A History of the County of Hertford: Volume 4. Originally published by Victoria County History, London, 1971.
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23. HOSPITAL OF ST. JOHN THE EVANGELIST, BERKHAMPSTEAD
The hospital of St. John the Evangelist for lepers was founded at Berkhampstead certainly before 1213, for it is the subject of a charter of Geoffrey Fitz Piers Earl of Essex, who died in that year. The earl, who was evidently patron of the hospital, (fn. 1) committed it to the custody of the brothers of St. Thomas of Acon, so that under their supervision its goods and alms might be expended on the poor and sick of the hospital, and not be removed elsewhere. (fn. 2)
The master, brothers and sisters of the house received letters of protection in February 1222 until the king's coming of age, (fn. 3) and in May 1227, when the king had attained his majority, the protection was renewed. (fn. 4) A few weeks before Henry had ordered the constable of Berkhampstead to supply the lepers of St. John's for their maintenance with 4 qrs. of corn from his grange and two 'bacones.' (fn. 5)
Whatever Fitz Piers's charter may have given the canons of Acon, (fn. 6) the right of appointing the master of St. John's was not included. This apparently belonged to the owner of Berkhampstead (fn. 7) : in November 1336, when the honour was in the king's hand, he gave the custody of the hospital to one of his clerks (fn. 8); and Henry VI, while he held the manor, presented the warden. (fn. 9)
In 1391 the house is mentioned as the hospital of brothers and sisters of St. Thomas the Martyr and St. John the Evangelist. (fn. 10)
Edward IV in November 1461 inspected and confirmed Fitz Piers's deed in favour of the brothers of Acon, (fn. 11) and when the hospital, with that of St. Leonard, came to an end in 1515-16 (fn. 12) the master of St. Thomas of Acon entered into possession of the house and its property. (fn. 13) Probably the chapel was served for some years longer. (fn. 14) In September 1533, however, the place was made over to Thomas Jakes of Berkhampstead, gentleman, who in January 1536 disposed of a gilt chalice, a mass-book, three vestments and other ornaments, and in September 1539 sold the lead roof of the chapel and its bells. (fn. 15) The existence of the house was over long before the king granted it and its lands in June 1540 to Robert Horderne. (fn. 16)
Wardens of the Hospital of St. John the Evangelist, Berkhampstead
John de Rasen, appointed 15 November 1336 (fn. 17)
Henry Cows, chaplain, appointed March 1390-1 (fn. 18)
John Mildenale, resigned 1423 (fn. 19)
Walter Osbarn, appointed 24 February 1447 (fn. 22)