Elizabethan, and is engraved 
with the following motto : — 

" Deale justli for God doth se 
That Sherborne House owythe me." 

The foundation is now a large, wealthy, and important charity, which, owing to the 
establishment of an outside dispensary, is able to relieve the poor who are physically 
distressed, in a manner somewhat akin to the intentions of the pious founder. 


St. John's Hospital, Heytesbury 

The old, and once market town of Heytesbury, situated on the borders of Salisbury 
Plain, four miles from Warminster, possesses in S. John's Hospital a very interesting 
charity. The original almshouse was founded by Letters Patent II. Edward IV. (1472) 
by Walter, Lord Hungerford, Lord High Treasurer of England, and endowed by 
Margaret, Lady Hungerford and Bottreux, and her son, Walter, with lands at Cheverell, 
Clinton, etc., in the county of Wilts. The original structure remained standing till 
1769, when it was burned down in a great fire that consumed practically the whole of 
the town. The present hospital, quadrangular in plan, is a pure Georgian building 
throughout, with the exception of the cellars, which are all that remain of the original 
edifice. It is probably the largest quadrangular almshouse of Georgian date in the 
country. The building is approached from the road by steps, whence a grass-bordered 
walk leads to the main entrance. The building, although rather too much covered with 
foliage to please the architect, is exceedingly picturesque, whether viewed from the road 
or from the quadrangular court ; the unambitious and restful nature of the architecture 
conveying a subtle air of peace and quietude befitting a harbour of refuge for the aged 

The charity provides for twelve poor men and one woman, who dwell together in 
a kind of collegiate way. At the head of the establishment is a custos who must always be 
in Holy Orders, as the founders originally stipulated. 


J'^ John'/ 




Almshouses at Milton, Dorset 


The old town of Milton (strictly Middletown, as it was the middle town of the county), 
seven miles south-west of Blandford, was one of the most ancient in Dorset. It grew up 
with and around the abbey, and contained among other dwellings, four inns, a grammar 
school, and an almshouse, which last was founded in 1674 by Sir John Tregonwell, 
for the support of six poor widows. This cluster of buildings lay on the south side of 
the abbey ch\irch, but the whole town was pulled down about 1780, by Lord Milton, as 
it was in too close a proximity to the new mansion he was erecting, from designs by Sir 
William Chambers, in which is incorporated the XVth century monastic infirmary. 
Having swept away the old town. Lord Milton built, with the materials of the demolished 
buildings, a new one, which constitutes the present village of Milton. It consists of 
two rows of cottages ; in the centre of one row are the almshouses (the endowment of 
which was preserved intact), in the centre of the other row, the church. 

The almshouses call for no special remarks, save that although the closing years of the 
XVIIIth century were not particularly prolific in producing good architectural composi- 
tions, one is glad to have this interesting Dorset example. 



Hospital of SS. John, Sherborne 


The old almshouses dedicated to St. John the Baptist and St. John the Evangelist at 
Sherborne, Dorset, is a venerable institution that is thought to stand on the site of a 
hospital of the Order of St. Augustine. The present charity was re-founded in 1437 by 
a license from Henry VI. to Robert Neville, Bishop of Sarum, and others, when provision 
was to be made for twenty brethren, to be called the Masters of SS. John's House, and 
a perpetual priest to pray for the good estate and the souls of the founders and inmates. 
The house was also to contain twelve poor men and four poor women, who were to be 
governed by a prior, while the lady who attended to the cooking and washing was to be 
known as the Housewife of SS. John's House. Leland, who visited the Hospital when 
compiling his Itinerary, writes, " the almshouse stondith yet, but men get most of the 
land by pecemeales." 

The older part of the existing building dates from 1448, and includes the chapel, 
ante-chapel, dining-hall, and dormitories. The chapel is divided from the ante-chapel by a 
good Perpendicular arch and an ancient oak screen, above which latter is a gallery for the 
women inmates. The south window has retained fragments of old glass very similar in 
design to the ancient glass in the adjoining abbey. The altar-piece is a very fine triptych 
painting of the Flemish School. From the ante-chapel a doorway leads into the street, 
and until 1866 formed the main entrance to the building. Two bold niches on either 
side of the external wall of this doorway once contained efligies of the patron saints of thev 
foundation. The institution now provides for twenty brethren (from whom are elected 
a master, sub-master, steward and warden), and twenty-seven inmates, eighteen men and 
nine women. Miss Clay writes, " in memory of St. John Baptist it was usual at Sher- 
borne for a garland to be hung up on Midsummer Eve at the door of St. John's, which the 
almsmen watched till morning." 

As the older portion of this building does not group well from any position, the view 
selected for illustration shows the east wing, the grea:ter part of which was erected in 1866 
from designs by Mr. Slater, the architect who had previously, in 1861, restored and reseated 
the chapel. 


Mp^pilnlofSSMn ^.^ 

Sherborne Dorjet % 

Sidney Hea/h 





Arnold de Aclent 


Richard Reed. 

(Master unrecorded). 


Anthony Salvayn. 


Martin de Sancta Cruce. 


Ralph Skymer. 


Roger de Leyton. 


Thomas Lever. 


William de Insula. 


Ralph Lever. 


Lambert de Torkyngham. 


Valentine Dale. 


Thomas de Hessewell. 


Robert Bellamy. 


Thomas de Neville. 


Thomas Murray. 


Alan de ShutTlington. 


William Shawe. 


Thomas de Bernoldby. 


John Machon. 


John de Waltham. 


John Fenwick (usurper). 


John de Burgeys, 


John Fenwick (son). 


Alan de Newark. 


John Machon (restored). 


John Newton. 


John Montague. 


Nicholas Dyxson. 


Thomas Rundle. 


John Marchall. 


Wadham Chandler. 

(Master unknown). 


Robert Stillingfleet. 


Alexander Lyghe. 


David Gregory. 


Robert Dykar. 


Mark Hildesley. 


Roderick Gundesalve. 


Thomas Dampier. 


GeofFry Wren. 


Thomas Dampier (son). 


Edward Fox. 


Andrew Bell. 


Thomas Leghe. 


George Stanley Faber. 


Anthony Bellassis. 


1857 Edward Prest. 
1 86 1 James Carr. 
1874 Henry A. Mitton. 


Old English Houses of Alms 

The above list of Masters contains some very remarkable men, among whom not 
the least was Andrew Bell, some time Rector of Swanage, in Dorset. Before coming 
to Swanage, he was for some years military chaplain at Madras, subsequently becoming 
superintendent of the Military Male Orphan Asylum. Under his supervision, the school 
rapidly increased, and his great difficulty was to find sufficient teachers. This he solved 
by employing some of the scholars themselves, a course which immediately raised much 
enthusiasm among the boys. 

Bell came to England in 1796 on account of his health, and in 1801 became rector 
of Swanage. Here he started the system which he had inaugurated in Madras, first 
introducing " pupil teachers " into the Sunday School. This was so successful that he 
turned his attention to the day schools also, and before long Bell's new system of " pupil 
teachers " became the feature of many schools in different parts of the country. 

While at Swanage Dr. Bell introduced straw-plaiting as an employment for the 
women and children, and at one time, under his guidance, 4,000 to 5,000 hats were 
made yearly. He was an enthusiast on vaccination, and after successfully vaccinating 
two of the children at the Rectory, he and his wife performed the operation on many of his 

He was appointed to the mastership of Sherburn Hospital in 1809, ^ P°s* which he 
held for twenty-three years. On his death he was buried in Westminster Abbey, half- 
way up the nave, and the inscription, which was written at his own request, reads : — 
" The author of the Madras system of education." 


Index of Persons 

Abbot, Geoi'ge, 23, 28, 92, no. 
Acleii,t, Arno|ld die, 136. 
Aldhdm, St., 128. 
Aldworth, Robert, 98, lOO. 
Alexandier, Mrs., 122. 
Alinlgtoln, Lord, 106. 
Ashcombe, Oliver, 114. 


Beauchamjii, Thomas, 60. 

Beaufort, Cardinlal, 26, 28, 48, 50, 18. 

Becket, 32, 35, 46. 

Beere, Abboit, 23, 74. 

Benedict, Sit, 17, 18. 

Beniglnus, St., 74. 

Benson, Archbishop, 94. 

Black Prince, 35. 

Blois, de, 26, 48, 18. 

Bond, Thomas, 23, 72. 

Bomifac©, Archbishopi, 46. 

Bridges, 38, 39. 

Broiwne, Thomas, 70. 

Bub with, 23, 104. 

Burghersh, Henry, de, 68. 

Burghley, Thomas, 68. 

Butterfield, 108. 

Campeideni, John de, 26, 52. 

Cassian, 20. 

Chambers:, Robert, 98. 

Chambers, William, 140. 

Charles I., no. 

Chaucer, Geoffrey, 56. 

Chaucer, Maud, 58. 

Chaucer, Thomas, 58. 

Chetham, Sjr Humphr-ey, 25. 

Chichele, Hieniy, 26, 53, 54. 

Chichester, WiUiam, Dean, of, 42. 

Clay, Miss Rotha May, 19, 21, 32, 34, 53, 70, 

84, 134, 142. 
Clopton, Sir Hugh, 66. 
Cobham, Ladiy Margairet dte, 26. 

Colet, Dean, 35. 
Colston, Edward, 100. 
Coningsby, Sir Thomas, 24, 102. 
Cornwall, Speaker, 52. 
Courtenay, Archbishop, 46. 
Coiurtenay family, 26, 78, 126. 
Crosby, Sir John, 26, 27. 
Cure, Thomas, 27. 


Day, Sir Thomas, 100. 
Derby, Earls of, 25. 
Dickens, Charles, 88, 90. 
Dorset, Earl of, 108. 
Dudley, Robert, 26, 62. 
Dugidale, 64, 80, 81. 
Durer, Albert, no. 

Eadlmer, 32. 
Edward HI., 46. 

IV., 138, 70, 126. 

VI., 21, 26, 27, 28, 84. 
Edyridon, William de, 50. 
Elizabeth, 27, 42, 72, 92, 94. 
Erasmus, 35, 36. 
Evelyn, 98. 


Fitzwilliam, Earl, 54. 
Ford, William, 72, 80. 
Freeman', A. E., 53. 
Fuller, Thoinas, 76. 


Gaunt, John of, 44. 

Gaunt, Maurice d'e, 26. 

Goddard, William, 23, 28, 96. 

Gray, Robert, 118. 

Greenway, John aiid Joan, 23, 26, 86. 

Gresham, Sir Thomas, 27. 

Greville, Fulke, 64. 


INDEX OF PERSONS— continued. 


Hall, John, 26, 128. 
Halliday, Susan, 124. 
Halliday, William, 124. 
Hardy, Thoimas, 116. 
Henry IV., 104. 

„ VI., 19, 39, 56, 58, 142. 

„ VII., 28. 

„ VIII., 38, 44, 57. 
Heriot, 19. 

Hodgson, Sir Arthur, 66. 
Hood, Nathl., 88. 

Hungerford family, 23, 26, 122 — 126, 138. 
Hutcliins, 118. 

Innocent IV., Pope, 44. 
Iscanus, Bartholomew, 21. 


James I., 57, 64, 81. 
Jamies, St., 19, 60. 
Jansen, 112. 
John, King, 48. 

„ King of Franoe, 35. 

„ St., 38. 


Kempe, Sir Nicholas, no. 
King, 52. 

Lambe, Ralph, 28. 
Lancaster, Duke of, 26. 
Lanfranc, 30, 34. 
Langley, Bishop, 134. 
Langtoin, Stephen, 26. 
Laud, 1 10. 
Law, Chancellor, 76. 
Lee, William, 84. 
Lelaiid, 38, 58, 70, 142. 
Lemon, Mark, 90. 
Lever, Thomas, 137. 
Liacoln, Bishop of, 38. 
Lincoln, Earl of, 57. 
Little, Francis, 84. 


Manning, Cardinal, 40. 
Manvers, Earl, 120. 
Mary Magdalene, St., 74. 
Mary, Queen, 27. 
Mason, Sir John, 28, 84. 
Methuen, Lord, 122. 
Milton, Lord, 140. 
Mohun family, 126. 
Monmouth, Duke of, no. 
Morden, Lady, 28. 
Morden, Sir John, 24, 27. 
Moulton, Horatio, 128. 
Mulls family, 126. 


Napier, Sir Robert, 106. 
Napper, see Napier. 
Neville^ Robert, 142. 
Newton, Sir Henry, 98. 
Northampton, Lord, 38. 
Norton] family, 98. 
Norton, Sjmon, 80, 81. 

Orange, Richard, 21. 



Parker, W. H., 74. 
Ptenrose, John, 112. 
Peverels, 124, 125. 
Pitsford, Henry, 81. 
Pitsford, William, 80, 81. 
Pole, Alice de la, 26, 56, 58. 
Pole, William de la, 56—58. 
Poore, Richard, 20. 
Pudsey, Hugh, 132. 


Radnor, Earl, 122, 126. 
Ragdale, Owen, 26, 90. 
Rahere, 26. 
Redvers, de, 78. 
Richard I., 48. 
Roger, Bishop, 76. 
Rogers, W. H., 125. 
Row, Sir Henry, 124. 
Russell, John, 68. 


INDEX TO VERSONS— continued. 

Sancte, Clere, William, 38. 
Sandwich, Hfipry de, 26. 
Sawyer, Edward, 90. 
Scott, Oldrid, 94. 
Sexey, Hugh, 30. 
Slater, Mr., 142. 
Slee, William, 86. 
Smith, W. F,, 130. 
Smyth. William, 23, 76. 
Still, Bishop, 23, 104. 
Stoke, Thomas, 70. 
Stow, 92. 

Strangle family, 126. 
Strode, Sir Johni, 116. 
Sudbury, Archbishop;, 60. 
Sutton, Thomas, 25. 
Synsbterg', Sir John, 56. 

Theoidore of Canterbury, 17. 
Toclyve, Bishop, 48. 
Tompkins, Benjamin, 130. 

Tompkins, Joseph, 130. 
TregonWell, John, 26, 140. 
TroUope, Thomas, 136. 
Turner, 39. 


Waldron, John, 23, 26, 86. 
Walkter, Frdderick, 96. 
Walter, Archdeacon, 38. 
Warwick, Guy, Earl of, 36. 
Watts, Richard, 88, 90. 
Westcote, 86. 
Wheatley, Thomas, 72. 
Wliitgift, John, 23, 93, 94. 
Wigston, William, 8i. 
William I., 34. 
Williams, Lx)ird Keeper, no 
Wordsworth, 116. 
Wyatt, 125, 126. 
Wykeham, William of, 53, 74, 


Zouch, Lord, 1 10. 


THE DIARY OP JOHN BURCHARD OF STRASBURG, Bishop of Orta and Civita Castellana 
Pontifical Master of Ceremonies to their Holinesses Sixtus P.P. iv., Innocent P.P. viii., 
Alexander P.P. vi., Pius P.P. iii., and Julius P.P. ii., A.D, 1843— 1506. Translated 
from the Original Latin, with an Introduction, Notes, and Appendices by Arnold 
Harris Mathew. With over 100 Full-page Illustrations. In Three Volumes. 
Royal 8vo, ;^3 3s. net, (Vol. I. now ready, price 21/- net.) 

In his introduction to this, -the first appearance in English of the most valuable work we 
possess upon the History of the Borgias, the author says : — 

" The notoriety of the Borgias is, to some extent, shared by Bishop John Burchard, one of 
the most trustworthy and the best abused of their chroniclers. Biassed authors have rashly 
and wantonly accused this exact and methodical ceremoniarius of adopting the role of 
Procopius, who, in his Anecdota, exposed the gross villainies of the Court of Justinian. So 
false an estimate of the value of Bishop Burchard's record has necessitated the publication 
of his Diary in its entirety, in order that its value may be more justly appreciated. 

" Burchard was a precise, pedantic, automatic and impassive clerk of the Pontifical Court, 
an irreproachable rubrician and liturgical scholar, who carefully recorded from day to day, 
with no expression of sentiment, everything that came under his observation. 

" In him the characteristics of a Macaulay were absent, and in this respect he differed 
from Infessura, his contemporary and perhaps his friend, with whom he has often been 
confused. Infessura, the enemy of the popes and of the civil authority, pours forth on every 
page the burning indignation experienced by an Italian and a patriot ; and even when, as in 
his bitter criticisms, his violent passion defeats its own purpose, one is ready to excuse him and 
to recognise in him the last survivor of the free republican traditions of Rome. The German, 
Burchard, is on an altogether different type, and is left undisturbed by any such impulses. 
The absence of passion from his work, however, need not be regretted, in that it is, in a sense, 
a guarantee of his absolute impartiality." 

" English reading students of the history of the papacy will accord a hearty welcome to 
this erudite and valuable rendering of a work of the first importance." — Scotsman. 

" Dr. Mathew has done his work of translation well. . . . The book is most hand- 
somely printed and very well illustrated." — Pall Mall Gazette. 

" This record is the most valuable we possess of the history of the Popes from the end of 
the fifteenth century to the beginning of the sixteenth.- ... Dr. Mathew champions the 
diarist, whose work he has so laboriously and ably translated."— G^/o^^. 

THE ROMANCE OF SYMBOLISM, and its relation to Church Ornament and Architecture. 
By Sidney Heath. With numerous Illustrations. Foolscap 4to, cloth, 7s. 6d. net. 

This is an attempt to arrange in a simple form and in a few easily accessible pages the 
principles of Christian symbolism as depicted on the large fabric and the minor details of our 
churches and cathedrals. The author's aim has been to compile and arrange information 
respecting the symbolical origin and development of what is called ecclesiastical ornament, 
and has dealt only with its purely artistic or architectural qualities in so far as is necessary for 
the complete revelation of its religious function. The author remarks in his preface : " If there 
be one topic among the vast multitude of interesting themes, which, rather than any other, 
might be selected as typical of the individual and national mind of the middle ages, it is, I 
think, that of symbolism, represented in the secular life by a love of heraldry, tradesmen's 
signs, rebuses, and monograms, and in religious life by the plain ornaments and details of our 
cathedrals, abbeys and churches. In mediaeval days everything savoured of symbolism." 

" It is to systematically examine and interpret this half-forgotten and still imperfectly 
understood ' romance of symbolism ' that Mr. Heath sets himself, and his book .^ . . should 
prove a help and inspiration to those who are entering upon this fascinating study." — Scotsman. 

" The pages are a mine of curious lore, calculated to appeal not only to the man of 
fervent religion, but to all who have any interest in the growth of religious ideas, and in that 
past when the people learned from symbolical designs what they now learn from books. It is 
enthusiastic, but at the same time judicious." — Dundee Advertiser, 

London: FRANCIS GRIFFITHS, 34, Maiden Lane, Strand, W.C. 

There is no more welcome aid to the enjoyment of a holiday in foreign lands, and no 
better companion, than a well-written and well-illustrated travel book. 
IMPRESSIONS OF PROYENCE. By Percy Allen, Author of "Songs of Old France." 

Fully Illustrated with line and wash drawings by LEOPOLD Lelee and Marjorie 

Nash. Foolscap quarto, 1 2s. 6d. net, by post, 1 3s. 

Mr. Allen brings to his description of the most romantic district in France, a close 
observation, and all the sympathy necessary for the full appreciation of the charms of a land 
of sun and song. He deals fully, not only with the ancient cities and with the Graeco-Roman 
monuments of old Provence, but also with the less frequented, though not less attractive, 
corners of the country, and gives the reader vivid impressions of life in the Camargue — the 
salt-encrusted waste of the Rhone delta — where the black bulls and the white horses roam, 
and where, around the semi-African village of Les Saintes Maries de la Mer, the rosy 
flamingoes stand, like sentinels, beside the ^tang. 

The book treats also of the annual religious fetes in honour of the Saints of Provence — 
Saint Gens, Saint Bdn6zet, Saint Martha, and the Holy Maries — and tells their legendaiy 
life-stories. Indeed, the charming legends of Provence, given fully — some of them for the 
first time, so far as the publisher is aware — are a feature of the work. 

Many incidents and experiences, illustrative of the national life, are included ; all told 
with a keen sense of character. The author describes, also, two visits to provencal poets in 
their own homes, to Frederick Mistral, and to the peasant translator of Homer — Charloun 
Rieu. In the chapter on Avignon — the home of the Felibres — many Troubadour tales are 
told. The provencal sport of bull-baiting — both the local innocuous variety, and the deadly 
Spanish " Corrida," are fully and vividly described. 

Extracts from a few of the many favourable Reviews. 

" Travel books of this nature are justified or otherwise as they give us pleasure or bore u s 
Mr. Allen gives pleasure. . . . He tells us how the country and the people strike a 
sentimental traveller who brings to the adventure a good deal of knowledge of local history 
and a good deal of good temper. . . . The result is a book which charms and entices." 
— The Times. 

" We might call this book ' A Sentimental Journey,' nor would Mr. Allen, we imagine, 
refuse an association with Laurence Sterne, only, it must be understood, there is none of the 
doubtful flavour of which we are sometimes conscious, even when Sterne is at his best. . . . 
Altogether this is a very delightful volume. The illustrations, by Leopold Lelee and Marjorie 
Nash, quite justify their name. . . ." — Spectator. 

SHADOWS OP OLD PARIS. By G. Duval. Fully Illustrated by J. Gavin, in colour' 
wash and line drawings. Foolscap quarto, price 12s. 6d. net. 

The object and scope of this work, which will interest all lovers of Old Paris, is best 
given by a quotation from the Author's Introduction. 

" Among the crowds of idlers and pleasure-seekers, of students even, who make the 
French capital temporarily their home, there are few lovers of tradition curious enough to turn 
from the dazzling modern city of pleasure, and plunge into the dingy Paris of the past, itself a 
town within a town. . . . Along the quais some of the older houses yet remain ; in the 
streets adjoining, slumbering amid gardens, lie the stately homes of the nobility, a few still 
occupied by the great families who have inhabited them for generations. . . . The whole 
story of France is written on the walls of Paris; and to a student of history, what is more 
passionately eloquent, what more enigmatic and mysterious, than those silent stones ? Daily, 
hourly, the destroying pickaxe is busily at work. It must be so. It would be folly to 
sacrifice the lives and health of thousands to the sentiment of the antiquary. Yet it is a world 
of strange interest and beauty that is passing so rapidly. . . . Can we watch it crumbling 
to ashes without a feeling of sorrowful regret ? As it disappears for ever from view, we would 
hold these vanishing shadows in a picture." 

A HISTORY OF RHODESIA. Compiled from Official Sources, By Howard Hensman. 
With a map. Crown 8vo. Price 6s. 

"We would not forgo any portion of Mr. Hensman's work. ... It is very fair, 
surprisingly so, if we tal^e the nearness of the events which he relates, and the style and the 
treatment are intended to be without bias. This is an extremely difficult performance, yet 
Mr. Hensman seems to have achieved it." 

London : FRANCIS GRIFFITHS, 34, Maiden Lane, Strand, W.C. 

ENGLISH CHURCH ARCHITECTURE. From the Earliest Times to the Reformation. By 
G. A. T. MiDDLETON, A.R.I.B.A. Crown 8vo, 2s. 6d. net. 

This book is profusely illustrated by many well-executed Sketches and Measured Draw- 
ings, which heighten its appeal to the Architect. It is especially useful to young students at 
the commencement of their career, but also contains many suggestions which are of interest to 
older men also, as well as to the general public. 

Throughout the whole long period of the Middle Ages, England was the only country in 
Europe which was blessed with a long sustained peace, the only one in which life was safe in 
village communities. Elsewhere the people lived almost wholly in walled towns ; here an 
agricultural population lived in open hamlets, each of which was served for religious purposes 
by its own separate church, which was altered or added to from time to time as circumstances 
dictated. Thus English Church Architecture has at all times been most intimately connected 
with the social life history of the English race, displaying, as a rule, a series of gradual and 
sequential changes, strikingly analogous to those which take place in a man's character as he 
passes steadily onward from childhood to old age — always the same at heart, yet influenced 
occasionally from outside, and always developing. So human is it, that one almost discerns the 
faltering steps of infancy in the early Saxon efforts, gradually taking form until the great 
upheaval of the Norman invasion brought sudden manhood with it. Then, after a short period 
of sturdy independence, during which the roughness of the headstrong youth gave way to 
certain refining influences, came the great architectural marriage, which we call the development 
of the Gothic style, symbolising the commingling of the Norman and the English races ; and 
from this time forward the architectural life flowed smoothly, adding grace to grace, until, 
when symptoms of senility began to show themselves, the end came in the Reformation. 

This, or something like it, is what every English country church has got to tell, but each 
one tells the tale a little differently from all others, with different episodes and happenings at 
different dates. Without pretending to be exhaustive, this little book has been produced with 
the object of showing how some of the more easily read indications of change may be discerned, 
and in the hope that many who venerate the churches of their forefathers may come to do so 
with a fuller understanding of the wealth of history which their old stones can tell. 

" This little book is useful as a first aid to the study of our English mediaeval architecture 
by the amateur, or even the youthful professional student. . . . While he does not 
attempt to teach everything about English Gothic, what he does teach is put clearly and 
simply, so that his reader will know something, and that something worth knowing." — Architect. 

"An excellent little handbook." — Scotsman. 

" A delightful essay upon the growth of ecclesiastical architecture in England." — Catholic 

A New Work on the Cathedrals of England. 

OUR ENGLISH CATHEDRALS. By the Rev. James Sibree. Fully Illustrated by Photo- 
graphs and Block Plans. In Two Volumes. Crown 8vo., 5 s. net each. Ready 

"The Author has, therefore, thought that there was still room for a book on these 
wonderful creations of our ancestors' skill and genius, on somewhat different lines from those 
taken by previous works on the subject." To those who have neither time nor inclination for 
a minutely detailed examination, the author trusts that this book may be of service ; and " he 
is not without hope that it may also prove to be of interest to those who, in our own country, 
or in our Colonies, or in the United States, may wish to have, in a brief and compact form, a 
sketch of English Cathedrals on the whole." 

The book, however, is neither scrappy nor meagre. The buildings are adequately 
described, building dates and historical notes are given. There is a chapter upon the signifi- 
cance and growth of Gothic Architecture, upon references to the Cathedrals in English Literature 
(including many quotations), and also upon the relation of our Cathedrals to the life of to-day. 
The work is complete and thoroughly readable. 

London : FRANCIS GRIFFITHS, 34, Maiden Lane, Strand, W.C. 

THE WESSEX OF ROMANCE. A New and Revised Edition of a Work of Value and 
Interest to all Lovers of Country Life and Literature. By WILKINSON Sherren. 
Containing several new Illustrations. Price 6s. net. By post, 6s. 4d. 

Upon its first publication, " The Wessex of Romance," was at once recognised as a work 
of no ephemeral character. It formed the basis of leading articles in the Standard and The 
Manchester Guardian, and was accorded lengthy and eulogistic reviews in many other 
important papers. 

The whole of the work has been brought up to date and carefully revised, while new and 
interesting matter has been introduced, together with fresh illustrations of scenes endeared to 
all lovers of Wessex. 

Great pains have been taken in making the appearance of the book worthy of the 
contents, the whole of the matter having been re-set in good type, the format chosen making 
the volume, as an example of book making, worthy of taking its place on any library shelf. 

"Another stimulant to imagination." — George Meredith. 

" I think it a very good book." — -/. M. Barrie. 

" A picture of the life of the people of the South and South- West England, which is quite 
worthy to stand by itself and to be read for its own intrinsic interest." — The Outlook. 

"Apart from Mr. Hardy there is not a work of fiction that can give one quite the 
atmosphere of Wessex peasant life that Mr. Wilkinson Sherren manages to convey into 
his pages of fact." — St. Jameses Gazette. 

" All that anyone can care or need to know about the originals of the scenes and 
personages of Mr. Hardy's novels he will find here." — Truth. 

THE LIFE AND TIMES OF HILDEBRAND (Pope Gregory VII.). By the Right Rev. 
Arnold Harris Mathew, D.D. Illustrated. Foolscap 4to., 12s. 6d. net. 

"Si je n'etais NapoHon je voudrais 6tre Gr^goire VII. 

" Napoleon, after Austerlits." 

Bishop Mathew has brought to this new work upon the Napoleon of the Church all the 
wide learning, research, and literary skill which have raised him to a high place among 
the historians of Italy. 

'■ Under Gregory VII. the struggle between the Empire and the Papacy took an acute form. 
Not content with claiming for the Church an entire independence from the temporal power, he 
declared that the independence of the Church was to be found solely in the assertion of its 
supremacy over the State. ... In political matters he asserted that the name of the Pope 
was incomparable with any other, that to him alone belonged the right to use the insignia of 
Empire, that he could depose emperors, and all princes ought to kiss his feet ; that he could 
release subjects from their allegiance to wicked rulers. Such were Gregory's tremendous 
claims for the Papacy." — Extract from Author's Introduction. 

" It would be easy to draw a parallel between Puritanism in the Reformed Churches and 
Ultramontanism in the Roman Church. Both have been narrowing and possessed the 
vehemence that commonly goes with narrowness ; to both the interior contradiction which they 
embody and the facts of human nature with which they come into conflict have been fatal : 
they are of the number of the ' little systems ' which ' have their day.' But in their day they 
were powerful, both for good and for evil ; and their representatives must be judged historically 
by the requirements and standards of their time." — Nation. 

" From every point of view the work is well done. Dr. Mathew reduces to order a mass 
of obscure names, disentangles the essential from the irrelevant and the untrustworthy, and 
brings out clearly, for the benefit of the uninstructed reader, the vital facts of Gregory's life 
with the accuracy and discrimination that distinguishes the scholar from the book-maker. The 
attractiveness of the volume is increased by the interesting prints and photographs with which it 
is illustrated." — Morning Post. 

" To his account of this Napoleon of the Church, Bishop Mathew has brought the wide 
research, the independence of judgment, and the literary skill which have already raised him 
to a high place among the historians of Italy." — Scotsman. 

London : FRANCIS GRIFFITHS, 34, Maiden Lane, Strand, W.C.