St John the Baptist, Marlborough


Victoria County History



R.B. Pugh, Elizabeth Crittall (editors)

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'Hospitals: St John the Baptist, Marlborough', A History of the County of Wiltshire: Volume 3 (1956), pp. 341-342. URL: Date accessed: 27 November 2014.


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King John's charter of 9 February 1215 confirmed to this hospital, and to the brethren and sisters, a virgate of land in Kennett which Henry of Kennett gave them; land in Marlborough granted by John, son of Alurich; land in the marsh of Marlborough given by Levenoth, son of Levenoth, in which the hospital was founded, and lands in Marlborough which Walter Pinnock gave them with his body, reserving the customs and services due to the Crown from burgesses. (fn. 1) Levenoth belonged to a family settled in or near Marlborough from the time of Edward the Confessor until (at any rate) 1333. (fn. 2)

About 1220 the prior and brethren of the hospital professed canonical obedience to the Bishop and Dean and Chapter of Salisbury, and to the Prebendary of Blewbury (Berks.). (fn. 3) Henry III gave them in 1223 20 rafters to repair their houses; in July 1225 10 rafters, since their houses had been burned down; in 1236 10 beams of timber, and in 1233 a permanent grant of firewood (to a limited quantity) from Savernake Forest. (fn. 4) He granted protection in 1226, 1251, 1254, 1258, and 1265. (fn. 5) Almost all these grants were made during the king's visits to Marlborough.

In 1267 the master of the hospital won an action of disseisin against John of Beckhampton and others in respect of a virgate at East Kennett. (fn. 6) The master and brethren, and their attorneys collecting alms in the churches, had protection for one year in May 1337. (fn. 7)

From 1315 to the end, presentations to the custody of the hospital were made by the mayor and burgesses. In 1499 John Walter, 'chaplain at St. John's hospital or priory', was cited to appear before Cardinal Morton's commissary. (fn. 8)

Robert Richardson, Vicar of St. Mary's, Marlborough, from 1495 to 1522, Rector of Collingbourne Ducis from 1506 to 1544, (fn. 9) and master of the hospital since 1510, made his return of the hospital's endowments in 1535. (fn. 10) The gross income was 5s. in spiritualities (oblations in the chapel); £4 7s. 4d. rents in Marlborough, 2s. rent of a meadow in Highway (in Hilmarton), 13s. rent at Oare (in Wilcot), 8s. 4d. rent of demesne in Lockeridge (in West Overton), and rents of 10s. each at East Kennett and Ogbourne St. Andrew and 4s. at Mildenhall. From the total of £7 0s. 4d. the king received a rent of 2s., the receiver-general and the chief steward nothing.

The chantry commissioners of 1546 gave the clear income as £8 3s. 7¾d., and the master as the only resident; those of 1548 gave the clear income as £8 16s. 11d. (fn. 11) The mayor and burgesses petitioned the king in 1548: the master was dead; the clear income was £7 16s. 11¾d., and they asked leave to convert the foundation into a free grammar school. (fn. 12) By letters patent of 18 October 1550 (fn. 13) they received, for £61 6s. 8d., a grant of the lands in Marlborough of two chantries, the hospital, with its lands at Manton (in Preshute), Mildenhall, Kennett, Ogbourne, and Elcot (in Preshute), except bells and lead roofs, and leave to erect and administer a grammar school. They sold the mayor's official plate to raise the purchase money. (fn. 14)

The hospital building was demolished in 15778, and a new school-house built on the site at a cost of £112. (fn. 15)

Masters, Wardens, or Priors

Walter, occurs c. 1220. (fn. 16)

Robert, occurs 1267. (fn. 17)

William of Burghill, presented 1315. (fn. 18)

Richard of Wetwang, presented 1318. (fn. 19)

William Robelard, occurs 1347. (fn. 20)

Walter Gibbes, presented 1349, resigned (on exchange) 1353. (fn. 21)

Nicholas Parham, presented (on exchange) 1353. (fn. 22)

Richard Synet, occurs 1374, resigned 1417. (fn. 23)

Thomas South, presented 1417, died 1458. (fn. 24)

William White, presented 1458, died 1463. (fn. 25)

John Browning, presented 1463. (fn. 26)

William Highway, presented 1502, resigned 1507. (fn. 27)

Thomas Barret, presented 1507, died 1510. (fn. 28)

Robert Richardson, presented 1510, died by 1548. (fn. 29)


1 Dugd. Mon. vi, 670; Rot. Cart. (Rec. Com.), 205b.
2 W.A.M. li, 41–42.
3 Sar. Chart. & Doc. (Rolls Ser.), 100.
4 Rot. Litt. Claus. (Rec. Com.), i, 539b, 587; ii, 53; Cal. Pat. 1232–47, 20; Close R. 1231–4, 236; 1234–7, 243.
5 Pat. R. 1225–32, 10; Cal. Pat. 1247–58, 100, 366, 633; 1258–66, 449.
6 Abbrev. Plac. (Rec. Com.), 164–5.
7 Cal. Pat. 1334–8, 431.
8 W.A.M. xxxvi, 547; li, 43.
9 Ibid. li, 43.
10 Valor Eccl. (Rec. Com.), ii, 147.
11 E 301/56/10; E301/59/10.
12 W.A.M. li, 44.
13 Cal. Pat. 1549–51, 226.
14 Hist. MSS. Com. 4th Rep., App., 351.
15 For origin and early history of the school see A. R. Stedman, 'History of Marlborough Grammar School', W.A.M. li, 41–112.
16 Sar. Chart. & Doc. (Rolls Ser.), 100.
17 Abbrev. Plac. (Rec. Com.), 164–5.
18 Phillipps, Wilts. Inst. i, 13.
19 Ibid. i, 15.
20 Sir T. Phillipps, Exc. ex Reg. Episc. Sar. 24; but the reference in Wyville's Reg. has not been found.
21 Phillipps, Wilts. Inst. i, 46, 51; Sar. Reg. Wyville, ii, ff. 209v., 248.
22 Phillipps, Wilts. Inst. i, 51.
23 Wykeham's Reg. (Hants Rec. Soc.), i, 274 (ordained sub-deacon 1374); W.A.M. li, 43. Vicar of St. Mary's, 1384–1414.
24 Phillipps, Wilts. Inst. i, 106, 148.
25 Ibid. 148, 153. Vicar of St. Mary's, 1458–62.
26 Ibid. 153.
27 Ibid. 181, 184.
28 Ibid. 184, 189. Rector of Collingbourne Ducis until 1506.
29 Ibid. 189; W.A.M. li, 43–44.