Hospitals: St John the Baptist & St Anthony, Salisbury

Pages 361-362

A History of the County of Wiltshire: Volume 3. Originally published by Victoria County History, London, 1956.

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This foundation was built near Salisbury Castle and appears to have been dedicated jointly to St. John the Baptist and St. Anthony. (fn. 2) Its origin is obscure. The earliest proof of its existence is afforded by a grant of royal protection in 1231, (fn. 3) but a leper hospital existed in Old Salisbury as early as 1195. (fn. 4) Whether or not this leper hospital was a separate foundation it is impossible to say. (fn. 5) It, too, is described as lying near the castle. (fn. 6) Moreover, the fact that Robert de Careville, treasurer of the cathedral, left his bequest of £1 in 1267 simply to the hospital of Old Salisbury, (fn. 7) suggests either that the two hospitals were identical or that the hospital of St. John was the only hospital in Old Salisbury at this time.

St. John's was, in all probability, a small foundation possessing few endowments. It was fortified by letters of royal protection in 1231 and again in 1255 (fn. 8) and 1260. (fn. 9) Henry III also granted the hospital the right to use two beech trees in the forest of Buckholt (Hants) for fuel. (fn. 10) There were some resident poor, with a master at their head, but they were unable, at least in the 14th century, to maintain themselves without the help of casual alms. The master and brothers were granted royal protection in 1348, (fn. 11) and an indulgence of 40 days by Bishop Waltham in 1387, (fn. 12) to assist them in their begging. Richard of Otterbourne bequeathed 1s. to the hospital in 1361. (fn. 13)

The foundation was still in existence in 1535, though it is unlikely that any eleemosynary work was then being carried out. It is described in the Valor Ecclesiasticus as a 'free chapel or hospital' and valued, with its ½ acre of pasture and 15 acres of arable land, at 6s. 8d. (fn. 14) A similar valuation of its meagre property was given in the chantry certificate of 1546. (fn. 15) The certificate of 1548 noted that the incumbent, Richard Dunstall, aged 60, was drawing 12s. a year; the tenant had reserved certain trees from the site (or 16s. as their value) for the king's use; Richard Eston of Winterbourne Dauntsey had defaced the chapel two months before and sold tiles worth 26s. 8d. (fn. 16)


William Bate.

Richard Dunstall, occurs 1548. (fn. 17)

The pointed oval seal (fn. 18) of William Bate shows the Baptist under an ogival canopy, holding a lamb in his right hand, and in the base a priest kneeling under a round-headed arch. The legend runs:



  • 1. The author acknowledges with thanks the assistance obtained from an unpublished note on this hospital written by Mr. H. F. Chettle.
  • 2. Cal. Pat. 1258–66, 92.
  • 3. Ibid. 1222-32, 452.
  • 4. Feet of F. 1182–96 (Pipe R. Soc. xvii), 66; Sar. Chart. & Doc. (Rolls Ser.), 55; Hoare, Mod. Wilts. City of Salisbury, 604. The summary of excavations in Arch. Jnl. civ, does not mention it. William de Longespée, Earl of Salisbury, assigned five cows to the lepers of Salisbury hospital in his will of 1225; Rot. Litt. Claus. (Rec. Com.), ii, 71.
  • 5. Miss R. M. Clay in Hospitals of Medieval Engl. 320, lists them as separate foundations.
  • 6. Feet of F. 1182-96 (Pipe R. Soc. xvii), 66.
  • 7. Sar. Chart. & Doc. (Rolls Ser.), 344.
  • 8. Cal. Pat. 1247–58, 429.
  • 9. Ibid. 1258–66, 92.
  • 10. Cal. Close, 1268–72, 11.
  • 11. Cal. Pat. 1348–50, 44.
  • 12. Printed in Hoare, Mod. Wilts. City of Salisbury, 751.
  • 13. Ibid. 92.
  • 14. Valor Eccl. (Rec. Com.), ii, 89.
  • 15. E 301/56/27; E 301/59/39; W.A.M. xii, 376.
  • 16. E 301/58/57.
  • 17. Ibid.
  • 18. B.M., Add. MS. 5846, f. 389. (Drawing by William Cole.)