41. THE HOSPITAL OF HASTINGS
The date and circumstances in which this
hospital was founded are unknown, and the first
mention of it appears to be in 1294 when Petronilla de Cham, widow, gave to the brethren
and sisters of the hospital of St. Mary Magdalen
in Hastings 5 acres of land in the parish of
St. Margaret. (fn. 1) Protection was granted to the
master and brethren in 1320, (fn. 2) and in 1381
the proctors of the hospital obtained letters of
commendation to the clergy of the diocese of
Canterbury. (fn. 3)
The nature of the hospital is best described in
the words of the Hastings custumal:— (fn. 4)
The bailiff shall have the visitation of the hospital of
St. Mary Magdalen of Hastings once a year; and
there shall be in the said hospital brethren and sisters,
sometimes more and sometimes less; but no brother
or sister shall be received into the aforesaid hospital
except by the assent of the bailiff and the commonalty.
And the rules of the aforesaid hospital shall be read
before the bailiff at the time of the visitation, at
which he shall demand and enquire whether they
be well kept or not; and . . . the bailiff shall
enquire into the life of all the brethren and sisters
examined, and if any of them be attainted the bailiff
may remove him if he will. And the bailiff by the
assent of his fellows if he shall find a man in the
said commonalty infirm, and who has conducted
himself in accordance with the usages of the ports
for all time, and who shall be impoverished . . .
may put such into the said hospital to partake of
the sustenance of the brethren and sisters without
paying anything to the said hospital.
Apparently the hospital survived the Reformation, and was still in existence at the beginning
of Elizabeth's reign, but came to an end before
the close of the sixteenth century, its possessions
being diverted to other charitable objects.
Hist. MSS. Com. Rep. xiii, App. pt. iv, 354.
||Pat. 13 Edw. III, m. 11.
Hist. MSS. Com. Rep. viii, 340.
Suss. Arch. Coll. xiv. 79.