A History of the County of Bedford: Volume 1. Originally published by Victoria County History, London, 1904.
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17. THE HOSPITAL OF ST. MARY MAGDALENE, LUTON
This hospital is said to have been founded by Saint Thomas of Canterbury, on the authority of a charter issued by the brethren and sisters in October 1465. (fn. 39) Another charter dated 1377 (fn. 40) refers to the same house; there is no other mention of it earlier or later. It was evidently a hospital for the sick, served, like many other such foundations, by brethren and sisters who followed some form of the rule of St. Augustine. The charter of 1465 is a quaint and most pretentious document, (fn. 41) offering indulgences on quite a scale to all who should contribute to the support of the hospital; on the authority of five popes, eight Archbishops of Canterbury, and some also of York and many successive Bishops of London, Chester, Chichester, Valence, Hereford, Worcester, Ely, Norwich and Lincoln. It is witnessed by Lord Wenlock, Sir Thomas Hoo and the vicar of Luton. The hospital does not appear in the Valor Ecclesiasticus; it was probably richer in spiritual privileges than in temporal possessions.
18. THE HOSPITAL OF ST. JOHN BAPTIST, LUTON
This hospital, which was for the accommodation of lepers, is only known through a single mention of it in the Patent Rolls. In 1285 Nicholas le Heyward was put in exigent for burning the house of Richard atte Wynche; and for binding the lepers of the hospital of St. John Baptist, Luton. (fn. 42)
19. THE HOSPITAL OF FARLEY NEAR LUTON
The hospital at Farley near Luton was founded early in the reign of Henry II. on lands granted by him in 1156 to the brethren of 'Santingfeld' near Wissant (fn. 1); a master is first mentioned in 1198–9. (fn. 2) The endowment consisted of lands in Ludgershall (fn. 3) near Brill, Bucks, and in Farley near Luton, worth respectively £3 and £2 a year. It was a hospital for the poor, and appears to have been dedicated to St. John Baptist like those at Bedford, Hockliffe, Toddington, etc. Its masters are several times mentioned in legal documents, but nothing is known of the history of the house and its inmates generally. It is possible that the story of the theft of some relics of St. Luke from the 'hermitage of Farley' in 1431, and how the three thieves were pursued by the men of Dunstable as far as Barnet and the relics recovered, may refer to the chapel of the hospital, (fn. 4) though there may have been an actual hermitage in the neighbourhood.
As this hospital was a cell of the hospital at 'Santingfeld,' it was reckoned in the fifteenth century amongst the alien priories, and granted in February 1448 to King's College, Cambridge. (fn. 5)
In 1291 the master of Farley had a mill, woods and rents valued at £5 12s. altogether. (fn. 6)
A monument in Luton church which was long thought to be that of Lord Wenlock is now proved to be the tomb of William de Wenlock, master of Farley 1377 to 1392. (fn. 7)
Masters of Farley (fn. 8)
Mauger, (fn. 9) occurs 1198
William, (fn. 10) " 1239
John de la Rokele, (fn. 11) occurs 1296
John of Felmersham, (fn. 12) " 1347
William Lachebury, (fn. 13) " 1347
William of Wenlock, (fn. 14) occurs 1377, died 1392