Hospitals: Bocking

Page 183

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

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John Doreward, the son, had licence (fn. 1) on 14 May, 1440, to found a house or mansion, to be called the Maison Dieu of the town of Bocking, on two acres of his own land within the town, for seven poor men to dwell in, of whom one was to be called the provost of the town and to have the governance of the house and the poor men; and to grant to them in frankalmoin the manor of Tendring, and £10 rent from his lands in Essex for their maintenance, that they might pray for the good estate of the king and the founder, and for their souls after death and the souls of the king's mother Katharine and John Doreward the father. (fn. 2) As a contribution towards the endowment the king granted to John Doreward a vacant plot of land in the parishes of St. Mary, Stanyng Lane, and St. Olave, London, on which a tenement and five other messuages had lately been built, the plot being valued at 10s. yearly. This plot was excepted from the operation of the Act of Resumption passed in Parliament in 34 Henry VI; and it is stated in the Act (fn. 3) that John Doreward had founded the Maison Dieu and given the plot to it, and that the plot was then worth at most 40s. yearly.

Nothing is known of the intermediate history of the house; but it appears to have survived the dissolution. Morant mentions it as being in existence in the middle of the eighteenth century.

The commissioners appointed to inquire into charities in 1837-8 reported (fn. 4) that the premises were then and had been from time immemorial used as an almshouse. They were then occupied by thirteen poor persons of both sexes, the inmates being generally selected by the dean of Bocking with the concurrence of the parish officers. Attached to the house was about half an acre of garden ground let at a rent of £3 yearly, which was paid to the dean and applied, with other funds, in repairing the premises and furnishing coals to the inmates. The house and land were worth about £16 yearly.


  • 1. Pat. 18 Hen. VI. pt, 3, m. 2. Printed in Dugdale, Mon. vii, 718.
  • 2. The elder John in 1397 founded a chantry at Bocking, his elaborate charter being given in full in Litterae Cantuarienses (Rolls Ser.), iii, 52–8.
  • 3. Rolls of Parl. v, 315.
  • 4. Char. Commrs. Rep. xxxii, pt. 1, p. 771.