20. THE HOSPITAL OF ST. MARY MAGDALENE, DUNSTABLE
This hospital was founded, like so many
others, near the end of the twelfth century,
receiving in 1209 from King John a letter of
safe conduct for those who were collecting
alms on behalf of the house. (fn. 1) It was probably founded under the patronage of the
prior and canons of Dunstable, for the benefit of their town, and was intended for lepers
as well as other sick people. The masters of
the hospital were appointed by the prior, but
the name of only one is known early in the
thirteenth century; he was called Roger, and
was a chaplain of the priory. (fn. 2) In 1293 the
lepers of Dunstable erected a new bell, larger
than they had ever had before, and hung it on
a crossbar between two poles in front of their
house; but the prior seems for some reason to
have suspected their motives in doing this, for
he sent and had it taken down, restoring it
afterwards on the condition that it should
never be used for his parishioners nor for calling people together. (fn. 3)
The hospital was still in existence in 1338,
for the master and brethren received at that
time another letter of protection from the
king, and permission to collect alms; (fn. 4) but it
is not heard of at any later date.
||Pat. 10 John, m. 1 (28 March 1209).
||Harl. MS. 1885, f. 36b. Grant by Richard
de Morins, prior of Dunstable, 'of the care and
custody of our hospital' of St. Mary Magdalene,
for lepers and other sick people, to Roger, chaplain
Ann. Mon. (Rolls Series), iii. 381.
||Pat. 11 Edw. III. pt. 2, m. 24.