Hospitals: St Saviour, Bury St Edmunds

Pages 135-136

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. Saviour, without the north gate, was begun by Abbot Samson about the year 1184, but it was not finished nor fully endowed until the time of King John. It was originally founded for a warden, twelve chaplain priests, six clerks, twelve poor men, and twelve poor women. (fn. 1)

Abbot Samson and the convent granted to the hospital the place upon which the buildings stood; £13 in silver of their village of Icklingham; two portions of their church of Melford; portions of certain tithes; eight acres of corn in Cockfield; and their houses at 'Telefort,' saving to the monastery an annual service of 2s., and to the canons 12d. This grant was confirmed on 16 July, 1206, by John de Gray, bishop of Norwich. (fn. 2)

The annual value of this hospital in 1291 is set down at the round sum of £10. (fn. 3)

A charter of Abbot John, 1292, relative to this hospital, lays down that the inmates henceforth must be poor; that 6s. 8d. was to be allowed to clerks and laymen, and 5s. to sisters; and that the warden was to be a man of prudence and discretion. The endowment was at the same time augmented by 10 acres of land and two of meadow near the south gate, and by 22d. rent in the town. (fn. 4)

In the time of Edward I, there were only seven chaplains, and it was decided to dismiss the poor sisters and in their place to receive and maintain old and infirm priests. (fn. 5)

In 1336 the abbey successfully resisted the crown's custom of imposing pensioners on the hospital funds; securing a grant that after the death of John de Broughton the hospital should not again be called upon to provide corrodies out of its revenues. (fn. 6)

In 1390 William the abbot, with the consent of Adam de la Kyndneth, guest-master, granted to Edward Merssh of Ickworth a corrody in this hospital for his life. In the following year Robert Rymer was granted a corrody by the same abbot in St. Saviour's, through the vacancy caused by the death of Edward Merssh. (fn. 7) In the year 1392 John Reve, of Pakenham, was admitted an inmate on the following terms: he was to have board and lodging in the hospital for life, and to receive annually a gown, a pair of stockings, and a pair of shoes. It is added in a memorandum that John Reve in consideration of this grant was to pay to the master of the hospital, towards the new fabric of the hospital, the large sum of 26 marks by the hand of Robert Ashfield. The hospital was also used from time to time as a refuge for worn-out priests. Abbot John of Northwold, when founding the charnel house, laid down that its two chaplains, when they became infirm, were to be admitted to St. Saviour's Hospital, save if they were suffering from any contagious disease, when they were to be sent to the hospital of St. Peter or that of St. Nicholas. (fn. 8)

Among the town muniments are five rolls of accounts of this hospital for the years 1353-4, 1374-5, 1385-6, 1386-7, and 1438-9. Mention is made in the accounts for 1386-7 (when the receipts were £106 2s. 9½d. and the expenses £234 3s. 6¾d.), among the ornaments of the chapel of St. Thomas in the infirmary church, of 12s. for a silver box placed beneath the feet of an image, and a base (corbel stone) bought of Simon, the abbey mason, at 5s., for the image to stand on at the right corner of the altar. Also three books with the services of the passion and translation of St. Thomas, 13s. 4d. Sixpence was paid to a messenger going to Clare to get a doctor in theology to preach on St. Thomas's Day, and then on to Sudbury for tiles for the pavement of St. Thomas's Chapel. A suffragan bishop received a gift this year, as well as his chaplain and servant; he probably attended to consecrate the chapel or altar of St. Thomas. (fn. 9)

St. Saviour's Hospital was by far the largest and most important institution of its kind in the town. It suffered much at the hands of the rioters of 1327, both in stock and goods; the loss was valued at £21 9s. 6d., including horses, cows, and pigs, as well as smaller articles, such as six silver spoons worth 7s. 6d., and a maser worth a mark. (fn. 10)

The accounts of this hospital are not entered separately from those of the abbey in the Valor of 1535. There are eight entries of dues payable to the hospital from certain abbey properties, amounting to £6 2s. 3d. (fn. 11) This intermingling of the accounts of the hospital with those of the abbey arose from the fact that in 1528 Pope Clement issued a bull whereby the profits of this hospital were annexed to the abbey and specially assigned for the exercise of hospitality at the abbot's table. (fn. 12)

The hospital site and buildings (save the lead) were granted on its suppression by Henry VIII to Sir John Williams and Anthony Stringer in February, 1542-3, but they almost immediately received licence to alienate to Nicholas Bacon and Henry Ashfield. (fn. 13)

Wardens of the Hospital of St. Saviour, Bury St. Edmunds

Peter de Shenedon, (fn. 14) occurs 1318

Nicholas Snytterton, (fn. 15) occurs 1374

Walter de Totyngtone, (fn. 16) occurs 1385

John Power, (fn. 17) occurs 1390

Adam de Lakyngheth, (fn. 18) 1406


  • 1. Liber Niger, fol. 24, 30.
  • 2. Bodl. Chart. Suff. ii.
  • 3. Pope Nich. Tax. (Rec. Com.), 133.
  • 4. Harl. MS. 638, fol. 138.
  • 5. Liber Niger, fol. 30.
  • 6. Pat. 13 Edw. III, pt. i, m. 13.
  • 7. Cott. MS. Tib. B. ix, fol. 61b.
  • 8. Proc. Suff. Arch. Inst. vi, 297.
  • 9. Hist. MSS. Com. Rep. xiv, App. viii, 128-30
  • 10. Arnold, Mem. ii, 346.
  • 11. Valor Eccl. (Rec. Com.), iii, 451, 453, 461-4.
  • 12. Rymer, Foedera, xiv, 244-5.
  • 13. L. and P. Hen. VIII, xviii, pt. i, 131, 133.
  • 14. Pat. 12 Edw. II, pt. i, m. 27.
  • 15. Hist. MSS. Com. Rep. xiv, pt. 8, 128.
  • 16. Ibid. 129.
  • 17. Pat. 13 Ric. II, pt. i, m. 17.
  • 18. Cott. MS. Tib. B. ix, fol. 103b.