Hospitals: St Edmund, Bishop & Confessor, Gateshead

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

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'Hospitals: St Edmund, Bishop & Confessor, Gateshead', in A History of the County of Durham: Volume 2, (London, 1907) pp. 118-119. British History Online [accessed 19 April 2024]

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This chapel or hospital was founded by Bishop Farnham in or about 1248, and was dedicated to the honour of St. Edmund, bishop and confessor, and St. Cuthbert. The establishment consisted of a master and three other priests, whose duties were simply to celebrate the divine offices and to pray for the soul of the founder, his predecessors, and his successors. Each of the subordinate chaplains was to receive from the master the sum of 20s. yearly. The bishop endowed his new foundation, which was almost invariably called the chapel of St. Edmund, with the vill of Ulkistan, the old lordship of Gateshead, Benchelm Wood which contained 43 acres, and 29 acres of land in 'Alluresacyres'; in lieu of all which he granted certain other lands to the church of Durham. (fn. 1) He also united with it the chapel or hospital of the Holy Trinity, Gateshead, which had fallen into great poverty. (fn. 2) The bishop of Durham for the time being was to be patron of St. Edmund's. (fn. 3)

By an undated charter, probably of the early fourteenth century, John of the Kitchen [de Coquina], burgess of Gateshead, gave land to the hospital; (fn. 4) and in 1316 was proved the will of John of the Kitchen, chaplain (possibly the same person), by which he left an annual rent of half-a-mark to 'the house of the Holy Trinity and St. Edmund the Confessor.' (fn. 5)

In the Nova Taxatio of the temporal and spiritual goods of the Durham clergy in the fourteenth century the temporalities of the 'Hospital of St. Edmund the Archbishop' were valued at 5 marks. (fn. 6)

Martin of St. Cross, master of Sherburn, whose will is dated November, 1259, bequeathed some vestments to St. Edmund's Chapel; (fn. 7) and other benefactors must have followed his example, for in February, 1325-6, the hospital possessed two gold chalices and a goodly store of vestments and books, some of the best of which were gifts from John of Denton, late master. The inventory which was taken after his death shows that the buildings of the hospital included a chapel, hall, kitchen, &c., and that the brethren owned oxen and other live stock, and had, besides a good supply of corn in the granary, 72 acres of land sown with wheat. There is no hint of any accommodation for poor or sick persons. (fn. 8) In addition to the goods of the house the late master's executors delivered up to his successor, Roland de Jorz, bishop of Armagh, 'a certain writing of the ordination of the chapel of St. Edmund.' (fn. 9)

There was in the hospital as early as 1382 (fn. 10) a chantry of the Holy Trinity, which was still in existence in 1430. (fn. 11) It may have been a relic of the incorporated hospital of the Holy Trinity.

In May, 1378, Bishop Hatfield issued to the priors of Durham and Finchale a commission to visit the hospital of St. Edmund the Archbishop; (fn. 12) but no returns of this visitation exist, nor of another which took place in 1421. (fn. 13) Ten years later the bishop, dissatisfied with the conduct of John Walkington, master, again ordered that the hospital should be visited, and in consequence of the state of things which was discovered, sequestrated the goods alike of the house and of its master (11 May, 1431). (fn. 14) It seems probable that Walkington was removed as untrustworthy, since the collation of George Radcliffe occurs in January, 1431-2. (fn. 15)

In 1436 the hospital was robbed: chalices, books, vestments, &c., being stolen from the chapel by some persons unknown. (fn. 16)

Two years later the nuns of St. Bartholomew, Newcastle, who had sustained severe losses by fire and by the non-payment of certain pensions, appealed to the bishop for assistance. He responded (7 October, 1448) by appropriating to them and incorporating with their house the hospital of St. Edmund with all its possessions. The nuns in return engaged to provide two chaplains to celebrate in St. Edmund's chapel; to keep the chapel and the buildings belonging to it in repair; and to pay out of the issues or the hospital two pensions:—one of 6s. 8d. to the bishop, and one of 3s. 4d. to the prior of Durham. (fn. 17) This appropriation was followed in May, 1449, by a formal grant to the nuns by William Hilderskelfe, master, of the hospital with all its appurtenances. This later document binds the nuns to supply a chaplain to celebrate in the hospital, and a priest to celebrate in St. Bartholomew's church at the death or promotion of Hilderskelfe, and to pay to the latter a pension of 10 marks per annum. (fn. 18)

From this time onwards the history of the hospital is merged in that of the nunnery, and it was in all probability included in the possessions of that house at the time of the dissolution. (fn. 19) In a rental of the nuns' possessions, of a date between 1489 and 1545, the following entry occurs:—'Gateshead. Item, the hospital of St. Edmund the Bishop and Confessor, by year £12.' (fn. 20)

A master is mentioned in a list of persons summoned to a synod in 1507, but his name is not given. (fn. 21)

Masters of the Hospital of St. Edmund the Bishop, Gateshead

Gilbert, occ. c. 1248 (fn. 22)

Hugh de Segrave, occ. before 1316 (fn. 23)

John de Denton, occ. 1316; (fn. 24) d. 1325 (fn. 25)

Roland de Jorz, bishop of Armagh, coll. February, 1325-6, p.m. John of Denton. (fn. 26)

John de Thornsby, app. 2 October, 1333 (fn. 27)

Walter Fauconberg, coll. 1 March, 1340-1 (fn. 28)

John de Appleby, coll. 20 August, 1353 (fn. 29)

Adam Fenrother, occ. 10 January, 1366-7; (fn. 30) res. 1376 (fn. 31)

Hugh de Conyngham, coll. by exch. with Fenrother, 5 August, 1376 (fn. 32)

Henry de Manchester, coll. 17 September, 1381 (fn. 33)

Richard Levesham, coll. 27 March, 1383 (fn. 34)

Laurence de Allerthorp, occ. 20 November, 1388 (fn. 35)

John Walkington, occ. 20 March, 1430-1 (fn. 36)

George Radcliffe, coll. 29 January, 1431-2; (fn. 37) res. 12 March, 1435-6 (fn. 38)

John Heyworth, coll. 12 March, 1435-6; p.r. G. Radcliffe. (fn. 39)

Thomas Kirkeby, occ. 1441 (fn. 40)

William Hilderskelfe occ. 1449 (fn. 41)

A Master (name unknown), occ. 1507 (fn. 42)


  • 1. Found. Chart. Bourne, Hist. Newcastle, 169; Ordinatio, ibid. 170.
  • 2. See above, Hosp. Holy Trinity.
  • 3. Ordinatio, Bourne, Hist. Newcastle, 170.
  • 4. Chart. printed, Brand, Hist. Newcastle, i, 469 n.
  • 5. Ibid. 470 n. From an old deed, then in Brand's possession.
  • 6. Ibid. 469 n. From an MS. in the Exchequer. Brand says that in the Taxatio of 1292 the temporalities of 'the Hospital of Gateshead' were valued at £18; but this may possibly refer to the Hospital of St. Edmund the King, q.v.
  • 7. Wills and Invent. (Surt. Soc), i, 7.
  • 8. Amongst other household stores are mentioned two 'nappae' [? tablecloths] for the boys.
  • 9. Reg. Palat. Dun. (Rolls Ser.), iii, 83.
  • 10. Hatf. Surv. (Surt. Soc.), 88.
  • 11. Randall's MSS. Brand, Hist. Newcastle, i, 471 n.
  • 12. Dur. Epis. Reg. Hatfield, fol. 140d.
  • 13. Ibid. Langley, fol. 176.
  • 14. Ibid. fol. 179 d.
  • 15. Surt. Hist. Dur. ii, 127.
  • 16. Dur. Epis. Reg. Langley, fol. 237.
  • 17. Bourne, Hist. Newcastle, 213, 215.
  • 18. Madox, Formul. Angl. (ed. 1702), 271.
  • 19. Brand, Hist. Newcastle, i, 230.
  • 20. Ibid. 231.
  • 21. Script. Tres. (Surt. Soc.), App. cccxvi.
  • 22. Found. Chart. Brand, Hist. Newcastle, i, 446 n.
  • 23. Ibid. 469 n.
  • 24. Ibid. 470 n.
  • 25. Wills and Invent. (Surt. Soc.), i, 22.
  • 26. Ibid.
  • 27. Pat. 7 Edw. III, pt. 2, m. 17.
  • 28. Reg. Palat. Dun. iii, 380.
  • 29. Dur. Epis. Reg. Hatfield, fol. 74.
  • 30. Ibid. fol. 141.
  • 31. Ibid. fol. 195.
  • 32. Ibid.
  • 33. Pat. 5 Ric. II, pt. 1, m. 23.
  • 34. Pat. 6 Ric. II, pt. 2, m. 2.
  • 35. Pat. 12 Ric. II, pt. 1, m. 10.
  • 36. Dur. Epis. Reg. Langley, fol. 176.
  • 37. Surt. Hist. Dur. ii, 127.
  • 38. Dur. Epis. Reg. Langley, fol. 225 d.
  • 39. Ibid.
  • 40. Surt. Hist. Dur. ii, 127.
  • 41. Madox, Formul. Angl. (ed. 1702), p. 271.
  • 42. Dun. Eccles. Reg. v, fol. 88.