Londina Illustrata. Graphic and Historical Memorials of Monasteries, Churches, Chapels, Schools, Charitable Foundations, Palaces, Halls, Courts, Processions, Places of Early Amusement, and Modern Present Theatres, in the Cities and Suburbs of London and Westminster, Volume 1

Wilkinson, Robert


A short Account of Lazar Houses in and near London.

A short Account of Lazar Houses in and near London.



The separation of leprous persons from their fellow-creatures, has been an established rule from the earliest antiquity. Thus, among the Israelites, during their pilgrimages through the Wilderness, it was a solemn command, as mentioned in , xiii. , ,

And the leper in whom the plague is, his clothes shall be rent, and his head bare, and he shall put a covering upon his upper lip, and shall cry, 'Unclean! unclean!' All the days wherein the plague shall be in him he shall be defiled; he is unclean; he shall dwell alone; without the camp shall his habitation be.

The same precautions seem to have been continued among the Christians; and with respect to those afflicted in England, it is recorded, that

in a provincial synod, held at


, by Hubert, Archbishop of Canterbury, in the year


, in the


year of the reign of King John, it was decreed, according to the institution of the Lateran Council, that,

when so many leprous people were assembled, that might be able to build a church, with a churchyard, to themselves, and to have one especial priest of their own, that they should be permitted to have the same without contradiction; so they be not injurious to the old churches, by that which was granted to them for pity's sake.

And, further, it was decreed,

that they be not compelled to give any tithes of their gardens, or increase of cattle.

So cautious, indeed, were our ancestors in their care to remove the infectious, that it is said a writ is among our ancient law-books, entitled,

De Leproso amovendo.

King Edward III. in the year of his reign, gave commandment to the Mayor and Sheriffs of London, to make proclamation in every Ward of the City and Suburbs

that all leprous persons inhabiting there, should avoid within


days next; and that no man suffer any such leprous person to abide within his house and to incur the King's displeasure. And that they should cause the said lepers to be removed into some


of the fields, from the haunt or company of sound people.

Lepers about this period were very frequently in the city; and the disease of leprosy was so infectious, that as there were many separate houses for these people to dwell by themselves, they had their overseers and keepers; there were also certain laws and regulations formed by the corporation for their government. Among these were,—

I. That the keepers of lepers should be disburdened from inquest.—II. That the lepers should not walk through, nor tarry in the streets.—III. The keepers of the city gates were restricted, by an oath, from permitting lepers to enter the city.—IV. Briefs were allowed for removing them from the city and suburbs.—V. Other briefs were also allowed for levying the sum of an

hundred shillings

out of tenements belonging to lepers, and delivering it to their officers for the sustenance of the afflicted.

St. James's Hospital; Now the Chapel Royal, .

of the most ancient foundations for lepers seems to be that dedicated to St. JAMES, near , now the Royal Palace, which, according to Leland and Stow, was founded by citizens of London before the Conquest, for leprous virgins, living chaste lives; to which foundation, in the reign of Edward I., the citizens gave lands in Hendon, Caldecot, and Hampstead. That monarch also, in the eighteenth year of his reign, granted and confirmed, for the benefit of this Hospital, a fair to be held on the Vigil of St. James and the next days. And thus St. James's Hospital continued till the dissolution of religious houses, when it was suppressed by Henry VIII., being then valued at Henry, approving of the situation, rebuilt the whole for his residence, and formed the land around it into a park and honour. It has ever since continued to be a Royal Palace.


The next ancient foundation was that of in the Fields, by Queen Maud, consort of Henry I. in the year ; and she endowed it with yearly rent, out of Queen-Hythe, to provide food for the lepers. This was afterwards a cell to the Hospital of Burton Lazars, in Leicestershire; and thus it continued till its dissolution by Henry VIII. At this Hospital the prisoners conveyed from London to Tyburn for execution, were presented with a great bowl of ale to drink at their pleasure, as their last refreshment in this world.



This estate, with its appurtenances, were granted by Henry VIII. to Viscount Dudley, afterwards the ambitious Duke of Northumberland, during the reign of Edward VI. He was attainted in the next reign, together with his sons, John, Sir Ambrose, Sir Guildford, and Henry. The son of Ambrose became afterwards Earl of Leicester, and married, for his wife, Douglas, daughter of William Howard, Baron of Effingham, and widow of Jonn, Lord Sheffield, in whose lifetime he married her; consequently the issue was considered illegal. This issue, that considered himself legitimate, notwithstanding his father's opinion, was Robert, who having pursued his suit at law, and was nonsuited, in disgust retired to Italy, where he became so famous, that he was created a Duke of the Empire, by the title of Duke of Northumberland. His widow, Alice, daughter of Sir Thomas Leigh, Bart. of Stonely, in the county of Warwick, was, by Letters Patent of Charles I. created Duchess Dudley, during her life, which was confirmed by Charles II. She was a lady of great piety; and when the parish church of St. Giles in the Fields was rebuilt about that period, the Duchess, whose residence was in the parish, on the site of the Hospital (probably the avenues which now go by the name of Dudley Court, &c.), gave towards the rebuilding that structure besides the organ, hangings, bells, &c. She died at her house, near St. Giles' Church, . Her daughters were Lady Frances Kniveton, and Lady Holbourne, for whom jointly a stately monument was erected, part of which is at present situated in the north aisle of this church.

Great Ilford Hospital, Essex.

The Hospital at Great Ilford, in Essex, miles from London, was erected and liberally endowed by Adeliza, Abbess of Barking, in the reign of King Stephen, for a prior, warden, priests, and poor leprous brethren. She endowed the Hospital with forest-land brought into tillage, and denominated , in Essholt; and also other lands in Upminster, Aveley, &c. in the same county.

Ralph de , Bishop of London, in , during his visitation in this part of his diocese, observing several abuses in Ilford Hospital, caused the following statutes to be made for its better regulation:

1. That the lepers be chosen out of the demesnes of the Abbey of Barking, if there were any.

2. That the Abbess of Barking, and Master and Brethren, present alternately.

3. That no married leper be admitted, unless the wife will vow chastity.

4. That every brother shall frequent Divine service at the church, unless he be sick.

5. That no woman be allowed to enter the said Hospital but the Abbess, near relations of the sick to visit them, or the laundress, and that in the open day.

6. That no leper shall go abroad without special licence.

7. That the Abbess shall appoint the Master of the said Hospital.

8. That every brother shall, at his admission, make oath to live chastely, to be obedient to the Abbess and Convent of Barking, to have nothing in propriety, &c.

The establishment was governed by these statutes till the dissolution, when its revenues, according to Speed, were valued at

The site of the Hospital and chapel were granted to Thomas Fanshaw, Esq. Remembrancer of , and his heirs, with all its lands and tithes, upon condition that they should keep the whole in repair, appoint a Master, and allow each of the paupers a pension of and that a chaplain should be provided to perform Divine service.

Thomas Fanshaw, Viscount Dromore, granted, in , a lease of the whole estate for years to Mr. Thomas Allen; and it was, in , purchased by Crispe Gascoigne, Esq. Alderman, and afterwards (Sir Crispe Gascoigne, and) Lord Mayor of London, whose descendants are the present holders.

The Hospital stands on the south side of the road, and occupies sides of a small quadrangle, the centre of which is the chapel, which seems to have been built about the century. In the east window are several armorial bearings; and on the floor are memorials for some of the chaplains. The whole has a neat appearance from the road, but is considerably out of repair; and the revenues of this foundation are at present very inconsiderable.

The Rev. Mr. Allen is chaplain, and lives at . Mr. Glover, who does the duty, preaches every Sunday morning at o'clock in the forenoon, and the sacrament is administered times in the year, viz. at Easter, Whitsuntide, Michaelmas, and Christmas.





The almshouses are at present appointed for a man and his wife for each, and are held as long as the husband lives; but his widow is to quit the house in months after his decease. The allowance for the poor is,

 Three quarters of the year, 11s. 6d. each quarter ................................. £ 1 14 6 £ 2 11 0 
 Christmas quarter ........................................................................ 0 16 6 

They have neither clothing, firing, nor any other support, , from the charity. They are said to be chosen out of the poor of the parish or district. of the poor acts as clerk, and of the women as sextoness.

, , .

The next structure, in point of antiquity, that we shall notice, is the Hospital in , , denominated

This Hospital, situated without Saint George's Bars, in , , called The Loke, was a Lazarhouse, or Hospital for leprous persons, dedicated to the Virgin and to Saint Leonard. The period of its foundation is not discoverable; yet there is reason to conclude it had existed long anterior to the reign of Edward II., inasmuch as in the year of that King there is extant on the patent roll, a writ of protection, not very unlike the briefs of the present date, at which time the revenues of the Hospital were insufficient for its support. In this writ, after reciting, that , had not wherewith to support themselves, unless other relief was afforded them by the faithful and devout; and, in order to prevent their being oppressed by injuries, and for their more quietly serving God, the King granted his protection for years to them, and their men, and possessions; prohibiting all persons, during that period, from doing them any wrong, molestation, or damage; and, further, beseeching all his loving subjects (as they should look for favour from God and thanks from the King) piously and mercifully to aid the said master and brethren, by charitable donations, whenever they should ask alms at their hands.

Strype's Stow, vol. ii. p. , edit. , states, that

John Pope, by his will, dated


, gave to the governors of the house of the poor leprous, called Le Lokes, without

St. George's

Bar, in




annual rent of

six shillings and eight pence


de illis tresdecim solidatis et



, of rent due to him, and that descended to him by hereditary right, by the death of Thomas Pope, of Sherman, his father, out of the tenements and shops formerly belonging to John Champeneys, in Shetebone (

Sherborn) Lane

, in the parish of

St. Mary Abchurch

, which was situated in length between the garden of Thomas St. Edmund on the west, and the little lane towards the said church on the east; and extend in breadth to the tenements of John de Herford and John Joy, and the garden of the said Thomas St. Edmund on the west, unto Shetebone Lane towards the north, &c. to the reparation and maintenance of the said house of lepers for ever. Those foresaid tenements of the said John Champeneys belonged to the master, brethren, and sisters of the Hospital of St. Catharine, near the Tower.

We have preserved in the plate given of this Hospital the only remains of it before it was finally demolished a few years since. Over the chapel, which forms part of the view, was affixed a stone, of which Aubrey, in his History of Surrey, vol. v. p. , gives the following description:

On a stone over the chapel, near it is this mangled inscription, in capitals, engraved on so soft a stone, that no more than what follows could be retrieved: M. B. This chapel was built to the honour of God, and to the use of the poore---------people harboured-------------- ----------------------

The next foundation of this kind that we shall have occasion to notice, is that at Kingsland. Mr. Nelson, in his History of Islington, informs us, that soon after the endowment of St. Bartholomew's Hospital by Henry VIII. certain Lock or Lazar Hospitals were opened for the reception of persons afflicted with the venereal disease at a distance from the city, to which places they were sent by the governors, and thus kept apart from the other patients, the disorder being in those times considered as contagious, wherefore they were removed entirely from the capital. Each of these houses was under the care of a surgeon, a chaplain, and a sister, a nurse and helper; and each contained about twenty beds. In the survey of the manor, 1611, this is called Kingsland Spittle. The Hospital, a modern building, has been long disused, and is the residence of a corn-dealer. Over the door are the armorial bearings of St. Bartholomew's Hospital.

The chapel appears from its architecture to be ancient, and probably that attached to the original Lazar-house, and was so contrived, that the patients could neither see, nor be seen by, any other part of the congregation. It is a small stone building, in length, from east to west 27 feet, by 18 from north to south, and its utmost height to the roof on the outside, not more than 20 feet. The pulpit is upon a level with, and the floor three feet below, the road. The roof is overgrown with moss and weeds, and in a small turret is contained a bell, which is rung by means of a string passing through a hole into the gallery. The plate sufficiently describes the exterior and interior of the building, which is in a very dilapidated state. Kingsland is a hamlet, partly in the parish of Hackney and partly in that of Islington, in the latter of which the chapel is situated.

In an account belonging to St. Bartholomew's Hospital, ending at Michaelmas 1675, are the following notices:

The surgeons and guides of the outhouses were paid 20s. yearly for the cure of every patient. Cured, Lock, 31 ................................................................................. £ 31 0 0 Kingsland, 28 ............................................................................ 28 0 0 Diet for Lazar-houses ............................................................ £ 249 5 4 1676. Ditto................................................................................. 276 6 0 1677. Ditto................................................................................ 296 6 8 1678. Ditto................................................................................. 233 16 0 1679. Ditto................................................................................. 219 14 8 Item, paid Mr. Weston, Clerk, for reading service and preaching at the Lock, for three years, ending at Michaelmas 1679.......................................... 6 0 0 Item, paid Mr. Samuel Sturges for reading service and preaching at Kingsland, ditto 6 0 0 1680. Ditto, at the rate of £ 8 per year. 1681. Ditto, Neither of the chapels appears to have been consecrated.

View all images in this book
 Title Page
 Howell's View of London
 View of the Fire of London
 City Wall
 The Conduits of Cheapside and Cornhill
 Plan of the Fire in Bishopsgate Street, Cornhill, and Leadenhall Street: November 7th, 1765
Frost Fair on the River Thames
 Part of the Strand: St. Clement's Danes
 Ancient Structure in Ship Yard: Temple Bar
 St. Paul's Cross and Cathedral: With King James I and his Court at a Sermon
 Ancient Cathedral Church of St. Paul, London
 Paul's Cross (and Preaching There)
Elsinge Spital, Sion College, and the Church of St. Alphage, London Wall
 Elsinge's Hospital; or, as it is otherwise denominated, Elsynge Spittle
 Sion College
 The Priory and Church of St. Bartholomew the Great, West Smithfield
 The Church of St. Bartholomew the Less: Giltspure Street, West Smithfield, in the Ward of Farringdon Without
Crosby Hall, Bishopsgate Street
The Priory and Church of St. Helen, Bishopsgate Street
 Monument of Sir Andrew Judde, Knight: In the Church of St. Helen, Bishopsgate Within
St. Michael's Church: Cornhill
The Parish Church of St. Paul, Shadwell: In the County of Middlesex
 The Parish Church of St. Peter upon Cornhill: In Cornhill Ward
Extracts from the Vestry Books of the Church of St. Peter upon Cornhill
 St. Saviour's Church
 St. Saviour's Church, Southwark
 Winchester Palace, Southwark
 Chapels at the Eastern End of the Church of St. Saviour, Southwark
 Hospital of St. John of Jerusalem
 An Account of Bermondsey, its Manor, Priory, and Abbey
 Priory of the Holy Trinity: In the Ward of Aldgate
 St. Martin-le-Grand College, and St. Vedast, Foster Lane
 Guildhall Chapel
 A short Account of Lazar Houses in and near London
 Knightsbridge Chapel
 Lambe's Chapel and Alms-Houses: Monkwell Street, Cripplegate
 The late Mr. Skelton's Meeting House, Erected Near the Site of the Globe Theatre, Maid Lane, Southwark
 Zoar Street, Gravel Lane, Meeting House and School
 Oratory, Under the Antient Mansion, or Inn, of the Priors of Lewes in Sussex
 Whitehall: Plate I
 Whitehall: Plate II
 Whitehall: Plate III
 St. James's Palace
 Fawkeshall, or Copped Hall, Surrey
 Toten-Hall, Tottenham Court Road
 King John's Palace
 Clarendon House, called also Albemarle House
 Somerset House
 Suffolk House
 York House
 Durham, Salisbury, and Worcester Houses
 Sir Paul Pindar's House
 Montagu House: Great Russel Street, Bloomsbury
 The British Museum
 Bedford House, Bloomsbury Square
 Peterborough House, afterward Grosvenor House, Millbank, Westminster
 Craven House, Drury Lane
 Ancient Mansion called Monteagle House: Montague Close, Southwark
 Oldbourne Hall, Shoe Lane: In the Parish of St. Andrew, Holborn