Hospitals: Windsor

A History of the County of Berkshire: Volume 2. Originally published by Victoria County History, London, 1907.

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'Hospitals: Windsor', in A History of the County of Berkshire: Volume 2, (London, 1907) pp. 101-102. British History Online [accessed 20 April 2024]

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There was a hospital for lepers in the park of Windsor of early foundation, usually known as the hospital of St. Peter-without-Windsor. The first references that have hitherto been found to this hospital are of the reign of Henry III.

On 24 February, 1232, the brethren of the hospital of St. Peter of Windsor obtained the protection of the crown sine termino. (fn. 1) The Testa de Nevill states that 7s. a year was paid to the lepers of Windsor out of the fee-farm of Windsor, the gift of King Henry. (fn. 2)

This hospital was for both leprous maidens and brethren, as we learn from a charter of 1251, whereby Henry III, for the souls of King John, Queen Isabel, Queen Eleanor, and for his children, granted them 120 acres, part of a purpresture in the forest of Windsor; to be held free of all secular service, by finding a chaplain to say mass daily in the hospital chapel for the souls before mentioned. (fn. 3)

The leper hospital of Windsor is mentioned in the special inquisition of 1273 (Hundred Rolls) as entitled to 2½ marks out of the inclosed lands of Geoffrey de Denne, and the hospital without Windsor is mentioned as a boundary in a grant of land in Windsor Forest dated 23 October, 1289. (fn. 4)

On 24 August, 1290, Robert de Cancell, chaplain, was granted the custody of the hospital of St. Peter-without-Windsor, by the king during pleasure. (fn. 5)

In February, 1327, Edward III granted the custody of this hospital to John le Chapelur for life. (fn. 6)

John Hardin, chaplain, was granted on 29 April, 1382, custody for life of the chapel of St. Peter in the parish of Windsor, called 'le Spital,' void by the resignation of Simon de Merstone. A few days later, namely on 9 May, revocation was made of this collation, as it appeared that Simon de Merstone had resigned unwillingly through fear. However, on 2 August Simon de Merstone executed a second resignation of ' le Spital juxta Windsor,' and William de Briggeford was appointed in his place by the crown. (fn. 7)

In 1390 Richard II granted to his servant Laurence Hunt the wardenship of Windsor Hospital, provided the hospital might be held by a layman. (fn. 8)

Among large grants made by Edward IV to the provosts and college of Eton in 1462, chiefly of the possessions of the forfeited alien priories, that they might pray for the good estate of the king, and for the souls of his progenitors, &c., the hospital of St. Peter of Windsor is first named. (fn. 9) The practical extinction of leprosy by this time in England formed a genuine excuse for the transference of this property.

The site and land of this hospital still bear the name of Spital, about half a mile south of Windsor proper.


Grant during pleasure was made by Edward II in September, 1316, to Walter de Redynges, king's yeoman, of the place which is called the hospital of St. John, Windsor, to hold with all lands, rents, and other things pertaining, provided that he found a chaplain to celebrate divine service in the chapel there daily, for the souls of the king's ancestors, so long as he should hold the place. (fn. 10) Nothing more, however, appears to be known of this hospital, which would seem, from the wording of the grant, to have already ceased from active existence at this date.


  • 1. Pat. 16 Hen. III, m. 8.
  • 2. Testa de Nevill (Rec. Com.), 129
  • 3. Chart. 35 Hen. III, m. 8, 6.
  • 4. Pat. 17 Edw. I, m. 5.
  • 5. Ibid. 18 Edw. I, m. 13.
  • 6. Pat. 1 Edw. III, pt. i, m. 32.
  • 7. Ibid. 5 Ric. II, pt. ii, m. 21, 14; 9 Ric. II, pt. i, m. 23.
  • 8. Ibid. 13 Ric. II, pt. ii, m. 1.
  • 9. Ibid. 1 Edw. IV, pt. iii, m. 24.
  • 10. Ibid. 10 Edw. II, pt. i, m. 21.