The History and Topographical Survey of the County of Kent: Volume 11. Originally published by W Bristow, Canterbury, 1800.
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'Canterbury: Hospitals, almshouses and charities', in The History and Topographical Survey of the County of Kent: Volume 11, (Canterbury, 1800) pp. 184-199. British History Online https://www.british-history.ac.uk/survey-kent/vol11/pp184-199 [accessed 5 March 2024]
Hospitals, almshouses and charities
THE HOSPITALS AND ALMS-HOUSES, within the jurisdiction of the city, are as follows: COGAN'S HOSPITAL, situated on the south side of St. Peter's-street, almost opposite to the late gate of the Black Friars, was founded by Mr. John Cogan, of this city, who by his will proved in 1657, (fn. 1) gave his mansion, wherein he then dwelt in St. Peter's, Canterbury, together with his moiety of the manor of Littleborne, late the archbishop's, which he had purchased, and such lands and tenements, which should be purchased with his assets, after his debts and legacies were first paid, to his executors, to be settled on seoffees; his house, for the habitation, and the lands and tenements, for the support and maintenance of six poor widows of clergymen, who had lived in Canterbury, in Kent, or in London, to be nominated and approved of by the mayor of Canterbury, and five senior aldermen, or the greatest part of them, according to the regulations mentioned in the will; and he orders in it, that the sixth woman placed in the house, should be some poor widow or maid, who should attend on the other five widows, and keep clean the house, &c. for them; but his circumstances being perplexed and involved in difficulties, and the manor of Littleborne, for there seems to have been no other lands purchased, being again resumed by the archibishop at the king's restoration, this house was left alone without any endowment whatever for this charitable purpose; this was, however, in some measure compensated by future benefactors; the first of whom, Mr. Barling, by his will proved in 1670, devised one annuity or yearly rent of three pounds to be paid to the mayor and chamberlain of this city for ever, on September I, yearly; one moiety to the six poor widows inhabiting this house, and the other moiety towards the repair of the house and premises, as the maycr and six widows judged fit, the same to be paid out of his lands in Dering March for ever, with power of distraint, &c. Another and more efficient benefactor was Dr. John Aucher, one of the prebendaries of the cathedral, who vested an estate in trustees, for the payment of ten pounds each, to fix clergymens' widows, with a preference to those in Cogan's hospital. (fn. 2)
After which, Mrs. Elizabeth Lovejoy, by her will in 1694, among other charitable legacies, gave out of her personal estate, four pounds per annum, to be paid to Cogan's hospital, to be equally shared and divided among such poor as should inhabit and reside in, and receive the alms of the hospital, by equal halfyearly payments, without any deduction, on any pretence whatsoever. For this purpose, and to pay her other charitable legacies, she devised to the mayor and commonalty of the city of Canterbury, her leasehold estate, called Callis grange, in Thanet, in trust, to perform the purposes of her will. (fn. 3) In addition to these gifts, the poor in Cogan's hospital are entitled to receive from Mrs. Masters's legacy, who died in 1716, yearly, the sixth-part of the interest due from one hundred and sixty-three pounds sixteen shillings and three pence, old South-sea annuities, being the sum vested in the mayor and commonalty of this city, in trust, for the several hospitals in Canterbury; of which a full account will be given hereaster, among the several benefactions made to this city. Besides which, the society established for the relief of the widows and orphans of the clergy, within this diocese, usually add ten guineas more yearly to each of these widows; which, with what little matter they have of their own, makes a comfortable retreat for them. But there being no sufficient fund left for the repair of the house, it became ruinous and would soon have been uninha bitable, had not the benevolence of private persons, by a handsome subscription, afforded a sufficient sum to put it in compleat and substantial repair. (fn. 4)
THE BRIDEWELL, or Poor PriestsHOSPITAL, situated not far from the south side of the High street, in Lamb-lane, was antiently founded by Simon Langton, the archbishop's brother, archdeacon of Canterbury, about the year 1240, anno 24 Henry III. (fn. 5) not, it seems, altogether of himself, but assisted with the alms and charity of several devout and pious benefactors. Shortly after the hospital's foundation, the abbot and convent of St. Augustine, at the instance of the founder above-mentioned, granted to it the rectory or church of St. Mary, of Stodmarsh, of their patronage, with the profits of four acres of land. (fn. 6) To this there was afterwards added, in the year 1271,' being the last of Henry III. another parsonage or rectory, viz. that of the church of St. Margaret, in Canterbury; being given to it in pure and perpetual alms, by the same abbot and convent, patrons of it, at the instance of Hugh Mortimer, then archdeacon of Canterbury; (fn. 7) besides these, they had nothing else, excepting the small island, behind their house, made use of by them as a garden, and an old mill belonging to and near it, called Medmilne, but long since forgotten, which before had been, as well as the house itself in which they dwelt, the property of one Lambin, a Fleming. (fn. 8)
This hospital appears to have been founded for a place of succour and relief for poor priests, i. e. chap lains, curates, and other like unbeneficed clerks; chiefly those probably, who either by age or other infirmities, were disabled from the performance any longer of their holy functions abroad in the world, and were therefore here accommodated with a chapel, adjoining their habitation, in which they might perform divine offices, and celebrate for their benefactors; it was, as well as the hospital, dedicated to the blessed Virgin Mary, the first fabric of which, was not, as now, built of stone, one Thomas Wyke, syndic or master of it, having first in 1373 new built it of such materials.
This hospital escaped the general dissolution, and remained unsuppressed in queen Mary's reign, in the second year of which, anno 1554, Hugh Barret was presented by the patron, Nicholas Harpsfield, archdeacon of Canterbury, to the mastership of this hospital, together with the rectory of St. Margaret's, in this city, appropriated to it, and then vacant by the death of Nicholas Langdon, the last incumbent there; (fn. 9) in which state this hospital remained till the 17th year of queen Elizabeth's reign, in which year it was surrendered up to the queen, by Blaze Winter, the master of it, Edmund Freake, bishop of Rochester, then archdeacon of Canterbury the patron, and the arch bishop, Matthew Parker the ordinary, together with all its lands, revenues, tithes, advowsons of churches, and all appurtenances belonging to it; (fn. 10) (which surrender was confirmed by the dean and chapter of Canterbury, under their common seal, two days afterwards, and inrolled in chancery); upon which the queen, upon the humble petition of the mayor and commonalty of the city of Canterbury, the same having been surrendered up to her, upon that intent and confidence, granted this hospital, with all its possessions and appurtenances, as above-mentioned, to them and their successors, by letters patent, under her great seal, dated July 5, in the above year, to hold, as of her manor of East Greenwich, in free socage, by fealty only, and not in capite, for the benefit and use of the poor of this city for ever. (fn. 11) This grant appears to have been obtained by John Rose, then mayor, and Richard Gaunt, then sheriff of this city, at whose suit and solicitation, at the expence of fifty pounds, it was procured; which sum was afterwards reimbursed to them by a general tax on the community of the city. (fn. 12)
From the above time this hospital has belonged to the city; it was for many years afterwards called the Bridewell hospital, from its being made use of as the bridewell, or house of correction of the city, and from there being kept and maintained in it a number of bridewell, or blue coat boys, poor townsmens' children; but in the year 1729, an act of parliament having passed for the establishment of a general workhouse, for the better relief and employment of the poor of this city, this house or hospital was allotted for this purpose; since which, it has been usually known by the name of the City Workhouse, being likewise the city bridewell and house of correction, and as such it is used at this time. The yearly tenths of this hospital, amounting to 1l. Is. 4½d. are payable to the archbishop.
MAYNARD'S HOSPITAL, or spital, is situated in a small lane leading eastward out of Stour-street, being corruptly so called, for the founder of it was one Mayner, a citizen of Canterbury, dwelling in St. Mildred's parish, in king Henry II.'s days. (fn. 13) He was a man, it seems, of noted wealth, and was, as such, surnamed Mayner le Rich. (fn. 14)
It was, together with the small chapel belonging to it, dedicated to the Virgin Mary; the endowment or possessions of it are vested in the prior, brothers and sisters, for the time being, in whose names all the leases are granted. The mayor and commonalty appoint the master, who is generally the senior alderman, the present master being alderman James Simmons. The mayor and aldermen are the visitors. The former of whom have the appointment from time to time of the brothers and sisters, who must be upwards of fifty years of age, of good and honest conversation, unmarried, and have resided for the preceding seven years within the liberties of the city. (fn. 15)
William Benet, of Canterbury, by his will in 1464, ordered that his executors should give the place that Roger Goldfinch dwelt in, and the two shillings quitrent of his tenement, held by John White, to the brethren and sustren of Maynard's spital, and their successors for evermore.
By the survey taken by the commissioners in king Henry VIII.'s time, upon the statute of the 37th year of his reign, cap. 4, it appears, that the revenues of it then consisted of small tenements, and strips of garden ground in this city, which were of the yearly value of 3l, 7s besides nine acres of wood, called Brotherhedd's wood, and a close of land adjoining to it, called Brotherhedd's close, in the parish of Fordwich.
In the year 1600, the income of these estates were yearly, 20l. 4s. This house and chapel were repaired in 1617, by Joseph Colf, esq alderman of this city, and master of this hospital. (fn. 16)
But the buildings of this hospital and chapel, having been blown down by the great storm, which happened on Nov. 3, 1703, were all rebuilt from the foundation with brick, by the charitable contribution of the mayor, aldermen, and other worthy benefactors, in the year 1708, John Beaumont, esq. being then mayor; the work being first principally promoted and carried on by the application of alderman Oughton, chamberlain, and alderman Wilson, master of this hospital; the contributions amounting to upwards of 300l. and the expences of erecting the buildings to 299l. and upwards, as appears by the chamberlain's accounts.
This hospital has a common seal, on which is the representation of the Virgin Mary, with a child in her arms,
COTTON'S HOSPITAL adjoins to that last mentioned, and indeed is the same as part of it, being three several rooms or lodgings erected by Leonard Cotton, gent. of St. Margaret's, alderman and mayor of this city in 1580, who by his will in 1605, gave three places in Maynard's spital, to one poor widower and two poor widows, such as should be inhabiting in the parish of St. Margaret, if there should be any dwelling there capable thereof. In default, to such poor of St. Mildred's; in default of which, then to any such as should dwell in the city and county of Canterbury, the persons to be of good, honest behaviour, and of the age of fifty years at least, to be nominated and placed here by the mayor of Canterbury; which poor persons should receive to their own uses, from the hands of the mayor for ever, all the profits and revenues of such lands and tenements as he bequeathed for their maintenance and relief; for which purpose he gave to certain trustees therein named, his tenement with its appurtenances, in which strangers then dwelt, in St. Margaret's parish, and on the north side of his then dwelling-house, and another tenement in that parish; and another with an orchard and its appurtenances in Winchepe, in St. Mildred's parish, in this city; and he willed that the above mententioned seossees, the survivors of them, or their heirs, should, within six months after his death, enfeoff the mayor and com monalty of the said city, or such other persons as they should think fit, most agreeable to the laws of the realm in these premises, for the use, maintenance and relief of the said three persons, to be placed in the said rooms in the hospital, or spitall, called Maynard's spitall as aforesaid, for ever. And he ordered, that if the mayor or any other persons who should have any interest in the premises, should at any time dispose of or convert the same, or any part thereof, or the produce thereof, to any other benefit or purpose than as aforesaid, or should at any time put in any other poor persons than as above described, or in any shape should abuse this gift, contrary to the meaning of his will, that from thenceforth this his bequest concerning the said poor should be void and determine; and that such persons and their heirs which should be possessed of the premises to the aforesaid uses, should from thenceforth stand and be possessed thereof, to the use of the prior and brethren and sisters of St. John's hospital, without Northagate, and their successors for ever, for their relief and comfort. (fn. 17)
The estates given by the testator are leased out, and produce a clear income of five pounds per quarter, or twenty pounds per annum; which money is paid to the three poor of Cotton's foundation, quarterly. (fn. 18)
Though there are here two hospitals, having separate endowments, yet being one connected building, and under the same patronage of the mayor of this city, for the time being, who with the aldermen are visitors, and one of the latter always master of them, it may be looked upon as one and the same hospital.
The modern benefactions to it are, the yearly portion it is entitled to receive from Mrs. Master's le gacy, who died in 1716, being the sixth part of the interest due yearly from 163l. 16s. 3d. old south sea annuities; which sum is vested in the mayor and commonalty of this city, in trust, for this and the other hospitals in Canterbury; of which a further account may be seen hereafter, among the benefactions made to this city
Mr. Matthew Browne, in 1717, gave by his will ten shillings a year, issuing out of two houses in the borough of Staplegate, to be paid yearly to the brothers and sisters of it on the 12th day of March for ever; with power of distres, &c.
Thomas Hanson, esq. of Crosby-square, London, by his will proved in 1770, gave 500l. to this hospital; which sum is now vested in three per cent. bank annuities, and produces a dividend of 17l. 10s. per annum; and there being no fund for repairs, Mr. William Rigden, brewer, of Canterbury, in 1771, by bargain and sale inrolled in chancery, vested in trustees a messuage and smith's forge, in Hawk's-lane, in this city, to apply the rents to the reparations of Maynard's and Cotton's hospitals, the surplus to be divided among the brothers and sisters of Maynard's seven houses, resident constantly there, in such manner as the trustees should think fit. The annual rents of Maynard's hospital, including seven pounds paid by the city, amounted in 1712 to 361. 12s. and so on nearly the same to 1770; and that they were not more, was owing to the abuses committed in the management of them; but this being looked into by the mayor and commonalty, and a better regulation of them taking place, they amounted in 1785 to 46l. 4s. and are now, in 1796, increased to 69l. 10s. besides which the present master has received by fines 35l. which, with the annual six pounds left by Mr. Rigden, has been expended in a compleat and thorough repair of the chapel and ten houses; and there is no doubt, but if the mayor and commonalty con tinue to patronize and protect the poor of these hospitals, with the same attention, their revenues will be still further improved.
St. JAMES'S, otherwise ST. JACOB' HOSPITAL, at the further end of Wincheap, is situated in the parish of Thanington; but being without the bounds of the city, which run close along the wal's of it, the reader will find an account of it in the description of that parish, in the History of the County of Kent.
BOYS'S HOSPITAL, named by the founder Jesus hospital, is situated in the suburbs of Northgate, at the further end of the street leading to the Isle of Thanet; it was founded and endowed by the will of Sir John Boys, of St. Gregories, proved in the year 1612, whose monument yet remains on the north side of the nave of the cathedral, for eight poor men and four women, at the least, besides the warden or principal of the hospital, who has a house to himself, and the rest of the members have each apartments; which form the three inner sides of a square, a dwarf wall and the gate forming the side next the road. The warden and brothers are bound by the founder's statutes, to attend divine service in their habits, which are long black cloth gowns, every Sunday morning, at the cathedral. The number of brethren and sisters are to be increased to a number not exceeding twenty; of which, one third only are to be women, as the revenues of the hospital should allow. The poor in it to be first such of the parish of Northgate as had lived there seven years, not under fifty-five years of age, and not worth ten pounds; then of St. Dunstan's; then of St. Paul's, and in default of any such there, then of St. Mildred's, or any other part of the city; the warden to have yearly ten pounds, every brother and sister four pounds, and the clavinger forty shillings more, and to have black gowns once in three or four years. The warden or schoolmaster to teach freely to read and write, and cast accounts, twenty boys, above twelve years old, of the parishes of Northgate, St. Paul's, St. Mildred's, St. Alphage, Westgate, or St. Dunstan's, to be presented by the churchwardens and overseers; and in default, by the mayor of Canterbury, to be taught for two years, and then six of them to be put out apprentices, or to some mechancial art, and afterwards to be accounted out-brothers of the hospital, and to have certain cloathing, and yearly payments out of the revenues of it. The founder, in his book of ordinances of this hospital, directed, that the warden shall be appointed by such of the surname of the founder, who should be owners of the seat of Betteshanger, and in default of such, by those of the same name, who should be owners of the seat of Fredville, both at that time in the possession of this name and family; and in default of such, by the dean of Canterbury, for the time being; if no dean, by the mayor of the city; and if any of these fail to nominate in the space of two months, then, after proper notification, by the archdeacon of the diocese. The above-mentioned two seats having for a long time been in the possession of other names and families, the deans of Canterbury have for many successions been masters here, and as such, on any vacancy of the brethren or sisters places, have nominated two persons, statutably qualified, to the mayor, who chuses one of them, to supply the vacancy; but of these, the poorest, most impotent, and most honest and best behaved, is, by the founder's order, to have the preference.
Mrs. Elizabeth Lovejoy, widow, by her will proved 1694, gave, out of her personal estate, five pounds a year to Jesus hospital, to be paid and divided among the poor of it, in like manner as her gift to Cogan's hospital before mentioned; and this hospital receives likewise from Mrs. Master's legacy, who died in 1716, yearly the sixth part of the interest due form 163l. 16s. 3d. old south-sea annuities, being the sum vested in the mayor and commonalty of this city, in trust, for the several hospitals in Canterbury; of which, a full account may be found hereafter, among the several charitable benefactions to this city.
The mayor, dean and archdeacon, or the greater part of them, are appointed visitors, who are to audit and examine the accounts of the hospital, on Dec. 12, yearly, and receive ten shillings for their pains.
It appears by the account taken of the estates of it, at the death of the founder in 1612, that the annual rents were then 96l. 12s. in possession, and on his wife's death, 38l. more, and two quarters of wheat. The rents reserved on the present leases granted by the hospital in 1777, were only 117l. 12s. per annum; 1l. 19s. towards their annual feast on St. John's day, at Christmas; an annuity of five pounds out of Ash marshes, and another of 6l. 13s. 4d. out of land in Sholden, and the quitrents of the manor of Whitacre, 3l. 17s. nett per annum, making all together 133l. 2s. 4d. being the whole of the then annual income of it, exclusive of the fines on leases. (fn. 19) But since this, the revenues having still considerably further increased, by the particular attention paid to the letting of the estates belonging to the charity, as it appeared in 1787, at the annual visitation of the mayor and dean of Canterbury, visitors, attended by several of the aldermen. They then ordered, in consequence of this, agreeable to the direction of the founder, that one more brother should be added to the former number, and that six more poor boys should be taught to read, write and cast accounts, and that three of these boys should. every year be put out apprentices, with a premium of eight pounds, and that forty shillings should be laid out in cloathing every such boy, at the time of his being put out; and they increased the salaries of the former brothers and sisters 10s. per quarter each.
Robert Grove, gent. of Hythe, by his will anno 1608, gave to Sir John Boys, twenty pounds for the use of Jesus hospital, to be bestowed in land or such like, for that use for ever. (fn. 20)
BRIDGER'S ALMSHOUSES are situated in the suburbs between St. George's-gate and Riding gate, on the road opposite the city ditch; they were built in 1778 by the Rev. Mr. Byrch, executor, and in pursuance of the will of Mrs. Sarah Bridger, of this city, for six poor women; the nomination of whom is vested in his heirs.
HARRIS'S ALMSHOUSES, so called from the founder of them, are situate on the left hand or eastern side of Wincheap, and were built in the year 1726, for the habitations of five poor families, by Thomas Harris, hop-merchant, of Canterbury; who, in his will proved June 8, that year, (fn. 21) mentions, that as to all his five messuages and dwellings, with the gardens and appurtenances in Wincheap, in St. Mildred's, which he designed for almshouses, and in which he had placed five old men and their wives, to live there during their lives, rent free; he gave and devised the same to trustees, nine in number, viz. Isaac Terry, Stephen Durant, and John Austen, gents of St. Martin's; William Nethersole, gent. of St. Margaret's; Henry Terry, mercer, of St. Mary Magdalen, and his grandsons Edward Charlton, Thomas, John and Richard Barham, to them and their heirs for ever, upon trust, as such old persons as were or should be placed therein by him, during his life, should continue therein, during their lives, rent free, they respectively keeping the dwellings and appurtenances, and the sences of the gardens and backsides thereto belonging, in good repair; and in trust that as they or any of them should die, the said trustees, or the survivors of them, or the major part of them, or the heirs of such survivor, should from time to time place in the same dwellings as they should become respectively vacant, such other poor persons as they or the major part of them should think proper, there to remain and dwell for their lives, rent free, and so from time to time for ever; and he ordered that two of the said tenements or dwellings should be from time to time filled up with two poor persons of the parish of St. Mary Magdalen, and the other two with two poor persons of the parish of St. Mildred; each to be of the age of fifty years at the least, and who did not receive alms of any of the said parishes; and further, for the better support and maintenance of the said poor persons dwelling therein, he gave and devised to the said trustees and their heirs for ever, all his messuage or farm, called Marley, in Kingston, then let at twenty-one pounds per annum, and all that share of wood, containing about three yards of land belonging to the said farm, for them to dispose and pay the clear yearly rents and profits, all charges being deducted therefrom, among the said poor people dwelling in the same, to be divided equally, share and share alike, among them, and so to continue among them for ever; and when the said trustees should be reduced to three, he ordered, that they should convey the said messuages or almshouses, farm, lands and tenements, unto a competent number of new trustees, and their heirs, and so in like manner from time to time, for ever.