Hospitals: St James & St Mary Magdalen, Chichester

Pages 99-100

A History of the County of Sussex: Volume 2. Originally published by Victoria County History, London, 1973.

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A hospital for lepers was founded outside the east gate of Chichester at an early date, possibly by 'the good queen Maud,' consort of Henry I. Bishop Seffrid's confirmation charter shows that it was endowed with 10s. rents from the archdeaconry of Lewes, tithes in Colworth in Oving and a rent of 4s.; the bishop added the grant of eight woollen tunics at Christmas and eight of linen at Easter, so that we may conclude that there were originally eight inmates. Further, as the church was dedicated in honour of the Magdalen whose sins were forgiven because she loved much, fifteen days' relaxation of penance were granted to those visiting and relieving the poor inmates. (fn. 1) This charter was confirmed in 1362 by Bishop William, who represents the hospital as founded in honour of St. Mary Magdalen and St. James, and grants forty days' indulgence to persons visiting the house on the days of those saints. (fn. 2) The hospital had already for about a hundred years previous to this date been commonly known as that of St. James, probably to avoid confusion with another house of St. Mary Magdalen—that of 'Loddesdown.'

Henry II gave a general charter of confirmation to 'the infirm of Chichester' (fn. 3) and Henry III in 1231 directed John de Gatesden to give whatever remained over of the money assigned to him when sheriff for the king's alms to the chaplain of the house of lepers. (fn. 4) The hospital was under the control of a chaplain or master, who received 2d. a day, charged on the issues of the county, (fn. 5) and Bishop William's charter mentions a 'prior,' who was the senior inmate. The customs of the house were confirmed by the dean in 1408. (fn. 6) Candidates were admitted by consent of the chaplain and a majority of the brethren and were liable to expulsion if they married or were convicted of incontinence or of being absent without leave of the prior. This latter had to take an oath to the chaplain and brethren to look well after the affairs of the house. The infirm inmates were to be supported by the hale; each had a weekly allowance of money, but if any spent his recklessly, relying on his brethren for support, the prior might deduct part of his money. If a brother were quarrelsome, or revealed the secrets of the house to strangers, he should, after warning, pay a fine to the light of St. James. The sacrist had to rise an hour after midnight and ring a bell to summon all to prayers, consisting of memorial prayers for the king, the realm and all benefactors, the Creed and a hundred Lord's Prayers and Salutations (the knowledge of which was an essential condition of admission).

A visitation held in 1442 showed that the management of this charity had become lax and corrupt; the inmates had all secured admission by payments to the master and of the eight brethren six, including the prior, were married and usually spent the night at home with their wives, the prior himself being absent night and day and totally neglecting his duties. (fn. 7) In 1535 the income of the hospital was £4 14s. 10d., (fn. 8) and shortly after this date alterations appear to have been made in its constitution, as in 1540 the master was a layman and there were sisters as well as brethren in the house. (fn. 9)

In 1594 the income of the house was about £6, of which, after repairs had been paid for, the master, Charles Lascelles, received half, the other moiety going to the inmates, who were at this time—

William Egle, now proctor, and Dorothy his wife, both about 50, Hugh Young impotent, age 33, Richard Mottle cripple, 35, Richard Parshaw cripple, 16, Thomas Mawrynge cripple, 18, John Pellard a diseased idiot, 30, Agnes Patchinge a maid without legs, 30, Agnes Barnes a maid without legs, Margaret Crowcher a maid about 40, a cripple, Elizabeth Vody an idiot, 17, Alice Taylor a cripple, 30, and Constance Cutt an impotent cripple in her loins, 15. All of honest conversation.

They only left the house for the purpose of obtaining alms, their income being obviously insufficient for their maintenance; (fn. 10) accordingly the queen in 1597 licensed William Egly as 'guider of ye sd House' to collect money. (fn. 11) Besides the master and prior a chaplain was engaged at £1 6s. 8d. per annum and 20s. were paid to Richard Woods for 'acting as a singing-man.' (fn. 12) In 1618 William Lawes, the master, petitioned the justices for payment of a yearly sum of £10 formerly given to the hospital, and this was agreed to by the justices on condition that they should have the nomination of inmates, whose number was to be reduced to eight. (fn. 13) It is probable that not long after this date the hospital ceased to exist and the mastership became a sinecure, the issues being applied in augmentation of the stipend of one of the cathedral vicars. (fn. 14)

Masters Of The Hospital Of St. James, Chichester

Thomas, died 1244 (fn. 15)

William Burdun, appointed 1244 (fn. 16)

Leger de Hampton, appointed 1249, (fn. 17) occurs 1275 (fn. 18)

Peter de Lewes, appointed 1282, (fn. 19) died 1284

William de Deveral, appointed 1284, (fn. 20) died 1309

Richard Letice, appointed 1309, (fn. 21) died 1311

John Gilbert, appointed 1311, (fn. 22) died 1317

Adam de Anne, appointed 1317, (fn. 23) died 1317

William son of Gilbert le Bakere, appointed 1317, (fn. 24) died 1320 (fn. 25)

Stephen de Carleton, appointed 1320, (fn. 26) died 1336

Stephen de Ivelchestre, appointed 1336 (fn. 27)

John Nichole of Tangmere, appointed 1348, (fn. 28) occurs 1378 (fn. 29)

Henry Botiller, appointed 1383 (fn. 30)

William Fissch, appointed 1383 (fn. 31)

John Sheparde, exchanged 1398 (fn. 32)

Henry Hikke, appointed 1398 (fn. 33)

Hugh Veautrey or Voytrer, appointed 1399 (fn. 34)

Richard Hugh, appointed 1402, exchanged 1406 (fn. 35)

Nicholas Cotille, appointed 1406, exchanged 1408 (fn. 35)

Thomas Waryn, appointed 1408 (fn. 35)

Thomas Gardener, occurs 1437 (fn. 36)

Gilbert Boxforde, occurs 1442 (fn. 37)

William Forden, occurs 1471 (fn. 38)

Hugh Gryndon, occurs 1481, (fn. 39) 1490 (fn. 40)

Richard Odeby, occurs 1525 (fn. 41)

Francis Everede, gent., occurs 1540 (fn. 42)

Charles Lascelles, occurs 1594, (fn. 43) 1606 (fn. 44)

William Lawes, clerk, occurs 1618, (fn. 45) 1621 (fn. 46)


  • 1. Add. MS. 24828, fol. 137.
  • 2. Ibid. 139.
  • 3. Pat. 17 Edw. III, pt. ii, m. 27.
  • 4. Close 15 Hen. III, m. 15.
  • 5. Pat. 10 Edw. I, m. 11.
  • 6. Add. MS. 24828, fol. 143.
  • 7. Chich. Epis. Reg. Praty, fol. 78.
  • 8. Valor Eccl. (Rec. Com.), ii, 305.
  • 9. Add. MS. 24828, fol. 148.
  • 10. Ibid. 5706, fol. 121.
  • 11. Add. MS. 5706, fol. 120.
  • 12. Ibid. fol. 121.
  • 13. Ibid. fol. 122.
  • 14. Rep. of Charity Com. 249.
  • 15. Pat. 28 Hen. III, m. 6.
  • 16. Ibid.
  • 17. Suss. Arch. Coll. xxi, 51.
  • 18. Pipe R. 3 Edw. I.
  • 19. Pat. 10 Edw. I, m. 11.
  • 20. Pat. 12 Edw. I, m. 2.
  • 21. Pat. 3 Edw. II, m. 35.
  • 22. Pat. 4 Edw. II, pt. ii, m. 26.
  • 23. Pat. 10 Edw. II, pt. ii, m. 22.
  • 24. Pat. 11 Edw. II, pt. i, m. 34.
  • 25. Pat. 14 Edw. II, pt. i, m. 23; William 'Gybeson.'
  • 26. Ibid.
  • 27. Pat. 10 Edw. III, pt. ii, m. 31.
  • 28. Pat. 22 Edw. III, pt. ii, m. 32.
  • 29. Pat. 1 Ric. II, pt. iii, m. 37.
  • 30. Pat. 6 Ric. II, pt. ii, m. 6.
  • 31. Ibid. m. 5.
  • 32. Chich. Epis. Reg. Reade, fol. 70.
  • 33. Ibid.
  • 34. Suss. Arch. Coll. xxi, 50.
  • 35. Ibid. 49.
  • 36. Chich. Epis. Reg. Praty, fol. 70.
  • 37. Ibid.
  • 38. Pat. 49 Hen. VI, m. 12.
  • 39. Chich. Epis. Reg. Story, fol. 73.
  • 40. Exch. Enrolment of Pleas, 5 Hen. VII, 23 d.
  • 41. Valor Eccl. (Rec. Com.), ii, 305.
  • 42. Add. MS. 24828, fol. 148.
  • 43. Ibid. 5706, fol. 121.
  • 44. Ibid.; called Charles Lasie and said to have had certain rents for last 25 years.
  • 45. Ibid. fol. 122.
  • 46. Ibid. 24828, fol. 158.