Hospitals: St Laud & St Anthony, Hoddesdon

Pages 461-462

A History of the County of Hertford: Volume 4. Originally published by Victoria County History, London, 1971.

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The earliest mention of this hospital is in 1390, when the Bishop of Ely granted indulgences for the poor and lepers of that house and of St. Margaret, Thetford. (fn. 1) One of the two seals of the Hoddesdon Hospital, both apparently of the 15th century, shows that the house was also called St. Clement, (fn. 2) so that there was probably at some time a change of dedication. (fn. 3) During this period, too, the character of the hospital itself was perhaps altered. It seems to have been originally intended, in part at any rate, for lepers, (fn. 4) but in the 16th century it was a hospital or almshouse for poor men and women. Apparently there was no foundation charter, but the warden or 'guydor' held the house on lease from the lord of the manor. (fn. 5) William Thompson, master in 1518, then obtained a fresh lease of the place to himself and his wife at a rent of 2 marks. (fn. 6) He was succeeded in 1535 by Gregory Peryes. (fn. 7) The house and its property were let in 1561 at 20s. a year for twenty-one years to William Smythe of Newington, who at once sold his interest to Robert Reve, a butcher, and by him the hospital with the government of its inmates was leased for 60s. a year to Thomas Jackson. (fn. 8) On 22 April 1568 Jackson complained to Sir William Cecil that Reve did not, as he had promised, repair the hospital, which was in a ruinous state, and that he was making unreasonable waste of the woods belonging to the house. (fn. 9) The survey made (fn. 10) in consequence a few days later proves the truth of his statements : the two little rooms occupied by the poor people at night let in the rain, and the groves were much damaged by cattle.

As the possessions of the hospital consisted only of a few acres of pasture and wood, the poor there must have maintained themselves by begging; in fact, of the eight inmates (fn. 11) six were absent at the time of the survey 'gathering the devotion of the people.' The number to be received was left to the warden's decision, and the surveyors drew the natural conclusion that the founders (fn. 12) had lately troubled themselves little about the management of the place. The hospital lasted but a short time longer, the building (fn. 13) in 1573 being used for a school. (fn. 14)

Wardens or Governors of Hoddedon Hospital

John Jenkinson, shortly before 1518 (fn. 15)

William Thompson, occurs 1518 to 1535 (fn. 16)

Gregory Peryes, became warden in 1535 (fn. 17)

Thomas Jackson, became warden 5 October 1566, (fn. 18) occurs April 1568 (fn. 19)

Thomas Thurgood, occurs 1569 (fn. 20)

John Malden (fn. 21)

A seal of this house, (fn. 22) in the style of the 15th century, is a pointed oval, and represents two saints in a niche with heavy canopies and tabernacle work at the sides. The saint on the left, St. Antony, holds in his right hand a long tau cross, in the other a book, while at his feet is a pig; St. Laud, wearing mitre and vestments, holds blacksmith's pincers in his left hand and a hammer in his right. In the background are sprays of foliage. Legend : SIGILL[UM] OSPITALIS SANCTI ANTONI LOCI DE HODSTUN. Another (fn. 23) of the same shape and style also shows two saints under heavily canopied Gothic niches. The saint on the left is again represented with a tau cross in his right hand and a book in his left, but the pig is not shown at his feet. (fn. 24) St. Laud, (fn. 25) as before, holds a hammer, but in his left hand : his right is raised in benediction. In the base are two emblems, the anchor of St. Clement under St. Antony and a horseshoe under St. Laud. Legend : SIGILLUM HOSPITALIS SANCTI CLEMENT' LOCI DE HODDESDON.


  • 1. Gibbons, Cal. of Ely Epis. Rec. 397. William of the Hospital, one of the tenants of Hoddesdonbury Manor in 1394 (Tregelles, Hist. of Hoddesdon, 229), may have been the master of the house.
  • 2. B.M. Seals, D.C., G 19.
  • 3. Tregelles, op. cit. 27.
  • 4. Mr. Tregelles doubts it (op. cit. 235), but the warden said in 1568 (ibid. 231) that the foundation was given for poor lazars, leprous and impotent persons then and thereafter to be maintained.
  • 5. Survey of the hospital 29 Apr. 10 Eliz. (Tregelles, Hist. of Hoddesdon, 234).
  • 6. Ibid. 235.
  • 7. Ibid.
  • 8. Ibid.
  • 9. Ibid. 231.
  • 10. The petition and survey which are at Hatfield House are printed in full by Mr. Tregelles (op. cit. 231-4).
  • 11. From Jackson's petition it might be inferred that there were twelve brothers and sisters, but perhaps he meant that the hospital was intended for that number.
  • 12. To these there is no clue. The one bequest to the house known is Sir William Say's in 1529 (P.C.C. 6 Thower), but a legacy of 6s. 8d. does not argue great interest.
  • 13. It comprised a hall, kitchen, chapel and the two little rooms mentioned above.
  • 14. Tregelles, op. cit. 235.
  • 15. Ibid.
  • 16. Ibid.
  • 17. Ibid.
  • 18. Tregelles, op. cit. 232.
  • 19. Ibid.
  • 20. He rented the land then (ibid. 235).
  • 21. He still occupied the land in 1573, when the school took the place of the hospital (ibid.).
  • 22. B.M. Seals, lxiv, 68.
  • 23. Ibid. D.C., G 19.
  • 24. The catalogue describes the object under the saint on the left as a pig, but there seems no doubt (Tregelles, op. cit. 21) that it is an anchor.
  • 25. According to the catalogue description this is St. Clement.