Hospitals: Leper house of Gorleston

Pages 138-139

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

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Not much is known of the lazar-house of Gorleston. It was probably one of those leper houses of early establishment of which records are so few, as they were supported almost entirely by the alms of those entering or leaving the town on whose outskirts they were planted.

Protection was granted by Edward III for two years, in June, 1331, to the master and brethren of the hospital of St. Mary and St. Nicholas (sic), Gorleston, and their messengers collecting alms, as the house had not sufficient means of subsistence. (fn. 1)

The house is mentioned in a will of 1372, and again in 1379, when Simon Atte Gap, of Great Yarmouth, bequeathed a legacy of 6s. 8d. towards its maintenance. (fn. 2)

Part of its small possessions were held of the manor of Gapton by the tenure of a yearly pair of gloves. In the receipts of Gapton Hall court roll for 1643 is entered:—

Received of Humphrey Prince, gent, for one acre called Glove Acre, a payer of gloves, of him for the house, late the hospital of St. James (sic) in Southtowne, Geth by the way of Yarmouth viiid. (fn. 3)

Some of its lands are now in possession of Magdalen College, Oxford; they were known as 'Spytelyng in Gorleston.' (fn. 4)


  • 1. Pat. 5 Edw. III, pt. ii, m. 34.
  • 2. Suckling, Hist. of Suff. i, 37.
  • 3. Gapton Ct. R. cited by Suckling, ibid.
  • 4. Hist. MSS. Com. Rep. iv, 461, 463.