Hospitals: Hastings

Page 103

A History of the County of Sussex: Volume 2. Originally published by Victoria County History, London, 1973.

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The date and circumstances in which this hospital was founded are unknown, and the first mention of it appears to be in 1294 when Petronilla de Cham, widow, gave to the brethren and sisters of the hospital of St. Mary Magdalen in Hastings 5 acres of land in the parish of St. Margaret. (fn. 1) Protection was granted to the master and brethren in 1320, (fn. 2) and in 1381 the proctors of the hospital obtained letters of commendation to the clergy of the diocese of Canterbury. (fn. 3)

The nature of the hospital is best described in the words of the Hastings custumal:— (fn. 4)

The bailiff shall have the visitation of the hospital of St. Mary Magdalen of Hastings once a year; and there shall be in the said hospital brethren and sisters, sometimes more and sometimes less; but no brother or sister shall be received into the aforesaid hospital except by the assent of the bailiff and the commonalty. And the rules of the aforesaid hospital shall be read before the bailiff at the time of the visitation, at which he shall demand and enquire whether they be well kept or not; and . . . the bailiff shall enquire into the life of all the brethren and sisters examined, and if any of them be attainted the bailiff may remove him if he will. And the bailiff by the assent of his fellows if he shall find a man in the said commonalty infirm, and who has conducted himself in accordance with the usages of the ports for all time, and who shall be impoverished . . . may put such into the said hospital to partake of the sustenance of the brethren and sisters without paying anything to the said hospital.

Apparently the hospital survived the Reformation, and was still in existence at the beginning of Elizabeth's reign, but came to an end before the close of the sixteenth century, its possessions being diverted to other charitable objects.


  • 1. Hist. MSS. Com. Rep. xiii, App. pt. iv, 354.
  • 2. Pat. 13 Edw. III, m. 11.
  • 3. Hist. MSS. Com. Rep. viii, 340.
  • 4. Suss. Arch. Coll. xiv. 79.