A History of the County of Derby: Volume 2. Originally published by Victoria County History, London, 1907.
This free content was digitised by double rekeying. All rights reserved.
12. THE HOSPITAL OF ALKMONTON
At Alkmonton, a township of Longford parish, Robert de Bakepuze, of Barton Blount (then called Barton Bakepuze) founded a hospital for female lepers, about 1100, having the common dedication of St. Leonard. This was the same Robert de Bakepuze who was a benefactor of Abingdon abbey in the time of Henry I. His son John was also a benefactor of this hospital. (fn. 1) The last heir male of Bakepuze died in the reign of Richard II, when the Derbyshire estates were purchased by Sir Walter Blount. At that time the suffix of Barton, where that family had their chief residence for several generations, was changed to Barton Blount. Sir Walter, the king's standard-bearer, was slain at the battle of Shrewsbury, and his second wife and relict, Dame Sancha de Ayala, a Spanish lady, refounded this hospital (which seems to have languished on the gradual dying-out of leprosy) in 1406, further endowing it so as to maintain a chaplain, who should pray for the souls of herself, her husband, her children, and her brothers and sisters. (fn. 2)
Walter Blount, Lord Mountjoy, great-grandson of Sir Walter Blount, by his will, dated 8 July, 1474, still further endowed and changed the nature of this hospital. He directed his executors to purchase lands to the value of £10 per annum, to be appropriated to the hospital of St. Leonard, between Alkmonton and Bentley, to pray for the souls of his ancestors as also for his own soul, his wives and children's souls; the souls of Humphrey duke of Buckingham, Richard Earl Rivers, Sir John Woodvyle, knight; and for the souls of the lords in old time of that hospital.
Moreover he ordained that the master of that hospital for the time being should find continually seven poor men, to be chosen by him out of such as had been or henceforth should be old serving-men with the lord and patron of the lordship of Barton, and of the same hospital of St. Leonard, or else out of the old tenants of the lordships of the said lords and patrons for the time being, within the counties of Derby and Stafford; and that the master, for the time being, should pay weekly unto those seven poor men 2s. 4d. Also that every of them at the time of his election should be at the age of fifty and five years at the least; and that those seven poor men should have seven kine grazing within his park at Barton, and seven loads of wood yearly for their fuel, to be taken within his lordships of Barton, Alkmonton, and Bentley, or other lordships in Appletree Hundred in the county of Derby. Likewise that the said master should every third year give unto each of these seven poor men a gown and a hood of white or russet, and of one suit; one time white and another time russet; the gown to be marked with a tau cross of red; and that none of those poor men should go a-begging upon pain of removal from the hospital. Moreover that every of them should be obliged to say daily Our Lady's Psalter twice within the chapel of the same hospital. He likewise appointed that there should be a mansion, with a square court, built next to the same chapel, without any back door, and that the roof of that chapel should be raised, the walls enhanced, the windows made with strong iron-work, with a quire and perclose, and two altars without the quire. Furthermore that the master should wear neither red nor green, but upon his gown of other colour, a tau cross of blue upon his left side; and have no other benefice except the parsonage of Barton. He likewise willed that a chapel of St. Nicholas should be built at Alkmonton; that the master of the hospital should say Mass there yearly on the feast of St. Nicholas, and at other times by his discretion. (fn. 3)
The prior of Gresley, as collector of the clerical subsidy in 1418, reported that the keeper of the hospital of Alkmonton refused to pay his quota, (fn. 4) but beyond this incidental notice of its existence the hospital appears to have enjoyed the happiness of having no history.
The Chantry Roll at the end of Henry VIII's reign has the following entry:—
The free chapel of Alkemonton spyttell being covered withe leade founded by William Blounte late Lorde Mountejoye for a prieste to saye masse and to praye for his soule his auncestors soules and all Crystyan soules whereof there is shewed no foundacyon but a gyfte of the same late lorde Mountejoye dated xij die Februarii anno xiiij duo Rege nunc for the next avoydance thereof granted to John Blunte gent and Walter his sone to presente a prieste there—6li clere as apperithe by a lease thereof made to John Bentelye for xxi yeres dated xv die Novembii Anno xxxvij domino Regis nunc which 6li imployed to the lyvynge of John Parc chaplyn there. It is distaunte from the parishe church j myle, and hathe a mancyon howse charged with vjli—stock liijs. vjd. (fn. 5)
The hospital of St. Leonard, with its seven poor pensioners, as well as the adjoining parochial chapel of St. Nicholas, were swept away in the reign of Edward VI. A messuage called 'a Spittle house' with many adjacent closes and meadows were sold to John Bellowe and Edward Streetbury for £121 3s. 8d. (fn. 6)