A History of the County of Essex: Volume 2. Originally published by Victoria County History, London, 1907.
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49. THE HOSPITAL OF WRITTLE
Pope Innocent III. having founded for the English the hospital of the Holy Ghost in the church of St. Mary in Saxia in Rome, King John at his request granted (fn. 1) the church of Writtle to it on 25 March, 1204, and also granted 100 marks yearly at the Exchequer until the church should be vacant. This came about in 1218, and on 1 October Pope Honorius III ordered (fn. 2) the papal legate to put the envoy of the hospital in possession.
Confirmations of the grant were obtained from successive kings in 1314, (fn. 3) 1328 (fn. 4) and 1379, (fn. 5) and from popes (fn. 6) in 1218, 1229, 1291 and 1352. Pope Nicholas IV on 8 June, 1291, granted (fn. 7) relaxation of penance to penitents who should visit the church at certain times. Edward I on 12 May, 1276, released (fn. 8) the brethren from payment of the portion due from them for a twentieth granted in the preceding reign; on 12 January, 1292, confirmed a grant to them of land at Writtle; (fn. 9) and on 30 August, 1302, pardoned (fn. 10) them for having acquired land in Writtle without licence. Not many years later Lyoun, warden, asked (fn. 11) licence to buy 40s. of land, as none of his tenants would give him land.
The church was served by the brethren of the hospital, and no vicarage was ever ordained. On 21 July, 1246, Pope Innocent IV granted (fn. 12) licence for them to present one of their number, being a priest, to the bishop to receive from him cure of souls and to celebrate divine service there. Edward III on 15 July, 1346, ordered (fn. 13) the escheator in the county not to aggrieve the warden for chantries, maintenance of the poor or alms; as it had been found by inquisition that the church had been granted in frankalmoin to the hospital at Rome and never charged with such except for the maintenance of the poor and infirm of that hospital. On 10 May, 1387, John Eyr was sent (fn. 14) by the king to the master with a request for maintenance; but the master refused to admit him, pleading his charters and that the so-called hospital consisted merely of a church, 100 acres of glebe land and a parsonage house. (fn. 15)
As the hospital was not of the power of France it was not taken into the hands of the kings of England on account of the war; and the wardens, who were merely the proctors of the hospital in Rome, received frequent grants of protection. Later, however, they were subjected to restrictions as other aliens; and when in 1366 the warden sent money abroad without licence he was ordered to repay it to the king, though in 1372 Pope Gregory XI interceded (fn. 16) for him. The hospital was not now of much value to its foreign owners, and eventually it was sold with all its possessions, including the church of Writtle and the chapel of Roxwell, to New College, Oxford, by a licence (fn. 17) from the king on 22 February, 1391. The house at Rome did not make much out of the transaction, for the pope secured 5,000 ducats from the purchase money. (fn. 18)
Wardens or Masters of Writtle
Algucius, occurs 1288, (fn. 19) 1296, (fn. 20) 1302. (fn. 21)
Leo, occurs 1324, (fn. 22) 1327. (fn. 23)
James, occurs 1332, (fn. 24) 1337. (fn. 25)
Nicholas, occurs 1339. (fn. 26)
James, occurs 1343, (fn. 27) 1346, (fn. 28) 1349. (fn. 29)
Giles, occurs 1348. (fn. 30)
Adrian, occurs 1357. (fn. 31)
Silvester Romanis of Florence, occurs 1366, (fn. 32) 1370, (fn. 33) 1383. (fn. 34)
Peter de Orto, occurs 1376. (fn. 35)