Hospitals: St John the Baptist and St Anthony, Calne

Pages 334-335

A History of the County of Wiltshire: Volume 3. Originally published by Victoria County History, London, 1956.

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Calne hospital, which lay 'beside Eldebrooke' (the Old Brook), (fn. 1) is first mentioned in 1202, when Richard the Tanner quitclaimed a house to the priest Ernald and the brethren. (fn. 2) It had grants of protection in 1248, 1260, 1265, and 1267. (fn. 3) In 1256 the master obtained from Andrew and Beatrice of Stretton, for 1 silver mark and a rent of 2s. and suit of court twice a year, 20 acres of land in 'Stoke' (perhaps Stockley in Calne). (fn. 4) Robert de Careville, Treasurer of Salisbury, left £2 to it in 1267. (fn. 5) It held a tenement and a virgate of land in the fields of Uffcott (in Broad Hinton), at first of the Bohuns, and after 1274 of the Abbess of Lacock, who reduced the service to suit of court twice a year and 1s. a year for scutage. (fn. 6)

Sir Robert Hungerford, in commemoration of his first wife Geva, obtained licence in 1336 to grant to the warden 2 messuages, 40 acres of land, 8½ acres of meadow, and 13s. rent in Calne and its hamlets, Quemerford, Stockley, and Tasworth (now lost), to find a chaplain to celebrate daily in St. Mary's Church; and he gave also vestments and a hanging. (fn. 7) In 1332 the Prior and Convent of St. Frideswide's, Oxford, had licence to grant to the master and brethren 2 bushels of wheat a week out of the manor of Hudden (Berks.). (fn. 8)

William, 6th Lord Zouche of Harringworth, died in 1468 possessed of the manor and hundred of Calne and the advowson of the hospital. (fn. 9) In 1487 the king granted for life to Thomas Whitamore, chaplain, the free chapel or priory called 'le priourye' of Calne, void by the demise of 'R.' Bishop of Exeter, and in the king's gift by the forfeiture of John, late Lord Zouche. (fn. 10) It may be inferred that the mastership was already a sinecure, and that it was one of the minor appointments obtained by Richard Foxe before his consecration as Bishop of Exeter. Zouche was restored to his honours in 1495.

In 1535 the warden Robert Blake returned the income of the hospital as £2 9s. a year; the allocations, amounting to 6s. 4d., comprised rents of 1s. 4d. to the Abbess of Lacock, 1s. 3d. to Lord Zouche, 1s. 10d. to the Rector of Calne, 1s. 8d. to the queen at Devizes Castle, and 3d. to the king at Cherhill manor. (fn. 11) In 1543 the mansion or hospital with its garden, an acre of arable in Castle Field, ½ acre of arable in Waynshill, and a parcel of land in Little Castle Field were granted to Edward Smalwell at 8s. a year for 21 years. (fn. 12)

The chantry commissioners of 1546 found the value of the endowments £3 11s. 6d. a year, less rents doctori Robyson and others amounting to 5s. 1d.; the clear revenue of £3 6s. 5d. went to the master. (fn. 13) Their successors in 1548 found that the same master, Robert Blake, aged 26, not in priest's orders, held the priory or free chapel, of the clear value of £4 4s. 11d. a year, for his exhibition 'to fynde hym to scole'. (fn. 14)

The endowments were sold next year, with the proceeds of other confiscations, to Richard Randall of London, gentleman. They comprised the house, site, and capital mansion of the late priory, fraternity, or free chapel (except bells and lead); a garden adjoining; the three fields let to Edward Smalwell; 7½ acres of arable in Stokefield and 8 in Little Sandes; a messuage and garden and 3 acres and an acre of meadow in 'Slepynge'; 3 acres of land in Waynfield; an acre of meadow and another acre called 'Le Hamme' in 'Abberd'; 7 acres of meadow in 'Rugges' and one in 'Kyllynges'; a garden in 'Cowsyn Street' (Curzon Street); a ½-acre close of land and pasture called 'Laggershe' and similar closes of 1½ acre called 'Prior's Orchard' and of 6 acres called 'Groves'— all in Calne; and a virgate of land in Uffcott. (fn. 15)

Masters, Wardens, or Priors

Ernald, occurs 1202. (fn. 16)

Ralph, occurs 1256. (fn. 17)

Richard Foxe, resigned 1487. (fn. 18)

Thomas Whitamore, appointed 1487. (fn. 19)

Robert Blake, occurs from 1535 to 1548. (fn. 20)


  • 1. A. E. W. Marsh, History of Calne, 132; W.A.M. xxiv, 181.
  • 2. Marsh, Calne, 132.
  • 3. Cal. Pat. 1247–58, 18; 1258–66, 93, 447; 1266–72, 167.
  • 4. CP 25(1)/251/18/38; Cal. Feet of F. Wilts. 1195–1272, ed. Fry, 50.
  • 5. Sar. Chart. & Doc. (Rolls Ser.), 344.
  • 6. W. L. Bowles, Annals of Lacock Abbey, xxxv.
  • 7. Cal. Pat. 1334–8, 231; Wilts. Inq. p.m. 1327–77 (Index Libr.), 112; Som. Rec. Off., Hungerford Cart. f. 259v.; Marsh, Calne, 133. The cartulary does not support Marsh's statement that Walter, Lord Hungerford, claiming that the masses had not been said, sought to divert these endowments to his new hospital at Heytesbury.
  • 8. Cal. Pat. 1330–4, 331.
  • 9. Cal. Inq. p.m. (Rec. Com.), iv, p. 345.
  • 10. Cal. Pat. 1485–94, 172. Richard Foxe was also Master of St. John's Hospital, Wilton, in 1477–8.
  • 11. Valor Eccl. (Rec. Com.), ii, 132.
  • 12. E 301/58/30; Cal. Pat. 1548–9, 44.
  • 13. E 301/56/7, E 301/59/7.
  • 14. E 301/58/30.
  • 15. Cal. Pat. 1548–9, 44–45.
  • 16. Marsh, Calne, 132.
  • 17. CP 25(1)/251/18/38; Cal. Feet of F. Wilts. 1195–1272 ed. Fry, 50.
  • 18. Cal. Pat. 1485–94, 172.
  • 19. Ibid.
  • 20. Valor Eccl. (Rec. Com.), ii, 132; E 301/58/30.