Hospitals: The leper hospital, Southwark

Page 542

A History of the County of London: Volume 1, London Within the Bars, Westminster and Southwark. Originally published by Victoria County History, London, 1909.

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On the outskirts of the Borough was a hospital for lepers under the joint dedication of St. Mary and St. Leonard. Stow speaks of it as the Loke or Lazar-house for leprous persons, which stood in Kent Street, without St. George's Bar, but he had failed to learn anything of its early foundation. (fn. 1)

It was probably of twelfth-century origin, like so many similar establishments outside English towns. The first notice that we have found of it occurs in the time of Edward II, when it had evidently been for some time endowed. The favours it obtained from Edward II and Edward III confirm the tradition that it was originally of royal foundation.

Protection was granted for one year on 4 June, 1315, for the master and brethren of the hospital, and their men and lands. (fn. 2) The like was repeated in June, 1316, for another year. (fn. 3) And again letters of protection were obtained from the same king on 10 April, 1320, to last for two years. (fn. 4) On 27 July of the same year these letters of protection were renewed for two years, and at the same time the brethren were authorized, in consequence' of the insufficiency of their income, to collect alms. (fn. 5)

Protection was again granted for two years, in September, 1328, wherein it was stated that the brethren had no sufficient livelihood unless they were succoured by the faithful. (fn. 6)

This was one of the four leper hospitals built for the reception of these sufferers outside London, for the injunctions against lepers entering the City were numerous and stringent. The other three named by Stow were those at Stratford le Bow, at Knightsbridge, and between Shoreditch and Stoke Newington. (fn. 7)

John Pope, by his will of 1487, gave to this hospital 6s. 8d. towards its repair and maintenance. It was for a long time under the care of St. Bartholomew's Hospital. (fn. 8)


  • 1. Stow, Surv. (ed. Thomas), 156.
  • 2. Pat. 8 Edw. II, pt. 2, m. 9.
  • 3. Ibid. 9 Edw. II, pt. 2, m. 14.
  • 4. Ibid. 13 Edw. II, m. 11.
  • 5. Ibid. 14 Edw. II, pt. 1, m. 12.
  • 6. Ibid. 2 Edw. III, pt. 2, m. 21.
  • 7. Stow, Surv. (ed. Thomas), 184.
  • 8. Manning and Bray, Hist. of Surr. iii, 634.