The History and Antiquities of London, Westminster, Southwark, and Parts Adjacent, vol. 4

Allen, Thomas


Hospital of St. Thomas.


Within the precincts of the priory of St. Mary Overy, there was a building appropriated to the use of the poor, which maintained certain brethren and sisters, of whom Amicius, the archdeacon of Surrey, was the custos. This building was destroyed by fire in , and the canons erected a temporary building for the reception of the poor, a small distance from the priory; but Peter de Rupibus, the munificent bishop of Winchester, disliking the situation,

by reason of the straightness of the place, and the scarcity of water,

and thinking the foundation, which had been made by the prior of , too confined in its operation, united the institutions, refounding them for canons regular, and endowing them with l a year. The new foundation was dedicated to the celebrated Becket, under the title of the Hospital of St. Thomas the



Martyr. This was done on the estate of Amicus, for the sake of purer air, and having plenty of water. These circumstances are so stated in an indulgence for days, granted by that bishop to such as should contribute to the expense of the new hospital,

the old hospital for maintenance of the poor, long since built, having been destroyed by fire, and utterly reduced to ashes.

From the liberality of this prelate, it was accounted of the foundation of the bishops of Winchester, and they had the patronage of it.

Between the erection of the new building, and the year , when this bishop died, the master and brethren had procured a cemetery to be consecrated for their use, but in this they were opposed by the prior and convent of St. Mary Overy, as being prejudicial to their parishes of and St. Margaret. At length, by the interference of the bishop and others, the convent dropped the prosecution of the matter, and, with consent of the bishop and the vicar of , they released their claim, allowing the use of the cemetery for all such as died within their own precincts, and such others as should choose sepulture there, but not for the parishioners of and St. Margaret, unless saving the rights of these churches. They also restrained them from having more than bells in their belfry, of an weight, and they were to pay to the prior and convent a quit rent of charged on a tenement in , and to the vicar of yearly at Easter. The rector of St. Margaret, however, seems to have been dissatisfied at not receiving some acknowledgment as well as the vicar of , for the bishop, in the grant of this burial ground, which he made by Alan de Stoke, his commissary, reserved a year to this rector, in lieu of such oblations and obventions as he would be deprived of by the appointment of this burial ground, and Ralph de Reygate, then rector, for himself and successors, released all right to such oblations and obventions. The bishop appears also to have prevailed on the priory to accept a year, instead of for is the sum payable to the prior and convent by this instrument. The to the vicar of is also here reserved.

Soon after the fire in , viz. in , it was agreed between Martin the prior of the convent, and Amicius, archdeacon of Surrey, rector of the hospital of St. Thomas, , and the brethren of the same, that the convent should permit the brethren and sisters of the old hospital of St. Thomas to pass into the new hospital of St. Thomas in , founded on the land of the church of Winchester, () free from all subjection to their church, with all their goods, rents, and lands, saving to the prior and convent the lands of Melewell (or Milkwell, in Camberwell and ) the site of the old hospital, and the orchard or garden in Trinety-lane, which Ralph Carbonell sold to the old


hospital, quit of all demands from the canons. And in exchange for the lands of Melewell, the canons gave to the said brethren. . rent in , out of the land which Matilda, daughter of Ulnold, gave to their church in pure and perpetual alms. . A piece of ground, for which William Rufus was to pay them yearly lying between the land of London-bridge, and the land which Aldred held in Trinety-lane, paying to Ralph Carbonell, or his heirs, yearly for all services and demands. . The market for corn and other valuable commodities, usually kept at the gate of the old hospital, shall be transferred to, and kept at the gate of the new. . That on the recess of the brethren and sisters, the old hospital shall be shut up for ever, it being lawful for the canons to build what they please on the site of it, except an hospital. . The canons shall never in future build any other hospital in the public street of , in front of, or in opposition to, the new hospital (contranovum hospitale.) This agreement was confirmed by king Edward I. by his letters patent, dated at , , anno .

In , the master and brethren of the new hospital, granted to Lucas, archdeacon of Surrey, hall, with a chapel, stable, and other appurtenances, within the precincts of the hospital, for his life, for a mansion or dwelling. He covenants for himself and his successors, that they should not, by virtue of this grant, claim any authority, jurisdiction, property, or succession in the same, to the damage or molestation of the master and brethren. In , this Lucas, by the name of Lucas de Rupibus, subdeacon of the pope, released all his rights herein to the master and brethren.

The archideaconal jurisdiction had been granted to this house by the archdeacons of Surrey, but it seems as if the claim had sometimes been revived; for in , John Forest, then archdeacon, released it from his jurisdiction and confirmed the former grants, so as that neither he nor his official or commissary, should exercise any jurisdiction within the precincts of this hospital, over any persons, regular or secular, or in any causes, civil or criminal, but the brethren and their commissary should have the sole cognizance of all matters, with the proving wills of persons dying within the same, saving the rights and dignity of the archdeacon in the church of Winton, and the usual pension of be paid annually at Easter to him and his successors.

The bishops of Winchester, however, seem to have claimed, and in fact to have often exercised, a jurisdiction in the nomination of the master, though with a salvo to the rights of the brethren, somewhat similar to the on the appointment of a bishop, as will appear in several instances mentioned in the list of masters. In , there was a visitation by the bishop, when it


was ordained that the master and brethren of the hospital should observe the rule of St. Augustine, which they professed, in obedience, chastity, abdication of separate property, and that the master should eat with the brethren.

Henry VIII. , it was surrendered to the king, according to Willis, by the master, Richard Mabbot, clerk, but bishop Burnet says, by Thomas Thirleby. At this time there were a master and brethren, and lay sisters. They made beds for poor infirm people, who also had victuals and firing. The revenues, according to Dugdale and Speed, were ; but by a MS. valor in the Fruits office, or clear. Tanner supposes the latter to be a valuation.

After the dissolution, the hospital was neglected, and the buildings became ruinous; but, in , Ridley, bishop of London, by a well-timed sermon preached before the young king, awakened the benevolence of his disposition; the king consulted with him how he should commence some great charitable institution, and by his advice, addressed a letter to the mayor and corporation of London, announcing his intention and requiring their advice. After some consultation, at which the bishop assisted, different institutions were suggested, which at length produced for education of youth; for the poor, and correcting the profligate, and this of St. Thomas, for the lame and diseased.

The king highly approved of these plans, and steps were immediately taken for establishing such foundations.

The city purchased St. Thomas's of the king, with the other property mentioned before; and in , began to repair and enlarge it, and so diligent were they in the work, that expending about thereon, in the November following, they received into it no less sum than poor infirm persons. The king was so well pleased with what they had done, that on the , he granted them a charter of incorporation for this foundation. In this year the city published an account, by which it appeared that they had expended on this and , in repairs and furniture, In the , Sloanian MS. , is an extract from the proceedings at a court held by the governors, , stating that for divers good causes moving this court, and that the rents, as well of those manors, lands, &c. wherewith it pleased our late sovereign lord king Edward VI. moved with compassion of the state of the poor, to endow the mayor, &c. withall, which now belong to the house of , as of all other lands, &c. which may be given or purchased, to the use of this house, may be truly employed for the use of the poor, according to the


godly meaning of the late king and other benefactors; and that such manors, lands, &c. as fittist to farm for provision of grain to this house, may be reserved for that purpose, that good grain may be found by our tenants, and that the rents of the residue may by increased in godly sort, according to the time, for that the yearle expenses do exceed the yearly revenue, a year at least. Therefore, by general consent of the governors, it is ordered that there shall be no lease or grant in reversion, or in possession, till year, or at most, of the expiration of old lease, and that but for years, or under, and that not to any governor or to his use, nor of more land than in the occupation of the lessee at such time. But building leases may be granted of old decayed houses or pieces of land in London, or the suburbs.

Orders to be observed.-A minute book of the proceedings of the governors to be kept; the minutes read at the next court, and corrected or confirmed.

If a lessee shall underlett, the actual occupier to have the option of renewal, after him such person as will give most, and undertake to reside. All estates to be surveyed by the surveyor, sometimes by the treasurer, before letting. Tenants are bound to all repairs. A book is kept for entry of all sums due to the hospital for fines of any leases, wood, &c.

The beef of the poor is bought by weight without bones, and candles taken in exchange for the tallow.

For every quarter of wheat delivered at the water-side, the baker delivers to the hospital dozen and loaves of bread, without any vantage, of the goodness of London wheaten bread, each loaf to weigh ounces.

The annual amount of the revenues bestowed by king Edward VI. on this hospital, Christ's, and , is said to have been

Subsequent donations are entered on tables in the court-room, and on the staircase.

This hospital suffered greatly in its possessions, though not in its own buildings, by the fires in , , and . That in stopped as it just came to it. The building being from its age greatly decayed, a subscription was set on foot to rebuild and enlarge it, to which the governors contributed liberally, and amongst them sir Robert Clayton stands conspicuous.

The stone of the new building was laid by sir John Fleet, who was lord mayor in .

The whole was executed at different times, and not completed till the year .

The hospital now consists of quadrangles, or square courts. In the front, next the street, is a handsome pair of large iron gates, with a door of the same work on each side, for the convenience of foot-passengers. These are fastened on the sides to stone piers, on each of which is a statue representing of the


patients. These gates open into a very neat square court, encompassed on sides with a colonnade of Tuscan pillars, surrounded with benches, next the wall, for the accommodation of people to sit and rest themselves. On the south side, under an empty niche, is the following inscription:--

This building, on the south side of this court, containing


wards, erected at the charge of THOMAS FREDERICK, of London, esq. a worthy governor and liberal benefactor to this hospital, Anno



On the opposite side, under the same kind of niche, is this inscription:--

This building, on the north side of this court, containing


wards, was erected at the charge of THOMAS GUY, esq. citizen and stationer of London, a worthy governor and bountiful benefactor to this hospital, Anno



The centre of the principal front, facing the street, is of stone. On the top is a clock, under a small circular pediment, and beneath that, in a niche, the statue of king Edward VI. holding a sceptre in his right hand, and the charter of incorporation in his left. A little lower, in niches on each side, is a man with a crutch, and a sick woman; and, under them, in other niches, a man with a wooden leg, and a woman with her arm in a sling. Over the niches are festoons, and between the last-mentioned figures, the kings arms in relievo: under which is this inscription :--



, of pious memory, in the year of our Lord


, founded and endowed this HOSPITAL of ST. THOMAS the APOSTLE, together with the Hospital of Christ, and


, in London.

Beneath this is a spacious passage, down a descent of steps, into the court, which is more elegant than the former. This has also Doric colonnades, except at the front of the chapel, which is on the north side, and is adorned with lofty pilasters of the Corinthian order, placed on high pedestals. The hall is on the east side, and the parish church on the south. On the top is a pediment, as well as in the centre of the east and west sides, and above the piazzas; the fronts of the wards are ornamented with handsome Ionic pilasters.

In the centre of this court is a handsome brass statue of king Edward VI. by Scheemakers; behind which is placed, on a kind of small pedestal, his crown laid upon a cushion. The statue is enclosed with iron rails, and stands upon a lofty stone pedestal, on which is the following inscription, in capitals :

This statue

Of King Edward the



A most excellent Prince,

Of exemplary Piety and Wisdom,

above his years;

The glory and ornament of his age,

and most munificent founder

Of this hospital,

Was erected at the expense


in the year MDCCXXXVII.

On the opposite side of the pedestal is the same inscription in Latin.

In the centre of the east side of this court is a spacious passage into the next, the structure above being supported by rows of columns. The buildings in the court are older than the others, and are entirely surrounded with a colonnade of the Tuscan order, above which they are adorned with long slender Ionic pilasters, with very small capitals. In the centre is a stone statue of sir Robert Clayton, dressed in his robes as lord mayor, surrounded with iron rails; upon the west side of the pedestal is his arms, in relievo; and on the south side the following inscription:

To sir Robert Clayton, knt. born in Northamptonshire, citizen and lord mayor of London, president of this hospital, and vice-president of the new workhouse, and a bountiful benefactor to it; a just magistrate, and brave defender of the liberty an religion of his country. Who (besides many other instances of his charity to the poor) built the girls' ward in

Christ's Hospital

, gave firs towards the rebuilding of this house,

six hundred pounds

, and left by his last will

two thousand three hundred pounds

to the poor of it. This statue was erected in his life-time by the governors An. Dom. MDCCI. as a monument of their esteem of so much worth, and to preserve his memory, after death, was by them beautified An. Dom. MDCCXIV.

In a small court further east are wards for salivation, and another called the cutting ward. In this court is the surgery, baths, theatre, and dead house.

In the quadrangle is the court-room, a neat apartment, with several fine paintings: over the president's seat a portrait of the founder of this charity; on his right hand king William III., on his left, queen Mary. At the north-west corner, by Richardson, sir Robert Clayton, knight, alderman, and president, who was a generous benefactor, and died . He is painted in the robes of the chief magistrate of London; the sides of a large wig fall down his breast. At the north end of the east wall is a portrait of sir Gilbert Heathcote, knight, alderman, and president, aged , . He is in the civic scarlet furred gown, with a brown long flapped coat, square-toed shoes, and large wig; his right hand directs the attention to a book on a marble table, behind which are the city sword and mace. On the left of the chimney, sir Gerard Conyers, knight, alderman, and president, aged , , in the lord mayor's dress, a large wig, laced band, brown stockings, and square-toed shoes; at the back ground flying urchins are amusing themselves with the sword and mace. On the right side of the chimney is a whole length of sir John Eyles, bart. lord mayor at the coronation of king George II. president, , painted by Vanloo; a moderate wig, powdered; the coat purple, stockings brown, the


robe lined with satin; the sword and mace on a table. This is said to be an excellent picture. All these are whole lengths.

At the south end of the room is a large chimney, over which hangs a half length of

sir James Campbell, knt. and president, also a great patron of the foundation.

His square beard, hair, and whiskers are light coloured, a ruff on the neck, close sleeves of yellow, and the lord mayor's gown.

The ceiling is neat and slightly coved; pannels are filled with the names of benefactors, which are continued down a spacious staircase. pannel, between composite pilasters, is decorated with the royal arms, crown, fruit, and foliage.

The number of governors is not limited, but the management is in a committee of of them, of whom are changed every year at the annual general court. There are almoners elected quarterly, who every week attend the receiving patients, or discharging such as are cured, or are incurable. The officers are, a president, treasurer, physicians, surgeons, apothecary, clerk, receiver, steward, chaplain, matron, brewer, butler, cook, with an assistant and servant, an assistant clerk in the counting-house, porters, beadles, sisters, nurses, watchmen, chapel clerk, sexton, and watchman.

The beds are . Iron bedsteads have been introduced by a subscription for that purpose. In , there were in this hospital persons, and then under cure . In there were cured , buried out of the hospital . At Easter, , there remained under cure . In the report of , it is stated, that

in the last year there had been cured and discharged of wounded, sick, and diseased persons,


of in-patients, many of whom have been relieved with money and necessaries at their departure, to accommodate them in their journies to their own habitations. Out-patients,


. Buried after much charge in sickness,


; remaining under cure, in-patients


, out-patients


. So that there are, and have been, in the last year under cure in the hospital, destitute of other proper cure,



The report read at Christ-church on Easter Monday, , stated that there had been cured and discharged in the preceding year, in-patients , out-patients .

Since the foundation of this extensive charity, an incredible number of distressed objects have received relief from it; and though the estates originally belonging to the hospital were ruined, yet, by the liberality and benevolence of the citizens and others, its revenues have not only been restored, but augmented, and its annual disbursements now amount to a very considerable sum.


[] Book of Muniments, folio 5, note.

[] Muniments, fol. 2, 3.

[] Pat. by Inspeximus, 33 Ed. I., m. 6, fol. 2.

[] Muniments, fol. 4,46.

[] Muniments, fol. 5, 6.

[] Muniments, fol. 330.

[] Abbies 11, 234.

[] Hist. of the Reformation.

[] This gate and the two large houses on either side, were erected by Mr. Guy, at as expense of 3,000l.

[] Symes MSS.

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 Title Page
CHAPTER I: Site, local divisions, and government of the City of Westminster; history of the Abbey; Coronation Ceremonies; and lists of the Abbots and Deans
CHAPTER II: Westminster Abbey, and Description of the Tombs and Monuments
CHAPTER III: History and Topography of St. Margaret's Parish
CHAPTER IV: History and Topography of St. John's Parish, Westminster
CHAPTER V: History and Topography of the parish of St. Martin's in the Fields, Westminster
CHAPTER VI: History and Topogrpahy of the parish of St. James, Westminster
CHAPTER VII: History and Topography of the Parish of St. Anne, Westminster
CHAPTER VIII: History and Topography of the parish of St. Paul, Covent Garden
CHAPTER IX: History and Topography of the Parish of St. Mary-le-strand
CHAPTER X: History and Topogrpahy of the parish of St. Clement Danes
CHAPTER XI: History and Topography of the parish of st. George, Hanover Square
CHAPTER XII: History and Topography of the Precinct of the Savoy
CHAPTER XIII: History and Topography of the Inns of Court
CHAPTER XIV: History and Topography of the Precincts of the Charter-house and Ely Place, and the Liberty of the Rolls
 CHAPTER XV: Historical Notices of the Borough of Southwark
CHAPTER XVI: History and Topography of the Parish of St. Olave, Southwark
CHAPTER XVII: History and Topography of the parish of St. John, Southwark
CHAPTER XVIII: History and Topography of the parish of St. Thomas, Southwark
CHAPTER XIX: History and Topogrpahy of the parish of St. George's, Southwark
CHAPTER XX: History and Topography of St. Saviour's Parish
CHAPTER XXI: History and Topography of the parist of Christ-church in the County of Surrey
 CHAPTER XXII: A List of the Principal Books, &c that have been published in Illustration of the Antiquities, History, Topography, and other subjects treated of in this Work
 Addenda et Corrigienda