Hospitals: St John the Baptist, Redcliffe

A History of the County of Somerset: Volume 2. Originally published by Victoria County History, London, 1911.

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'Hospitals: St John the Baptist, Redcliffe', in A History of the County of Somerset: Volume 2, (London, 1911) pp. 160-161. British History Online [accessed 12 April 2024]

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This hospital, of which one John Farcey or Farceyn was traditionally regarded as the founder, (fn. 1) was apparently established about the beginning of the 13th century, as a deed of the time of King John granting a well to the church of St. Mary Redcliffe stipulated that the hospital should have its water supplied therefrom by a pipe. (fn. 2) As a result of this stipulation we find that in 1320 the workmen of St. John's were allowed to enter the chapel yard of St Mary's to mend a broken pipe. (fn. 3) Several deeds of the first half of the 13th century refer to the 'brethren and sisters ' of the hospital, (fn. 4) but the deed by which the chapel of the Holy Spirit in the cemetery of St. Mary Redcliffe was made over to the hospital speaks only of brethren, (fn. 5) and the same is the case with the grant of a portion of the rectory of Backwell made by Bishop Walter de Hasleshaw in 1306. (fn. 6) The sisters, however, reappear in 1322, (fn. 7) and in 1317 Bishop Drokensford requested the master of St. John's to receive as a secular sister Alice, niece of Edmund de Wyntereshall. (fn. 8) On admission the inmates were required to take an oath to follow the rule of St. Augustine as observed in the hospital. (fn. 9)

In 1286 Stephen, Master of the hospital of St. John, was fined 20s. for obstructing a public road by erecting a gate. (fn. 10) John Monington, Master or Prior of St. John's, resigned in 1348, retaining a room in the hospital and enjoying for life the manor of Bishopsworth. (fn. 11) Later in this century, in 1383, the chapel of the Holy Spirit was made over to the fraternity of the Holy Spirit, (fn. 12) and it would seem that the hospital was dwindling into insignificance, as in 1442 there was only one brother resident. (fn. 13)

In 1534 the Mayor and corporation of Bristol granted the next presentation to the hospital of St. John the Baptist in Redcliffe Pitt, at the request of Queen Anne Boleyn, to Sir Edward Beynton and Dr. Nicholas Shaxton, of the Queen's household, and David Hutton, grocer of Bristol. (fn. 14) Their nominee was probably Richard Bromefield who surrendered the hospital in March 1544. (fn. 15)

Masters of St. John's, Redcliffe (fn. 16)

Thomas, 1261

Stephen, 1286 (fn. 17)

Edmund le Thyelare, 1292

John de Monington, (fn. 18) occurs 1344, resigned 1348

Lawrence Cocele (fn. 19)

William Topesleye, 1383

John Seympoule, occurs 1394, (fn. 20) 1403 (fn. 21)

Nicholas Sterr, 1430

John Hall, appointed 1442

William Prowse, appointed 1467

Richard Collins, S.T.P., appointed 1504

Richard Bromefield, surrendered 1544

The early 13th-century seal of the Hospital of St. John Baptist at Redcliffe (fn. 22) is a vesica, 3 in. by 21/8 in., and has a representation of the baptism of Our Lord. The legend is:—


The seal of Roger the Procurator, used as a counterseal to the above, is a vesica, 1½ in. by 1 in., with a three-quarters' length figure of the Baptist holding a scroll inscribed: ECCE AGNUS DEI. On the left is the Lamb. The legend is:—✠ SIGILL' PROCURATORIS HOSPITAL S[ANCTI] IO[HANNI]S DE RADECLIVIA.


  • 1. Red Book of Bristol, i.
  • 2. Trans. Bristol and Glouc. Arch. Soc. xxiv, 173.
  • 3. Bp. Drokensford's Reg. (Somers. Rec. Soc.) 145.
  • 4. Trans. Bristol and Glouc. Arch Soc. xxiv, 173.
  • 5. Ibid. 174.
  • 6. Ibid.
  • 7. Ibid. 175.
  • 8. Bp. Drokensford's Reg. (Somers. Rec. Soc.) 9.
  • 9. Barrett, Antiq. of Bristol, 594.
  • 10. Trans. Bristol and Glouc. Arch. Soc. xxii, 174.
  • 11. R. of Shrewsbury's Reg. (Somers. Rec. Soc.) 551.
  • 12. Barrett, op. cit. 595.
  • 13. Ibid. 596.
  • 14. Red Bk. of Bristol, ii, 241.
  • 15. Trans. Bristol and Glouc. Arch. Soc. xxiv, 176.
  • 16. Barrett, op. cit. 595.
  • 17. Trans. Bristol and Glouc. Arch. Soc. xxii, 174.
  • 18. Richard de Moniton, brother of the hospital of St. John, was promoted from acolyte to subdeacon in 1336: R. of Shrewsbury's Reg. (Somers. Rec. Soc.) 275.
  • 19. Buckland Cartul. (Somer. Rec. Soc.) 74.
  • 20. Ibid. 77.
  • 21. Trans. Bristol and Glouc. Arch. Soc. xxiv, 175.
  • 22. Cat. of Seals B.M. 3890. Add, Chart. 15204.