Hospitals: St Mary Magdalene, Dunstable

A History of the County of Bedford: Volume 1. Originally published by Victoria County History, London, 1904.

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'Hospitals: St Mary Magdalene, Dunstable', A History of the County of Bedford: Volume 1, (London, 1904), pp. 400-401. British History Online [accessed 21 June 2024].

. "Hospitals: St Mary Magdalene, Dunstable", in A History of the County of Bedford: Volume 1, (London, 1904) 400-401. British History Online, accessed June 21, 2024,

. "Hospitals: St Mary Magdalene, Dunstable", A History of the County of Bedford: Volume 1, (London, 1904). 400-401. British History Online. Web. 21 June 2024,


This hospital was founded, like so many others, near the end of the twelfth century, receiving in 1209 from King John a letter of safe conduct for those who were collecting alms on behalf of the house. (fn. 1) It was probably founded under the patronage of the prior and canons of Dunstable, for the benefit of their town, and was intended for lepers as well as other sick people. The masters of the hospital were appointed by the prior, but the name of only one is known early in the thirteenth century; he was called Roger, and was a chaplain of the priory. (fn. 2) In 1293 the lepers of Dunstable erected a new bell, larger than they had ever had before, and hung it on a crossbar between two poles in front of their house; but the prior seems for some reason to have suspected their motives in doing this, for he sent and had it taken down, restoring it afterwards on the condition that it should never be used for his parishioners nor for calling people together. (fn. 3)

The hospital was still in existence in 1338, for the master and brethren received at that time another letter of protection from the king, and permission to collect alms; (fn. 4) but it is not heard of at any later date.


  • 1. Pat. 10 John, m. 1 (28 March 1209).
  • 2. Harl. MS. 1885, f. 36b. Grant by Richard de Morins, prior of Dunstable, 'of the care and custody of our hospital' of St. Mary Magdalene, for lepers and other sick people, to Roger, chaplain (undated).
  • 3. Ann. Mon. (Rolls Series), iii. 381.
  • 4. Pat. 11 Edw. III. pt. 2, m. 24.