Hospitals: Harbledown

A History of the County of Kent: Volume 2. Originally published by Victoria County History, London, 1926.

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'Hospitals: Harbledown', A History of the County of Kent: Volume 2, (London, 1926), pp. 219-220. British History Online [accessed 24 June 2024].

. "Hospitals: Harbledown", in A History of the County of Kent: Volume 2, (London, 1926) 219-220. British History Online, accessed June 24, 2024,

. "Hospitals: Harbledown", A History of the County of Kent: Volume 2, (London, 1926). 219-220. British History Online. Web. 24 June 2024,

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The hospital of St. Nicholas, Harbledown, was founded by Lanfranc, archbishop of Canterbury (1070-89), who also founded the hospital of St. John, Northgate, Canterbury; and much of its history is identical with that of its twin foundation, and has already been told. (fn. 1)

Henry I made a grant of wood to the hospital of Harbledown. Henry II granted to it 20 marks yearly from the farm of the city of Canterbury, and the grant was confirmed by Henry III and several later kings. (fn. 2) In 1412 the brethren and sisters were pardoned for having acquired various lands and rents in Reculver, Herne, Harbledown, Goodnestone, the suburbs of Canterbury, Westgate by Canterbury, and the Isle of Harty without licence since the publication of the statute of mortmain. (fn. 3)

Pope Clement VI in 1344 gave orders that John de Redeni, layman, should be received into the hospital of Harbledown, in which the inmates wore a distinct habit, heard mass daily and said the Lord's Prayer and Hail Mary and the canonical hours, and had a common dormitory and ate separately, living on certain rents provided by the archbishop of Canterbury. (fn. 4)

In the Valor of 1535 the gross income of the hospital, including the £80 from the archbishopric and £13 6s, 8d. from the city, amounted to £112 15s. 7d., and the net income to £ 109 6s. 2d. yearly, (fn. 5) but in the certificates of colleges and chantries these values are given as £ 106 15s. 4¼d. and £102 Os. o½d. respectively. (fn. 6)

Archbishop Parker reported (fn. 7) in 1562 of this hospital that it is of the foundation of the lord archbyshop of Cant, and there be placed sixty poor people, men and women, and they have three corrodyes by the lord archbushop for the tyme being of perpetuall almes. Item, they be not charged with the taxation of the tenthes.

Archbishop Whitgift interfered in 1595 to protect the brethren and sisters against oppression by one Norton who had carried away wood belonging to them. (fn. 8)

The commissioners appointed to inquire into charities gave a long account in 1837 of the arrangements then in force at the hospital, and of its rental and benefactions made to it. (fn. 9)

Masters of Harbledown (fn. 10)

Martin Fotherby, 1612
Richard Clarke, 1620
Thomas Jackson, 1635
William Somner, 1660
George Thorpe, 1702
John Paris, 1708
John Bradock, 1709
Elias Sydall, 1711
John Lynch, 1731
Thomas Lamprey, 1744
Sir John Head, 1761
John Duncombe, 1770
John Lynch, 1786
Houston Radcliffe, 1803
Hugh Percy, 1822
James Croft, 1829
Edward Parry, 1869

The seal (fn. 11) of the hospital (fifteenth century) is a pointed oval measuring 3 in. by 1¾ in. representing St. Nicholas standing on a platform with mitre, lifting up the right hand in benediction and holding in the left a pastoral staff. The field diapered lozengy, in each space a pierced cinquefoil. In base a six-foiled rose. Legend:—



  • 1. See p. 211.
  • 2. Pat. 1 Hen. IV, pt. 6, m. 36; 1 Hen. V, pt. 1, m. 21; 12 Hen. VI, pt. 2, m. 30; 1 Edw. IV, pt. 2, m. 15.
  • 3. Pat. 13 Hen. IV, pt. 2, m. 18.
  • 4. Cal. Papal Let. iii, 108;Cal. Papal Pet. i, 39.
  • 5. Valor Eccl. (Rec. Com.), i, 30.
  • 6. Chant. Cert. 29, Nos. 46-8.
  • 7. Cant. Archiepis. Reg. Parker, fol. 237b.
  • 8. Strype, Life of Whitgift, ii, 328.
  • 9. Char. Com. Rep. xxx, 241-6.
  • 10. From a list in Lambeth MS. 1131. The master is also master of the hospital of Northgate.
  • 11. B.M. Seals, lxv, 68.