MAISON DE DIEU.
Maison De Dieu was founded by royal license, June 10, 1412, by the munificent Roger de Thornton, for a warden, being a priest; nine poor men, brethren;
and four poor women, sisters; who were to be provided with meat and clothing in this
"House of God," where they should pray daily for the health of the mayor, sheriff,
aldermen, and commonalty of Newcastle, and, after their respective deaths, for their
souls, and the souls of the father and mother of the founder, and of all the benefactors of the hospital. This institution was dedicated to St. Katherine, and called
Thornton's Hospital in Newcastle upon Tyne.
The founder, in 1403, obtained a license to alien in mortmain to the mayor and
commonalty of the town a piece of ground, on the south side of the Sandhill, 100
feet in length, and 24 in breadth, upon which he intended to erect this hospital,
which edifice was probably completed at the date of its foundation, nine years afterwards. In 1424, king Henry VI. granted a license to the founder to assign a portion
of ten messuages and ten tofts, with their appurtenances, in Newcastle, of the value
of seven pounds per annum, to this hospital, in aid of their support for ever.
Roger Thornton, by will dated the Thursday before Christmas-day, 1429, bequeathed to this place, which he styles "The Meson-Dieu of St. Katherine of my
foundation, for their enorments," twenty pounds. In 1456, the son of the founder
granted to the mayor and community of Newcastle upon Tyne, the use of the hall
and kitchen belonging to this hospital, to the following purpose: "for a young
couple," says the Milbank MS. "when they were married, to make their wedding
dinner in, and receive the offerings and gifts of their friends: for at that time houses
were not large."
Sir John Lomley, Knt. Lord of Lomley, the true and undoubted patron, in 1531
granted to Robert Ayton, of Fishborn, in the county of Durham, and to Robert
Halyman, of Newcastle, yeoman, jointly, the next vacation, nomination and jus patronatus of the free chapel of St. Catherine, called Masyndue.
In the 37th king Henry VIII. (fn. 1) this charitable establishment was dissolved; but
it still continued in the Thornton family. In 1551, it appears that five poor women
resided in the Maison Dieu; and in 1586, Martin Hallyman occurs as the master.
Sir Richard Lumley, a descendant of Thornton by the female line, in 1629 conveyed
to the mayor and burgesses of Newcastle upon Tyne, and their successors for ever,
"all that building of stone covered with lead, standing near to the water of Tyne,
and to the east part of the town's chamber of the said town of Newcastle, being
about sixteen yards in length, and anciently part of, and belonging to the hospital of
St. Catherine the Virgin, commonly called Thornton's Hospital." This deed seems
to have been executed in consideration of one hundred pounds, paid to Sir Richard,
An annual rent was also reserved.
In Speed's plan of Newcastle, the Maison Dieu is the only public place, or building, marked on the Sandhill. Grey, in his Chorography, printed in 1649, says that
"the Merchants' Court was built upon the Maison Dieu." The house itself was
converted into warehouses; but, in 1823, it was pulled down, and a fish-market has
been erected upon its scite, with a new hall above for the company of Free