Hospitals: Bathel

Pages 114-115

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

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The first mention of this hospital occurs in the life of St. Godric. (fn. 1) A certain widow had a daughter who was a leper, and in her distress she appealed to the priest of their town, Halietune [? = Haughton-le-Skerne], for advice and help. He procured the admission of the daughter into a hospital at Darlington, which was scarcely three miles away, and was called 'Badele.' The treatment there, if any were tried, does not seem to have been successful, for the sufferer remained for three years in the infirmary, growing steadily worse, and was finally cured by a miracle. (fn. 2)

For nearly two hundred years there is no further mention of the hospital, though the names 'Bathela,' (fn. 3) 'Bathelgate,' (fn. 4) 'Bathley,' (fn. 5) and 'Bathel,' (fn. 6) occur under Blackwell near Darlington in Boldon Book in 1183, and Hatfield's Survey, c. 1377. In these entries there is no mention of any building, but only of land, herbage, and pasture.

In February, 1340-1, we find the collation of Hugh de Picton, chaplain, to the chantry of Bathelspital, near Darlington, vacant by the death of William de Haltwhistle, and in the bishop's collation. (fn. 7) In July, 1362, William of Brantingham was collated to the hospital of Bathel, vacant by the death of 'Dominus Wade,' the late priest. (fn. 8)

Then follows another long gap in the history, but in 1418-19 begins the series of appointments given below:—

John Ukerby, chantry priest of Darlington manor, master and warden of the hospital of Bathel, d. 1418 (?) (fn. 9)

Roger Wakerlein, collated 6 January, 1418-19, p.m. J. Ukerby (fn. 10)

Richard [Gardener], rector of Dinsdale, exchanged with R. Wakerlein, 24 December, 1419 (fn. 11)

Bernard Warde, vicar of Coniscliffe, exchanged with R. Gardener, 18 March, 1420-1 (fn. 12)

Robert Bett, al. Grissemere, priest, collated 16 May, 1422, p.m. B. Warde. (fn. 13) Resigned 9 September, 1422 (fn. 14)

Stephen Austell, resigned 15 April, 1433 (fn. 15)

William Blomeley, collated 4 October, 1437, p.r. S. Austell (fn. 16)

After this all trace of the hospital seems lost, unless it be the house of which Leland speaks as 'a priory not far from Darlington, as I remember about Tees River.' (fn. 17) Bathel appears to have been situated somewhere between Darlington and the Tees, but it seems unlikely that it should be styled a priory.


  • 1. Vita Sti. Godrici (Surt. Soc.), 456-7.
  • 2. Ibid. The editor of this volume says [p. 456, note] 'that of this Hospital no other notice exists'; but there seems no reason to doubt that the hospital mentioned so frequently in the Episcopal Registers is the same. (See below.)
  • 3. Boldon Bk. (Surt. Soc.), 17.
  • 4. Hatf. Surv. (Surt. Soc.), 3.
  • 5. Ibid. 11.
  • 6. Ibid. 13.
  • 7. Reg. Palat. Dun. (Rolls Ser.), iii, 378.
  • 8. Dur. Epis. Reg. Hatfield, fol. 128.
  • 9. Ibid. Langley, fol. 104.
  • 10. Ibid.
  • 11. Ibid. fols. 105, 272.
  • 12. Ibid. fol. 107.
  • 13. Ibid. fol. 112.
  • 14. Ibid. fol. 113.
  • 15. Ibid. fol. 204.
  • 16. Ibid. fol. 252.
  • 17. Itin. (2nd ed.), vii, 50.