SS Mary & Cuthbert, Greatham


Victoria County History



William Page (editor)

Year published





Comment on this article
Double click anywhere on the text to add an annotation in-line

Citation Show another format:

'Hospitals: SS Mary & Cuthbert, Greatham', A History of the County of Durham: Volume 2 (1907), pp. 121-123. URL: Date accessed: 27 November 2014.


(Min 3 characters)


Greatham Hospital was founded in 1272 by Robert Stichill, bishop of Durham, who dedicated it to the Blessed Virgin and St. Cuthbert, and granted to it, by way of endowment, the manor of Greatham, free of all charges, and the advowson of the church. He also promised forty days' indulgence to any person making a charitable donation to the hospital, (fn. 1) and in his will left £200 for the improvements of the wood belonging to it. (fn. 2) In 1313 Bishop Kellaw granted to the house 17 acres of waste in Weardale Forest, with pasture for sixty cows, at an annual rent of 2s., (fn. 3) and it is stated in the charter of refoundation of James I that Henry IV bestowed upon Greatham Hospital a market and two fairs. (fn. 4)

The original foundation consisted of a master, five priests, two clerks, and forty poor men born on one or other of the bishop's manors. The master and the other priests, when officiating, were ordered to wear surplices and black hoods after the manner of the canons of St. Augustine; the hours of service to be the same as at Sherburn Hospital. (fn. 5)

The provision for the poor men at Greatham was on a very liberal scale. They seem to have been divided into two classes, distinguished by their dress, the quality of their food, and the fact that one class had, and the other had not, personal attendants of their own. In 1311 Matthew Lardener received a grant of an allowance for himself and his servant in the hospital. He was to have' the room called the Frerechamber' for his private use, and to sit at the chaplains' table, while his man dined with the other servants of the house. His daily portion consisted of two loaves—one of white bread, and the other of an inferior quality—a flagon of the best ale, and a mess of food from the kitchen. He also received fodder for his horse, and every year a gown for himself de secta armigerorum. (fn. 6)

The recipient of another fourteenth-century grant, of which we have the particulars, received daily a loaf of second-best bread, half a flagon of second-best ale, a rack [raccatum] of hay, and a peck of oats; with the use of a private chamber, litter for a horse, a candle and a peck of coals each winter, and every year a gown de secta garconum hospitalis. (fn. 7)

The early history of the hospital is singularly devoid of incident. An occasional dispute occurred as to the right of presentation to the mastership, (fn. 8) or the patronage of Greatham rectory; (fn. 9) and in 1378 the bishop commissioned the priors of Durham and Finchale to visit the hospital. (fn. 10) No record, however, of this visitation exists.

The clear value of the house was given in 1535 as £97 6s. 3d. (fn. 11) Being a lay foundation it did not fall within either of the dissolving statutes, but continued to exist. (fn. 12) The Royal Commissioners in 1594 reported that the possessions of the hospital included the township of Greatham, and the tithe corn of Greatham and Claxton, together with a large quantity of stock and household gear. There were then only thirteen brethren, who received in all, besides diet and fire in the brother-house, £14 4s. a year. Four persons were awaiting admission when a vacancy should occur, and were meanwhile in receipt of a small annual sum. The hospital retained the following staff of servants and officials:—Porter, clerk of the chapel, bailiff of the liberties, cook, under-cook, butler, baker, brewer, horsekeeper, laundress, four women servants, shepherd, neatherd, slaughterer, swineherd, sixteen labourers, steward, and two serving men. Henry Dethicke, LL.B., was master; but service was said twice a day by the vicar of Greatham, who received in return his diet and £2 per annum. (fn. 13)

King James I refounded the hospital, 20 July, 1610, settling the number of inmates at thirteen, all to be poor men and unmarried; and confirmed the possessions of the house. (fn. 14)

In 1761 the then master of Greatham built almshouses for six poor women near the hospital, (fn. 15) and in 1788 the chapel was pulled down and rebuilt. A skeleton with a chalice was found in the old building, and was re-interred. (fn. 16)

Masters of Greatham Hospital

Andrew Stanley, coll. 23 January, 1272-3 (fn. 17)

Thomas de Levesham, occ. 22 November, 1301 (fn. 18)

John de Botheby, occ. 1311, (fn. 19) 1313 (fn. 20)

William de Middleton, occ. 18 January, 1343-4 (fn. 21)

William de Tykhill, appointed by the king, 11 May, 1345 (fn. 22)

William de Middleton, occ. 1348-9 (fn. 23)

John Stockton, occ. 1351 (fn. 24)

William de Westeley, coll. 12 May, 1351 (fn. 25) ; occ. 1353 (fn. 26)

Thomas de Bridekirk, occ. 1358-9 (fn. 27)

William de Westeley, coll. 7 August, 1361, p.m. Th. de Bridekirk (fn. 28)

Henry Snayth, app. by the king, 18 November, 1361 (fn. 29) ; admitted by the bishop, 30 January, 1361-2 (fn. 30)

John de Sleford, coll. 18 June, 1363, p.r. Henry Snayth (fn. 31)

Henry Snayth, coll. 1 December, 1363, p.r. John of Sleford (fn. 32)

William de Denby, coll. 20 July, 1366, by exchange with Henry Snayth (fn. 33)

John de Henley, occ. 28 August, 1372 (fn. 34)

John Burgess, occ. 27 November, 1384 (fn. 35)

Thomas Weston, occ. 9 October, 1407 (fn. 36)

John de Tybbay [? Tebay], coll. 18 October, 1408, p.m. T. Weston (fn. 37)

Ralph Steel, occ. 1415 (fn. 38)

John Hunteman, coll. 2 April, 1415, by exchange with R. Steel (fn. 39)

? A Master, name unknown, app. April, 1421 (fn. 40)

Nicholas Hulme, occ. 1433 (fn. 41)

John Soulby, coll. 25 August, 1433, by exchange with N. Hulme (fn. 42)

Robert Tatman, coll. 2 March, 1439-40 (fn. 43)

John Lathom, occ. 20 April, 1441 (fn. 44)

William Scroop, occ. 1451 (fn. 45)

John Keeling, elected 1463 (fn. 46)

William Estfield (fn. 47)

Edward Stryngwish, coll. 26 August, 1500, p.m. W. Estfield (fn. 48)

Humphrey Gascoin, occ. 1532 (fn. 49)

Thomas Sparke, occ. 1541 (fn. 50)

John Kingsmill, occ. 1 March, 1571-2 (fn. 51) ; 1585 (fn. 52)

John Barnes, instit. 3 November, 1585 (fn. 53)

Henry Dethicke, occ. 1594; (fn. 54) 20 July, 1610 (fn. 55)

Ferdinand Moorcroft, res. 13 July, 1619 (fn. 56)

William Neile, coll. 13 November, 1619 (fn. 57)

John Cosin, coll. 22 June, 1624, p.m. W. Neile; (fn. 58) res. 24 July, 1624 (fn. 59)

Gabriel Clarke, coll. 24 July, 1624, p.r. J. Cosin; (fn. 60) ejected by the Roundheads 16 (sic) (fn. 61)

Samuel Rand, M.D. occ. 1644 (fn. 62)

Simon Askew, occ. 1653 (fn. 63)

Thomas Potter (fn. 64) , occ. 19 May, 1662 (fn. 65)

Sir Gilbert Gerard, kt. and bart., app. 27 May, 1663, p. r. Thomas Potter (fn. 66)

John Parkhurst, occ. 30 October, 1676 (fn. 67)

Dormer Parkhurst, occ. 2 June, 1711; (fn. 68) 1761 (fn. 69)

Nicholas Halhead, occ. 14 August, 1764 (fn. 70)

John William Egerton, occ. 1785; (fn. 71) 1788 (fn. 72)

The earl of Bridgewater, occ. 1819 (fn. 73)

The hon. Augustus Barrington, d. 1860

Rev. J. B. Tristram, M.A., app. 1860; res. 1874

Rev. — James, M.A., app. 1874; d. 1885

Rev. R. Wolters, app. 1885; d. 1893

Rev. J. F. Hodgson, app. 1894; d. 1897

Rev. S. Barradell Smith, app. 1897, pres. master

The seal still in use at Greatham Hospital is the seal of Stephen Payn, almoner to Henry V. (fn. 74) It is a pointed oval, with a figure of Payn beneath a canopy, bearing in his hands a ship. At the top are the arms of Edward the Confessor; on the left those of England and France; and on the right what are supposed to be the paternal arms of Payn himself. Legend—


Below the figure—

'STEPH'S . PAYN.' (fn. 75)


1 Found. Chart., printed in Allan's Collections relating to Greatham Hospital.
2 Reg. Palat. Dun. (Rolls Ser.), i, 318.
3 Allan, Coll.
4 Ibid.
5 Ordination, printed in Allan's Coll.
6 Reg. Palat. Dun. ii, 727.
7 Allan, Coll.
8 Ibid.; see Dur. Epis. Reg. Hatfield, fols. 121-32.
9 Reg. Palat. Dun. i, 217.
10 Dur. Epis. Reg. Hatfield, fol. 140d.
11 In the list of hospitals in Bishop Tunstall's Epis. Reg. 1530, the value is given as £26 13s. 4d.
12 Allan, Coll.
13 Arch. Aeliana (New Ser.), vi, 41.
14 Allan, Coll.
15 Hutchinson, Hist. Dur. iii, 104.
16 Gent. Mag. 1788, p. 1046.
17 Ordinatio, printed in Allan's Coll.
18 Dugdale, Mon. Angl. (ed. 1846), vi, 690; see Reg. Palat. Dun. i, 318; ii, 784.
19 Reg. Palat. Dun. ii, 727.
20 Ibid. i, 318.
21 Ibid. iii, 365.
22 Pat. 19 Edw. III, pt. 1, m. 12.
23 Rot. A. Hatfield; anno pont. 4.
24 Dugdale, Mon. Angl. (ed. 1846), vi, 690.
25 Dur. Epis. Reg. Hatfield.
26 Allan, Coll.
27 Rot. A. Hatfield, anno pont. 14.
28 Dur. Epis. Reg. Hatfield, fol. 121.
29 Allan, Coll.
30 Dur. Epis. Reg. Hatfield, fol. 125.
31 Ibid. fol. 132.
32 Ibid.
33 Ibid. fol. 138.
34 Dugdale, Mon. Angl. (ed. 1846), vi. 690.
35 Pat. 8 Ric. II, pt. 1, m. 6.
36 Wills and Invent. (Surt. Soc.), ii, 47.
37 Dur. Epis. Reg. Langley, fol. 28 d.
38 Ibid. fol. 69 d.
39 Ibid.
40 Ibid. fol. 275.
41 Ibid. fol. 205.
42 Ibid.
43 Allan, Coll.
44 Dugdale, Mon. Angl. (ed. 1846), vi, 690.
45 Ibid.
46 Ibid.
47 Allan's Coll.
48 Dur. Epis. Reg. Fox, fol. 39.
49 Dugdale, ut supra.
50 Ibid.; see Wills and Invent. (Surt. Soc.), i, 379n.
51 Dugdale, ut supra.
52 Add. MSS. Brit. Mus. 32657, fol. 192. Kingsmill, however, had been deprived in 1581 'propter defectum ordinum ecclesiasticorum'; Hunter's MS. No. 12, p. 5.
53 Dur. Epis. Reg. Barnes, fol. 20.
54 Royal Com. Rep. 1594; Arch. Aeliana (New Ser.), vi, 41.
55 Dugdale, ut supra.
56 Dur. Epis. Reg. Neile, fol. 11.
57 Ibid. fol. 21.
58 Ibid. fol. 66.
59 Ibid. fol. 67.
60 Ibid. fol. 69
61 Surt. Hist. Dur. i (2), 12.
62 Dugdale, Mon. Angl. (ed. 1846), vi, 690.
63 Ibid.
64 On 1 May, 1662, Chancellor Burwell commissioned S. Davison and J. Farrar to govern Greatham Hospital, 'vacant p. m. Dr. Clarke'; Hunter's MS. No. 11, p. 70.)
65 Dur. Epis. Reg. Cosin (ad fin. Neile), fol. 108 d.
66 Ibid. fol. 108.
67 Dugdale, Mon. Angl. (ed. 1846), vi, 690.
68 Ibid.
69 Hutchinson, Hist. Dur. iii, 104.
70 Dugdale, ut supra.
71 Ibid.
72 Gent. Mag. 1788, p. 1046.
73 This and the following names are given from information kindly supplied by the present master.
74 It has been conjectured that possibly the hospital was in the king's hands between 1413 (the date of his accession) and 1419, when Payn died; but this seems hardly likely, as Bishop Langley collated a master in 1415. (See above.)
75 Hutchinson, Hist. Dur. iii, 103; Gent. Mag. 1860 (2), 144.