The History and Antiquities of London, Westminster, Southwark, and Parts Adjacent, vol. 3
Hospital of St. Bartholomew.
Which appears to have been the establishment of this nature in London, having been founded in the year , by Rahere, the prior of the adjacent monastery, who obtained from the king
|a piece of waste ground, on which he built an hospital, for a master, brethren, and sisters, and for the relief of the diseased and maimed poor, which he placed under the care of the priory.|
Both the priory and hospital were surrendered to Henry VIII. who, in the last year of his reign, refounded the latter, and endowed it with an annual revenue of , on condition that the city should pay an equal sum; which proposal being accepted, the new foundation was incorporated by the name of
a MS. in the Harleian catalogue; this hospital is valued at per annum. It was suppressed Henry VIII. Shortly after, it came into the hands of the corporation of London, and through their means hath grown in prosperity even to this very moment.
the sums received from each house are thus particularized:
In the of queen Anne, a licence was granted to the mayor and corporation of London and their successors, to purchase in fee, or for term of lives, or years, or otherwise, in trust and for the benefit of St. Bartholomew's, any manors, rectories, &c. &c. to the yearly value of .
The foregoing articles will serve, in some degree, to shew the ancient state of their funds. That they have been greatly increased, is a matter of little doubt, when the liberality of the British nation is considered.
The ancient seal of the hospital was oval, and represented St. Bartholomew under a canopy head, with a knife in his right, and a book in his left hand, and treading on a lion. On each side of
|him the old arms of England, lions ...... BARTH«I LONDON is all that remains of the legend.|
Since the time of foundation, the hospital has received considerable benefactions from charitable persons, by which means the governors have been enabled to admit all indigent persons maimed by accident, at any hour of the day or night. without previous recommendation; and the sick, on Thursdays, on which days a committee of governors sit to examine persons applying for admission. The patients, whether sick or maimed, are provided with lodging, food, medicine, and attendance, and have the advice and assistance of some of the most eminent physicians and surgeons in the kingdom.
Notwithstanding the old building escaped the dreadful fire in , yet the chief part of its revenues being in houses, the hospital was greatly injured by that calamity. In the year , the hospital became so ruinous that there appeared an absolute necessity for rebuilding it; and a subscription was entered into by many of the governors, and other charitable persons, among whom was Dr. Ratcliffe, for defraying the expense, upon a plan then prepared, containing detached piles of stone building, to be connected by gateways, and to form a quadrangle.
The stone of this building was laid on the , by sir George Brocas, the lord mayor, in the presence of several aldermen and governors; and the eastern side of the square, which completed the whole, being finished in , it is now of the most pleasing structures in London, when viewed from the area within, which it surrounds, and where only it can be seen to advantage.
That part which opens to , and which may be esteemed the principal front, is allotted for the public business of the hospital. It contains a large hall for the general courts of the governors; a counting house for the meetings of committees; rooms for examining, admitting, and discharging patients; with other necessary offices. In this part of the building is a stair case painted and given by Mr. Hogarth, consisting of pictures, representing the Good Samaritan and the Pool of Bethseda; which, for truth of colouring and expression, are thought to equal any thing of the kind in Europe.
In the hall, which is a noble apartment, the ceiling enriched with stucco, and the walls wainscotted, are full length portraits of Henry VIII. Mr. Surgeon Pott, and John Abernethy, esq. the last by sir T. Lawrence. In of the windows, is a representation in stained glass, of Henry VIII. delivering the charter to the lord mayor.
In the admission room are the following portraits: Over the mantel piece a half length of Henry VIII. finely executed, above it is
He has a small truncheon in his left hand. E. Colston, esq. . Martin Bond, eso. treasurer,
; Sir W. Prichard, alderman, president, ; and a fine portrait without name or date, apparently of a sheriff, .
The front of the hospital towards , consists of a rustic basement with a large arch, above which rise pilasters of the Ionic order, from the volutes of which are suspended wreaths of foliage; these support an entablature and pediment, within which are the royal arms. Over the gate is a niche between columns of the Corinthian order, supporting a broken pediment, on which are seated infirm figures; within the niche is a well executed statue of Henry VIII. in his royal robes. Beneath the figure of the king is the following inscription:
Underneath which is the following:--
The other sides of the quadrangle contain the wards for the reception of patients; in each of which are between and beds.
The medical establishment consists of physicians, surgeons, assistant surgeons, and an apothecary, belonging to this hospital.
A general repair of this hospital was commenced in , and completed in ; considerable alterations were made in the wings, and new buildings erected for the medical establishment. A new counting house was erected on the south side of the small court (in which Little St. Bartholomew's church is situated) in .
The following is the number of patients admitted and discharged in .
At the north east angle of is , built without the north wall of the priory, in the time of Henry II. when, according to Stow, the booths in the church yard being taken down, a number of tenements were erected in , for such as would
|give great rents. It is probable that none of the original buildings remain; but those on the south side offer the largest aggregate of the rude dwellings of our forefathers now in existence in the metropolis. Whoever considers the materials of which these buildings are formed, and the obstruction that must have been given to a free circulation of air, by the method of constructing them with story overhanging another, and extends his view to a metropolis composed chiefly of such fabrics, will cease to wonder at the frequency and extent of the conflagrations and pestilential diseases, with which London was formerly afflicted.|
On the north side of is the great opening called , from the bars which separated the city liberty from the county on that side, having been placed there.
Between and is an entrance which leads into . This place evidently derives its name from the fair at St. Bartholomew's tide, to which the clothiers from different parts of the country, and the drapers of London, repaired, and had their booths and standings in the church-yard, within the priory, which was separated from only by walls and gates, that were locked every night, and watched, for the safety of the goods deposited there. But this narrow street, or lane, where their goods were kept, has been built since that time, and subsequent to the dissolution and sale of the priory. It is still occupied chiefly by tailors, clothiers, and what are called piece brokers; dealers in materials for the use of tailors, &c. The houses are generally old and inconvenient. Near the north east corner is a small house with the arms of Rich (incorrectly described by Mr. Malcolm, as those of the Sterns of White Cliff, Yorkshire) viz. a chevron between crosses botonee
is celebrated as the scene of the imposture of the ghost which was to detect the murderer of the body it lately inhabited by its appearance in the vault of , Clerkenwell. It ended in the full detection and exemplary punishment of the several persons concerned in the villainy.
The north-east corner of is known as Pie-corner, and was the spot where the dreadful fire of terminated. In commemoration of this circumstance, a naked boy was put up with the following inscription :
This figure was formerly by the side of the door, but has recently been placed between of the floor windows.
On the east side of is
 In 1754 an unknown person bequeathed it 2,000l.