A History of the County of Hertford: Volume 4. Originally published by Victoria County History, London, 1971.
This free content was digitised by double rekeying. All rights reserved.
27. HOSPITAL OF ST. JOHN AND ST. JAMES, ROYSTON
The founder of the hospital of St. James at Royston (fn. 1) was probably Richard Argentein, as stated in 1547-8. (fn. 2) The patronage belonged in 1276 to his son Giles Argentein, and continued to be exercised by his descendants (fn. 3); while the house was certainly in existence in Richard's time, since in 1227 Walter de Gray, Archbishop of York, granted an indulgence of thirteen days to all who contributed to the support of the sick brothers and sisters coming to the hospital of the Blessed Virgin Mary and St. James of Royston. (fn. 4)
Possibly it was a hospital not only for the sick but for poor wayfarers: in 1389 it is mentioned as the house of alms, (fn. 5) and the Chantry Returns, although confusing the hospital with a chantry there, (fn. 6) report that it was founded for the relief of poor people coming and going through the town of Royston.
In 1302 Bishop Dalderby visited the hospital by deputy, and found its state entirely satisfactory. (fn. 9)
Very little is known about its affairs. The master of St. James was a party to a law-suit about a tenement in 1260-1, (fn. 10) and in 1295 the hospital was taxed at 11s. 2¾d. for the eleventh and seventh. (fn. 11) Before the middle of the 14th century the chapel of St. Nicholas was amalgamated with the hospital of St. James, (fn. 12) to the material benefit of the latter, which also in August 1359 received permission from the king to acquire in mortmain land to the annual value of 100s. (fn. 13)
In 1389 Thomas Strete bequeathed to the house 20s. to buy beds, (fn. 14) and in 1393 Henry Strete left 6s. 8d. towards the roof of its chapel.
How long the place continued as a hospital is uncertain : in 1486 it was already a free chapel. (fn. 15) It is still called hospital in the Valor, (fn. 16) but the term is evidently a mere survival, as in the Chantry Returns of 1549-50 where it is applied to what was obviously the chantry of St. Nicholas refounded in the hospital of St. James in the 14th century. (fn. 17)
Its yearly value in 1535 was £5 6s. 10d. net, (fn. 18) in 1549-50 £7 5s. 5d. gross and £6 8s. 6½d. net, (fn. 19) its revenues being apparently derived from property in Barley and Therfield (co. Hertford), Kneesworth, Melbourn and Chishall (co. Cambridge). (fn. 20)
Masters or Wardens of the Hospital of St. John and St. James, Royston
Walter Spersholt, resigned 1363 (fn. 29)
John de Eston, instituted July 1363 (fn. 30)
Philip Walles, resigned 1377 (fn. 31)
Thomas Gery, instituted 1389 (fn. 34)
Thomas Foulmere, resigned 1397 (fn. 35)
John Wigworth, instituted 1397 (fn. 36)
Robert Eyr, instituted 1408 (fn. 37)
John Yernyng, instituted 1444 (fn. 38)
William Alyngton, died 1452 (fn. 39)