A History of the County of Oxford: Volume 2. Originally published by Victoria County History, London, 1907.
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39. THE HOSPITAL OF ST. BARTHOLOMEW, OXFORD
The Hospital of St. Bartholomew for lepers, which stands near Cowley Marsh, was founded by Henry I, (fn. 1) for twelve sick persons and a chaplain, and endowed by him with the sum of £23 0s. 5d. a year from the firma of the city of Oxford, being 1d. a day for each of the thirteen inmates, and 5s. a year for clothing. He also gave two loads of hay every year from the king's mead near Oseney. (fn. 2) Though close to Cowley it was in the manor of Headington, and the advowson of it did not belong to the Crown like the advowson of St. John's Hospital, but to the lord of Headington, (fn. 3) a manor nearly always in the hands of the king. It is said that the hospital was founded at the time when the king built his palace at Beaumont, Oxford; but it certainly existed in 1129, at which date it is mentioned on the Pipe Roll. King Stephen (1135-9) confirmed the thirteen 'prebends' and likewise Henry II (fn. 4) (1154-60); and the Pipe Roll of 1162 shows 60s. spent on the building 'of the infirm of Oxford.' In 1194 Pope Celestine confirmed the liberties and rents granted by Henry I, and in 1238 Pope Gregory conferred on them an immunity from paying tithes of garden produce, copse-wood, and the increase of their animals. (fn. 4) During the thirteenth century the hospital received various small gifts, as we learn from the Hundred Rolls, but a rent roll of about 1330 gives only £7 as the income of the hospital from land, apart from the farm of a few acres surrounding the hospital, which the brethren tilled themselves.
After the resignation of William de Westbury in 1312 there was a succession of wardens who mismanaged, or were accused of mismanaging, the hospital. Adam de Weston, clerk of the king, appointed warden in April, 1312, (fn. 5) was accused in July; and an inquest held in August reported that he had sold rye, malt, hay, and straw without the consent of the brethren and had kept the money; that he had dismissed the chaplain, so that mass was rarely said; he had also dismissed the servants who tilled the lands of the hospital; he had a concubine; he had turned Brother William de Westbury out of the house to which he had retired after being warden for forty-three years, (fn. 6) built by himself in the grounds of the hospital. In consequence Adam de Weston was deprived; but Peter de Luffenham appointed in 1315, (fn. 7) was also displeasing to the brethren, (fn. 8) who complained that he took more than his share of the hospital's income, neglected the sick and generally looked after his own interests rather than theirs. In 1316 the king made new regulations for the hospital. The number of the brethren was to be reduced from twelve to eight, and not the healthy, as was the custom by this time, but the infirm only were to be admitted until the house consisted of two healthy brethren, to do the work of the farm, and six infirm; each of them, as well as the chaplain's clerk, was to receive 9d. a week, and the master, who was also to be the chaplain, £4 a year; probably the 5s. a year for clothing remained as before; any surplus was to be used in repairing the buildings. (fn. 9) We learn, however, that these regulations were soon broken; for in 1321, when John, son of Lawrence Serche, one who was not infirm, asked to be admitted as a brother, promising to contribute ten marks to the repair of the chapel roof, the king gave permission. (fn. 10)
Under the new rule Robert de Sutton was appointed master in 1317, but in 1325 the brethren complained that he had allowed the hospital to fall into dilapidation. (fn. 11) It was ordered that a survey should be taken, and next year we find the wardenship granted for life to Adam de Brome, provost of Oriel. (fn. 12) Two years later the king decided to make new arrangements; he granted the hospital to Oriel College, not however (as was so often the case), entirely suppressing the old foundation; the eight brethren were still to receive their 9d. a week, and 5s. a year for clothing; there was also to be a chaplain for them apart from the warden; but after these expenses had been met the surplus was evidently to go to the college, and it is mentioned that the hospital would serve as a place where the sick members of Oriel might retire for change of air. (fn. 13)
In 1367 the provost and scholars of Oriel, complaining to the king that the brethren of the hospital were not obedient to them, asked for a commission to examine into its state. In consequence the king issued the following regulations, which probably were not new but represent the ordinary rules of a hospital:—The brethren were to live chastely; they were not to go outside the hospital without their habit; none were to be admitted who were married, or in debt, or not free; they were not to invite their friends into the hospital without the leave of the provost; each brother, when admitted, was to contribute all his movable goods, which were to remain with the hospital even if he was expelled; consequently they might not make wills. (fn. 14)
In 1390, when William Coterell, clerk of the king, who was warden of the hospital of St. Lawrence without Bristol, was granted in addition the hospital of St. Bartholomew, the provost and scholars of Oriel petitioned against the grant, as being contrary to the ordinance of 1328. An inquiry was held, and the verdict was in favour of the college. (fn. 15) Subsequently the hospital was the subject of much litigation between Oriel College and the town, and the payment to the hospital was reduced from its original sum of £23 5s. to £19 a year. (fn. 16)
Masters of the Hospital of St. Bartholomew, Oxford
Thomas de Stanton, c. 1233 (fn. 17)
Walter de Stanton, c. 1240 (fn. 18)
William de Brackele (?), c. 1262 (fn. 19)
John de Wotton, c. 1266 (fn. 20)
William de Westbury, 1269-1312 (fn. 21)
Peter de Luffenham, appointed warden 'during pleasure,' September, 1315 (fn. 24)
Robert de Sutton, appointed warden 'for life,' June, 1317 (fn. 25)
Adam de Brome, appointed warden 'for life,' March, 1326 (fn. 26)
William de Leverton, occurs 1348 (fn. 27)
William de Daventrie, occurs 1351 and 1356 (fn. 28)
William Coterell, appointed February, 1390 (fn. 29)