Hospitals: St Nicholas, Bury St Edmunds

Page 134

A History of the County of Suffolk: Volume 2. Originally published by Victoria County History, London, 1975.

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The hospital of St. Nicholas stood a short distance without the east gate. The establishment consisted of a master, a chaplain, and several brethren. It was founded by an abbot of Bury St. Edmunds; but the exact date and the particular abbot are unknown.

The earliest known dated reference to it is of the year 1224, when Henry III granted a fair to the master of the hospital of St. Nicholas, to be held on the feast and vigil of the Translation of St. Nicholas. (fn. 1)

The oldest of several charters at the Bodleian relative to this hospital is perhaps of a little earlier date, c. 1215; it is a grant from Richard de la Care, the prior, and the brethren of the hospital of St. Nicholas without the east gate of St. Edmunds to the hospital of St. Peter of all their right in land called 'Holdefader Acre,' lying at 'Dristnapes'; for this grant the brethren of St. Peter gave 6s. of silver. (fn. 2) Other undated deeds of a slightly later date refer to further transfers between the two hospitals. (fn. 3)

In 1325 Edward II granted pardon to the brethren of St Nicholas for acquiring from Hervey de Staunton, the king's clerk, land and rent in the town of St. Edmunds, in aid of the maintenance of a chaplain to celebrate daily in the hospital for the king and his children and for the souls of Abbot John and the faithful departed. (fn. 4)

The master and brethren of the hospital of St. Nicholas obtained licence in 1392 for the alienation to them, by Thomas Ewelle and others, of land and meadows in Bury, Langham, and Great Barton. (fn. 5)

The chantry of Henry Staunton's founding in the chapel of this hospital seems to have been usually held by one of the obedientiaries of the great abbey. In 1351 it was held by John de Sneylewell, the sacrist, and at another time by Edmund de Brundish, the prior. (fn. 6)

The Valor of 1535 names John Keall as chaplain of the chapel of St. Nicholas without the east gate. At that time the mastership and the chaplaincy were apparently combined. The clear value is given as £6 19s. 1d. a year. (fn. 7)

Master Henry Rudde, doctor of Bury, by will of 1506, bequeathed to the hospital of St. Nicholas 'a vestement of whyte satyn and bordrid with Seynt Nicholas arms, to the value of V mark,' (fn. 8) and Anne Buckenham, of Bury, by will of 1534, left 'to the chapell of Sainte Nicholas, of whom I holde my house, a litle chalis.' (fn. 9)

Masters of The Hospital Of St. Nicholas, Bury St. Edmunds

Richard de la Care, (fn. 10) c. 1215

William Maymond, (fn. 11) 1343

John Gerrard, (fn. 12) 1396

William Stowe, (fn. 13) 1459

John Keall, (fn. 14) 1535


  • 1. Close, 8 Hen. III, pt. i, m. 8.
  • 2. Bodl. Chart. Suff. 33.
  • 3. Ibid. 28, 30, 83.
  • 4. Pat. 16 Ric. II, pt. i, m. 10.
  • 5. Ibid.
  • 6. Add. MS. 19103, fol. 160.
  • 7. Valor Eccl. (Rec. Com.), iii, 466.
  • 8. Tymms, Bury Wills, 107.
  • 9. Ibid. 138.
  • 10. Bodl. Chart. Suff. 33.
  • 11. Ibid. 105.
  • 12. Harl. MS. 638, fol. 145b.
  • 13. Bodl. Chart. Suff. 123.
  • 14. Valor Eccl. (Rec. Com.), iii, 466.