Hospitals: Hospitals in Yarmouth

Page 453

A History of the County of Norfolk: Volume 2. Originally published by Victoria County History, London, 1906.

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The hospital of St. Mary, Yarmouth, was founded by Thomas Fastolf early in the reign of Edward I. William Gerbrigge, senior, by will of 1728, bequeathed to it a rent of nine marks for the maintenance of two priests. The establishment, independently of these two chantry priests or chaplains, consisted of a master or warden, eight brethren, and eight sisters. (fn. 1)

Walter de Bintre, donzel of the Duke of Lancaster, petitioned Innocent VI, in 1354, on behalf of the hospital of St. Mary the Virgin at Yarmouth, wherein lived a multitude of poor brethren and sisters, for whose sustenance a daily quest has to be made, that he would authorize the acceptance by the hospital of oblations, and grant relaxation of a year and forty days of enjoined penance to those who visit the hospital and the sacred relics therein, and who give a helping hand to the poor inhabitants thereof. (fn. 2) Richard Fastolf bequeathed in 1356 considerable rents to the hospital, provided the master, brethren, and sisters remembered his soul and that of Petronilla his wife in their masses and prayers, and William de Statham in 1379 devised to the bailiffs and commonalty of the town two fish-houses towards the support of St. Mary's Hospital. (fn. 3)

In 1398 this hospital came into the hands of the corporation of Yarmouth, when fresh regulations for its government were drawn up, and the appointment of the warden henceforth vested in the town. (fn. 4)

John Alcock, bishop of Ely, on 19 April, 1419, granted an indulgence of forty days to all who assisted in the sustenance or repair of this hospital. (fn. 5)

The house did not flourish under town management. In 1535, it was only worth £4 13s. 4d. a year, wherewith four poor women were supported. (fn. 6)


Outside the walls of Yarmouth, on the north, were two houses for lepers, both probably of early foundation. There seems to have been a chapel common to the two lazar-houses; probably they were separate buildings for the two sexes. Many small bequests were made by the townsfolk for their support in the fourteenth century. Thus, in 1365, William Oxney left 6s. 8d. to each house of lepers.

At the time of the dissolution of the religious houses the corporation took possession of the two leper houses at the North Gate, and afterwards appointed a warden. They are frequently mentioned for some time in the corporation records as ' Sickman's Houses.' (fn. 7)


  • 1. Tanner, Notitia, Norf. lxxvii, 3.
  • 2. Cal. Papal Pet. iii, 263.
  • 3. Palmer, Hist. of Yarmouth, i, 431.
  • 4. Manship, Hist. of Yarmouth (1619), 40-1.
  • 5. Ely Epis. Reg. Alcock, fol. 17.
  • 6. Valor Eccl. (Rec. Com.), iii, 296.
  • 7. Manship, Hist. of Yarmouth (1619), 45; Palmer, Hist. of Yarmouth, i, 432-4;