A History of the County of Berkshire: Volume 2. Originally published by Victoria County History, London, 1907.
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19. THE HOSPITAL OF ST. JOHN BAPTIST, HUNGERFORD
A hospital was founded at Hungerford in the twelfth century in honour of St. John Baptist; it was situated just outside the town on the north side. On 14 May, 1232, Henry III, when at Wallingford Castle, granted his protection to the brethren of this house, giving them permission to seek for alms, and commending them to the faithful. Later in the same year these letters were renewed sine termino; they were addressed to the prior—that is, to the master of the hospital. (fn. 1)
On 20 May, 1281, an inspection and confirmation was obtained from Edward I of a charter of Edmund his brother (dated the same day), which was a ratification of the grant made by Simon de Montfort, late earl of Leicester, to the hospital and fraternity of St. John Baptist, Hungerford, for lodging poor, sick, and infirm persons. The grant conveyed to the hospital half a virgate of land and meadow on the north side of Hungerford. (fn. 2)
In October, 1399, Henry IV appointed John Frank, king's clerk, master or warden of this hospital, and at the same time appointed him parson or warden of the free chapel of Standenby-Hungerford. (fn. 3)
It is stated by Tanner that the full endowments of this house in 1405 were 1 carucate of land, 2 acres of meadow, six cottages producing a yearly rental of 40s., and the oblations offered on the feast of St. John Baptist. The prior or warden had to celebrate in the chapel three times a week, and to relieve the poor inhabitants of the town in times of scarcity.
John Orum, archdeacon of Barnstaple, obtained dispensation from Pope John XXIII in 1411 to hold the archdeaconry together with a canonry of Wells, the free chapel of Standen, and the wardenship of the hospital of St. John Baptist, Hungerford. (fn. 4) It was, alas, at this period the rule rather than the exception for the major part of the funds of England's hospitals, both small and great, to be absorbed by nonresident masters.
20. THE HOSPITAL OF ST. LAURENCE, HUNGERFORD
There was a leper hospital for women at Hungerford. Two references to it have been found of the thirteenth century, but it was probably of earlier foundation. This leper house is first mentioned in a recital of the bounds of the forest of Savernake, in a perambulation of the year 1228. (fn. 5)
The leper sisters of St. Laurence, Hungerford, had royal protection granted them in 1232, with commendatory permission to seek alms for their house sine termino. (fn. 6)