28. WHITTINGTON'S HOSPITAL
A hospital was founded in 1424 by the
executors of Richard Whittington (fn. 1) for thirteen
poor persons, who were to live in a house built
for them to the east of the church of St. Michael
Paternoster and next to the dwelling of the
chaplains of Whittington College. The thirteen were to be citizens of London, preferably
members of the Mercers' Company, or inferior
ministers of Whittington College who could no
longer fulfil their duties, and it was an essential
condition to their election (fn. 2) and continuance as
inmates (fn. 3) that they should have no other means
of subsistence. They were to live in separate
apartments within the house, but were to have
their meals together. Their dress was to be of
seemly form and dark in colour. One of their
number called the tutor was to have the rule and
administration of the house, and his superior
position was marked by his receiving a weekly
allowance of 16d. instead of the 14d. (fn. 4) allotted
to each of the others, and by a relaxation in his
case of the rule (fn. 5) prohibiting absence from the
hospital. Certain religious duties were prescribed: the almsmen had all to be present at the
daily services in St. Michael's Paternoster Royal,
and had to pray for the souls of Whittington
and Alice his wife, and after high mass they
were to assemble round Whittington's tomb and
recite the De Profundis; private devotions were
also enjoined. The mayor of London was
supervisor of the house, but it was with the
wardens of the Mercers' Company that the care
of the foundation mainly rested: out of every
seven vacancies among the poor men they appointed six times, the master of Whittington College once, and they chose the tutor; an inventory
of the movables of the house had to be made
every year and shown to them, and the seal of
the hospital could not be used without their leave.
The connexion between the hospital and the
college must have been close from the first, and
doubtless grew closer as in course of time former
clerks of the college became pensioners in the
hospital. Indeed, from a report made in 1538
about the feeling in the houses (fn. 6) it would be impossible to gather that they were two separate
institutions, the tutor being mentioned as if like
the choristers he belonged to the college. It is
evident that this man, William Gibson, held
strongly to the old opinions, for he said openly
that 'the northern men rose in a good quarrel
and that he trusted to see a new day.'Most of
his fellows, however, were of the opposite party
and 'were so weary of such communications
that they were ready to go out of the house.'
This house of charity was not abolished at
the Reformation, and in the eighteenth century
still existed in the place where it had been
founded, the men and women receiving then a
pension of 3s. 10d. a week, and new clothes
every three years. (fn. 7) In 1823 the Mercers'
Company acquired some land in the parish of
Islington and there built a chapel and thirty
houses to accommodate a chaplain, a matron,
and twenty-eight almswomen. (fn. 8)
Tutors of Whittington's Hospital
Robert Chesterton, appointed in 1424 (fn. 9)
William Gibson, occurs 1538 (fn. 10)
||Pat. 10 Hen. VI, pt. 2, m. 5, per Inspex.
printed in Dugdale, Mon. Angl. vi, 744–6.
||No one of the livery of any company was to be
||If any of them inherited property worth 5 marks
clear a year, he was not to remain in the hospital.
||The patent says 4d., but as in another place the
charter provides that if one of the members is attacked
by leprosy he is to be removed to another place, but
to receive 14d. a week, and his place in the hospital
is not to be filled, this sum appears to have been
the usual allowance. Dugdale, op. cit. vi, 746.
||He was not to be absent for twelve days without
leave of the conservators, but the others could not be
absent one whole day without his leave. Ibid.
L. and P. Hen. VIII, xiii (2), 1202.
||Maitland, Hist. of Lond. 1325.
City of London Livery Companies' Com. Rep. ii, 58;
||Dugdale, Mon. Angl. vi, 744.
L. and P. Hen. VIII, xiii (2), 1202.