A History of the County of Berkshire: Volume 2. Originally published by Victoria County History, London, 1907.
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22. THE HOSPITAL OF ST. BARTHOLOMEW, NEWBURY
It is not known at what date the hospital of St. Bartholomew, Newbury, was founded. It was extant in the reign of John, when it was a recipient of the royal favour. On 7 July, 1215, John instructed the sheriff of Berkshire to give all facilities to the hospital of St. Bartholomew at Newbury, and to the brethren serving God there, to have a two days' annual fair at Newbury on the day and on the morrow of St. Bartholomew. (fn. 1)
William Otnel, rector of Shaw, granted circa 1260 to this hospital, and its brethren and sisters, and to the poor folk resorting there, all the holding with 16 acres of arable land in Newbury which he had bought of Simon White, 2½ acres bought of Simon le Cur, and 1 acre bought of John Showe, for the health of his soul and the souls of his ancestors. (fn. 2)
Protection, that is authority for the collecting of alms, was granted in October, 1285, for three years for the brethren of the hospital of St. Bartholomew, Newbury. (fn. 3)
About 1295 John le Frankelayn granted to Henry, warden of the house of St. Bartholomew, 1½ acres of land and the third of a croft. In 1311 there was a further grant of lands in Eastfield, Newbury, by Edmund de la Bulhuse. (fn. 4)
On 27 August, 1301, Bishop Simon de Gandavo instituted William de Byschopeston, priest, to the custody or wardenship of the hospital, with its brethren and sisters. (fn. 5) From that date onwards, down to 1510, the episcopal registers of Sarum give the succession of the hospital wardens. These institutions were made on the presentation of the commonalty of the town of Newbury.
The warden or custos of this house is sometimes termed the prior, and, judging from analogy, the brethren and sisters followed to some extent the Austin rule and were under vows. The warden was of course always in priest's orders, and the buildings included a chapel and fit accommodation for the entertainment of the aged and infirm to whom the hospital ministered.
The commissioners of Henry VIII, in 1546, reported that the origin of the hospital was unknown, but that it was founded to maintain a priest to sing in the hospital, and two poor men to pray there continually. The annual value was returned as £23 1s. 8½d., from which sum £4 was paid to the priest, and 26s. 8d. to the two bedesmen. The large balance, save what was required for repairs and tithes, went to 'Sir Roger Bermer, clerke, Mr. of the same hospytall.' (fn. 6)
From this it is manifest that this hospital, like so many others, had by this time fallen into bad hands; the master absorbed more than threefourths of the income, the sisters had disappeared, the brethren were reduced to two, and the poor and infirm had lost all share of the endowment.
It appears from proceedings in the Court of Exchequer that in 1554 the master and two brethren of this hospital demised all their lands and rents to one Philip Kistill and three others for the term of sixty-one years, and that in 1576 an information was laid by the Attorney-General against Philip for intruding upon chantry or priory lands that were escheated to the crown by the Chantry Act of 1548. The defendants denied that they were priory or chantry lands, and after the examination of divers witnesses by interrogations, it was decided that it was a hospital for poor men and was outside the Acts. The oldest of the six witnesses was Robert Flagget, clothworker of Newbury, aged 94.
All the witnesses deposed to having known two priors who were masters of governors, 'Sir Maggott' and 'Mr. Bromall'; they were always called priors, and boarded in the house adjoining the church or chapel of St. Bartholomew. One Philip, a monk, hired by Mr. Bromall, also boarded there. The prior was always a religious person (that is under vows); he used to say mass in the church and there was burying of the dead in the churchyard. Flagget did not know, nor had he ever heard, of any poor people kept or maintained by either of these priors, of alms or charity within or near the house; but William Blandye, aged 72, remembered four people in the house at one time, and afterwards two, who received 20s. a year. The witness deposed to a curious custom that used to prevail of the wives of the town of Newbury, on the morrow after they were churched, visiting the chapel of St. Bartholomew with their midwives, and there making offerings of wax, candles, money, &c., and these oblations were converted to the use of the prior for the time being, and for no other purpose. Sir Bromall was the last prior; he left the house and town about 1547. After his departure the inhabitants of Newbury took upon them the management of the house and received the rents, Philip Kistill being one of them; the statements of the witnesses on this point were conflicting, but apparently the old house was pulled down, four small tenements erected, and four almsmen maintained therein by the town. Blandye stated that the town presented 'one Mr. Pyckeringe to be master of the same hospital, before Bushopp Jewell,' and the inhabitants chose two proctors to gather up the rents and to pay the master and the poor people their stipend.
The steeple of the church, with two bells, was pulled down by the inhabitants. They deposed that the house was then governed 'by certain of the chefest of the inhabytantes, as Mr. Kistill, Mr. Chamberlayne, &c.' The chapel was converted into a schoolhouse in the time of Edward VI. (fn. 7)
Wardens of St. Bartholomew's Hospital, Newbury
Henry, circa 1295 (fn. 8)
William de Byschopeston, 1301 (fn. 9)
John de Gloucester, 1313 (fn. 10)
Richard Orsett, 1333 (fn. 11)
John le Sone, 1338 (fn. 12)
Henry dic'le Vicary de Aldermaston, 1341 (fn. 13)
Michael Lawles, 1362 (fn. 14)
Henry Pake, 1381 (fn. 15)
Thomas Whyston, 1381 (fn. 16)
Henry Hales, 1383 (fn. 17)
Roger Russel, 1391 (fn. 18)
Thomas Pall, 1402 (fn. 19)
William Baker, 1438 (fn. 20)
William Hutchyns, 1441 (fn. 21)
John Bradstone, 1443 (fn. 22)
William Mahew, 1451 (fn. 23)
Robert Bryteyn, resigned 1463 (fn. 24)
William Belyngham, 1463 (fn. 25)
William Bray, 1469 (fn. 26)
Edmund Worthyngton, 1508 (fn. 27)
Robert Strete, 1510 (fn. 28)
John Magott, 1522 (fn. 29)
Roger Bridmold alias Bromall, 1540 (fn. 30)
23. THE HOSPITAL OF ST. MARY MAGDALEN, NEWBURY
There was a leper hospital for women at Newbury; but we have only succeeded in finding a single reference to it. On 26 July, 1232, the hospital of St. Mary Magdalen, Newbury, for leprous women obtained the crown protection. (fn. 31)