HOSPITAL OF ST. MARY MAGDALEN.
The Hospital of St. Mary Magdalen was founded by king Henry I. for a master,
brethren, and three sisters, to receive persons afflicted with the leprosy. (fn. 1) The grant
was confirmed by a papal bull, by which they were also exempted from tythes. In
1291, the master and brethren received a license of mortmain from king Edward I.
to hold a house in Newcastle, which John de Hercelaw had bequeathed to them by
will. The munificent Roger Thornton, by will dated in 1429, left two pounds to
the "lepremen" of Newcastle. In the year 1535, this house was valued, according to
Speed, at £9, 11s. 4d. per annum. It was dissolved by statute of 31 king Henry
VIII.; but it never came in charge before the king's auditors, or paid rent to his
On January 20, 1542, Edward Burrell, clerk, and "master of the hospitall of St.
Mary Magdelayne without Pilgrimstreate yett within the subberbs of the town of
Newcastell upon Tyne and previsour of the chapell of St. Jaymes and of the Lazer
house neighe adjoyneing to the said hospitall," and the brethren and sisters of the
same lazar-house, granted to (Sir) Robert Brandling, merchant, a lease of the lands
belonging thereto, for a term of eighty-five years. This lease included "all that
their wholl mine or mynes of colls lyeinge or being within the close called St. James'
Close belonging to the said hospital or lazar house or ether of them with way leve,"
&c. The rent £3, 6s. 8d. per annum: "and for the colls yff any coll myne or mynes
can be found in the said close the master brethren and sisters and their successors to
have yearly the third part of the profitt of the said colls bearing the thride part of
the charges of the same or els £3, 6s. 8d. of mony yearly." In this lease, the "laith
or barne and stack garth," and "a place called Spitell-Tongs, adjoining to Castle
Fields," occurs; for the lessee had liberty "to sinke coll pit or pitts within the said
close called Spittel-Tongs, and the Loneing and Jesmond Fields." This lease was
confirmed by the mayor and burgesses, February 10th, 34 of Henry VIII. A copy
of it is preserved in the archives of the corporation; and on the back is mentioned
"Barras Price," valued to be some eleven acres. (fn. 2)
This hospital, according to Tanner, (fn. 3) was granted away by queen Elizabeth, in the
year 1582; though it was afterwards re-established in the year 1611, when the chapel of St. Thomas the Martyr, on Tyne Bridge, was annexed thereto by a charter of
king James I. The account of St. Mary Magdalen's Hospital will therefore be resumed in the history of St. Thomas' chapel.
This hospital, according to Bourne, had fourteen persons residing in it, each of
whom was allowed a room, coals, and eight shillings a month. Fifteen others were
a sort of out-patients, with different allowances; some of eight shillings, some of
five shillings, and some of two shillings and sixpence a month. Part of the hospital
is still remaining behind the Bay Nag public house; adjoining to which is the Magdalen, or, as it is vulgarly called, the Maudlin, Meadows. Near this is St. Mary
Magdalen's Well. This place has formerly been rich in rural beauties.