Hospitals: Warwick

Pages 115-117

A History of the County of Warwick: Volume 2. Originally published by Victoria County History, London, 1908.

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At the east entrance to the town of Warwick stood the hospital of St. John Baptist—a usual dedication for these town hostelries—founded by Henry earl of Warwick, in the time of Henry II, for the double purpose of giving casual lodgement and refreshment to poor wayfarers, and for the more permanent help of the local poor and infirm. (fn. 1)

The Taxatio of 1291 shows that this hospital then held a carucate of land at Warwick worth 10s. a year and a dovecote worth 2s. (fn. 2)

The hospital was visited by Bishop Giffard in 1269. (fn. 3)

Bishop Walter Maidstone was actively interested in both the endowed hospitals of Warwick, and took steps to increase the services in their chapels. In August, 1315, he gave authority to Adam de Herwinton, one of the canons of the church of St. Mary, Warwick, and brother John Hukyn of this hospital to elect and receive three or four chaplains to serve the Most High in the hospital and to administer divine service. Apparently these new admissions, who were each to have a decent habit of the hospital, were to be honorary chaplains, for there was no endowment for them; they were probably selected from chaplains or incumbents of the numerous town cures, who might be willing to be considered associate brethren of the hospital and give occasional help. (fn. 4)

Sir John de Bishopsdon granted, in 1332, to the master and brethren of this hospital a moiety of the church of Moreton Morrell. (fn. 5) This moiety Bishop Bransford, in 1340, appropriated to the master and brethren; (fn. 6) whereupon they covenanted with Sir John de Bishopsdon to provide two of their brethren, priests, to daily celebrate for ever for Sir John and Beatrice his wife and for their ancestors and heirs; it was further agreed that Sir John and his heirs should year by year select the two priests out of the brethren of the hospital for this chantry purpose. In 1345 Thomas Beauchamp, earl of Warwick, gave the other moiety of the church of Moreton Morrell to the hospital, (fn. 7) and it was appropriated to them by Bishop Brian in 1359. (fn. 8)

Protection was granted for a year in 1337 to 'the master and brethren of the hospital of the Holy Ghost and St. John Baptist,' Warwick, and their attorneys for collecting alms in churches; (fn. 9) from this it would appear that the house was being rebuilt or required rebuilding at this period. The remarkable double dedication here noted has not been observed in other documents relative to this hospital.

On 26 May, 1349, the year of the Black Death, brother John de Alcester was collated to the vacant wardenship by the bishop.

At the time of the clerical subsidy of 1513 John Blankys was warden; he paid 20s. as the proportion due from this house. The Valor of 1535 gives the clear value of the hospital as £19 3s. 7d., Thomas Bankes being at this date master. (fn. 10)

A survey of 1546 certifies that the total clear revenue of this ancient hóspital was £19 17s. 3½d. and that it was founded to maintain a master or warden, two chaplains, and two poor folk, as well as to keep hospitality. But at that time the funds of this pious foundation were entirely alienated to the crown, one of the queen's servants, Anthony Stoughton, having obtained a grant of the whole possessions from Henry VIII. The chapel was then still standing, and must have been of some size, for the lead on its roof was estimated to weigh four fodders, which at £4 a fodder brought its value to £16. (fn. 11)

Wardens (fn. 12)

John Hukyn, occurs 1315 (fn. 13)

Godfrey, 1315

Henry Bobby, 1336

Philip de Besford, 1344

John de Alcester, 1349

John de Wotton, 1359

John de Kekingwyke, 1363

John Hadham, 1404

Richard Peyntur, 1445

Richard Leyland, 1461-73 (fn. 14)

William Holwell, appointed 1473 (fn. 14)

Walter Strange, resigned 1494 (fn. 15)

John Fayrom, 1494

John Blankys, occurs 1513

Robert Blanche, occurs 1532 (?) (fn. 16)

Thomas Bankes, occurs 1535 (fn. 17)


The hospital of St. Michael, on the north side of Warwick close to the old church of that name, was founded by Roger earl of Warwick, about the end of the reign of Henry I. Its small endowments were originally intended for the benefit of lepers, and it was governed by a warden and brethren. The warden was a priest and served the chapel of the hospital.

The first mention of this hospital in the Worcester diocesan records is 9 August, 1275, when Bishop Giffard commissioned the archdeacon of Worcester and the dean of Warwick to take charge of the hospital of St. Michael of Warwick consequent on the removal of brother Roger de Merton from the administration of the house. (fn. 18)

In June, 1300, the brothers of the house of lepers of St. Michael's, Warwick, wrote to Bishop Giffard asking for the confirmation of Henry de Combinton, brother of their house, whom they had elected as their master and governor, by licence of their patron, the earl of Warwick, on the death of Roger de Merton, their late master. He was duly instituted by the bishop on 29 June. (fn. 19)

The episcopal registers continue to supply the names of subsequent wardens as well as occasional further information. (fn. 20) On 6 May, 1308, William de Lichfield, vicar of Wasperton, was instituted warden. He is described as a man of great sanctity of life, and also circumspect in matters temporal as well as spiritual. At that time there was only one brother in the house, Roger Bertram, in addition to the warden.

On 13 August, 1315, Bishop Maidstone commissioned William, rector of the church of St. Michael, Warwick, and brother Roger de Bertram, brother of the house of lepers of St. Michael, to receive and elect three or four suitable men as chaplains, who, in the regular habit of the hospital, might laudably serve the Most High. (fn. 21)

On 10 September, 1343, brother William de Knytcote was instituted warden, on the presentation of Thomas Beauchamp, earl of Warwick. Warden Knytcote died of the plague and was followed on 4 June, 1349, by Nicholas de Southam. Henry Hynkes succeeded in 1355, and Ralph Dod on 7 January, 1361.

Bishop Wakefield caused an inquiry to be made concerning the resignation of Warden Dod, after he had held the office for 27 years, and was becoming incapacitated by old age. On 7 April the dean (rural) of Warwick, Peter, the prior of St. Sepulchre, Warwick, John, master of the hospital of St. John, and William, rector of St. Peter's of that town held an inquisition concerning the vacancy at this hospital, to which Thomas Beauchamp, earl of Warwick had presented one Robert Enderby, on the resignation of Ralph Dod. Ralph had agreed with the earl to resign if he would find him the necessaries of life, namely food and clothing. The commissioners stated that the masters or wardens of this hospital in past times had not been wont to serve the cure of any distant church; that in their own days the wardens had been wont to observe personal residence; that there was no current belief that this benefice could be held with another cure; that its value in temporalities, meadows, lands, and rents, was six marks a year; and that the aforesaid Robert Enderby held another benefice, namely that of Atherstone parish church, which he had possessed for more than ten years. They also reported that John Kekewich, whom it was proposed to appoint, was good and honourable. Three days later the bishop instituted Kekewich as warden. (fn. 22)

In 1513 it is recorded that Warden Herryson was excused his share of the clerical subsidy because he was poor and decrepit.

On 22 April, 1530, Robert Byrte, chaplain, was appointed by the crown to be warden of St. Michael's hospital, Warwick, and governor of the 'lazar-houses' there. (fn. 23)

The Valor of 1535 returned the clear annual value of this hospital as £10 2s. 4d., out of which 26s. a year was paid to certain leprous (infirm) persons residing there. Another survey made ten years later gives the clear annual value as £10 19s. 10d. It is therein stated that it was founded to give alms weekly to poor people and to harbour some of them; but at that time there was no resident warden, and the property was demised by the crown on lease to one Richard Fisher at a yearly rent of £10. The said Richard distributed 8d. weekly to the poor, and found four beds for their lodging, giving 8d. a week to a certain poor woman to attend on the four poor men and make their beds. (fn. 24)

Philip and Mary revived the religious character of the foundation; Richard Judson, priest, was instituted warden, at their presentation, on 21 October, 1556, and William Mason, priest, followed him in the same office on 2 October, 1557, on Judson's death. (fn. 25)

Masters (fn. 26)

Roger de Merton, occurs 1275 (fn. 27); died 1300

Henry de Combinton, 1300

William de Lichfield, 1308

Thomas de Oloughton, 1315

William de Knytcote, 1343-9 (fn. 28)

Nicholas de Southam, 1349-55

Henry Hynkes, 1355-61

Ralph Dod, 1361-88, resigned

Robert Enderby

John Kekewich, 1388 (fn. 29)

John Baron, -1410

Walter Lambard, 1410

Richard Wellys, resigned 1425.

William Blakemore, 1425-36 (fn. 30)

William Berkswall, 1436

William Stevenes

Thomas Wentworth, 1450-60

Thomas Clerke, 1460-1501 (fn. 31)

William Herryson, 1501 (fn. 32)

Robert Byrte, 1530 (fn. 33)

Richard Manchester, occurs 1535 (fn. 34)

Richard Judson, 1556-7

William Mason, 1557


  • 1. Leland, Itinerary, iv, 165; Worc. Epis. Reg. Bransford, ii, fol. 13b.
  • 2. Pope Nich. Tax. (Rec. Com.), 231.
  • 3. Giffard's Reg. (Worc. Hist. Soc.), 6.
  • 4. Worc. Epis. Reg. Maidstone, fol. 30.
  • 5. Pat. 6 Edw. III, pt. ii, m. 12.
  • 6. Worc. Epis. Reg. Bransford, fol. 20b. A pension of 3s. 4d. was assigned to the bishops of Worcester in return for this favour.
  • 7. Pat. 19 Edw. III, pt. ii, m. 12.
  • 8. Worc. Epis. Reg. Brian, i, fol. 91.
  • 9. Pat. 11 Edw. III, pt. iii, m. 1.
  • 10. Valor Eccl. (Rec. Com.), iii, 85.
  • 11. Chant. Cert. No. 37.
  • 12. Dugdale, Warw. i, 460.
  • 13. See above.
  • 14. Worc. Epis. Reg. Carpenter, ii, fol. 43b.
  • 15. Ibid. Morton, fol. 56.
  • 16. He is said to have surrendered the hospital in 1532 (Browne Willis, Abbeys, ii, 250), but it clearly continued many years after that date.
  • 17. Valor Eccl. (Rec. Com.), iii, 85.
  • 18. Giffard's Reg. (Worc. Hist. Soc.), 83.
  • 19. Giffard's Reg. (Worc. Hist. Soc.), 527.
  • 20. Cited in Dugdale, Warw. i, 459.
  • 21. Worc. Epis. Reg. Maidstone, fol. 30. See a like entry in the account of the Hospital of St. John, Warwick.
  • 22. Worc. Epis. Reg. Wakefield, fol. 52.
  • 23. L. and P. Hen. VIII, iv, 6363 (22).
  • 24. Valor Eccl. (Rec. Com.), iii, 85.
  • 25. Dugdale, Warw. i, 459.
  • 26. Ibid.
  • 27. Worc. Epis. Reg. Giffard, fol. 61b.
  • 28. Ibid. Bransford, fol. 58b.
  • 29. Ibid. Wakefield, fol. 52.
  • 30. Ibid. Morgan, fol. 32.
  • 31. Ibid. Carpenter, fol. 155b.
  • 32. Ibid. S. Gigliis, fol. 17.
  • 33. L. and P. Hen. VIII, iv, 6363 (22).
  • 34. Valor Eccl. (Rec. Com.), iii, 85.