A History of the County of Wiltshire: Volume 3. Originally published by Victoria County History, London, 1956.
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37. THE HOSPITAL OF ST. GILES AND ST. ANTHONY, (fn. 1) WILTON
The tradition that this hospital was founded for lepers about 1135 by Adela of Louvain, second wife of Henry I, may be accepted; the stories that she was a leper and was buried in the hospital chapel are, however, baseless. (fn. 2) Her gift of a tenth of the revenues of Wilton, with all other gifts to the church of St. Giles for the sustenance of the infirm, was confirmed by Henry II, and in 1206 by John; (fn. 3) and at Michaelmas 1207 and 1208 the lepers outside Wilton received £4 in established alms. (fn. 4) There are references to the master, brethren, and sisters on many occasions between 1252 and 1626, (fn. 5) though mention of the master and brethren alone is more frequent; a gift in the mid-13th century was said to be made for the sustentation of the grantor's mother in the hospital. (fn. 6)
William Longespée, Earl of Salisbury, bequeathed 5 cows to the hospital by his will dated in 1229. (fn. 7) In 1270 Henry III gave an oak for the repair of the church. (fn. 8) About 1275 the hospital granted 2 acres of arable in Washern field for a cash payment of £1 16s. 8d. and the yearly service of a rose in June. (fn. 9) A series of grants to the hospital, from the mid-13th century to 1328, includes small parcels of arable land in the local fields, and two hedges. (fn. 10)
By inquisitions held in 1300 and 1301 it was found that the hospital held a tenement in Wilton at 3d. a year, (fn. 11) and that it received £4 a year of the king's gift from the revenues of the borough (which amounted to £6 12s. 11¼d. in all) to find a chaplain who should celebrate daily in the hospital for the souls of the kings of England. (fn. 12) The payment fell into arrears four times in 1301-37, (fn. 13) and again in 1544. (fn. 14)
Edward III granted to his clerk, John of Tamworth, St. Giles's Hospital in April 1344, and St. John's Hospital, Wilton (see below) in the following May; he revoked the earlier grant in July, finding that St. Giles's had been founded by a former mayor and commonalty for lepers and other poor sick persons, and had always been governed by their successors. (fn. 15) In 1385 Richard II sent an aged servant to be one of the king's thirteen poor bedesmen (oratorum) of St. Giles's Hospital; (fn. 16) it is possible that his clerks confused this hospital with St. Mary Magdalene's, Wilton (see below).
Iseult, widow of John Irish, granted to the hospital in 1381, for 100 years, ½ acre of arable in Quidhampton field. (fn. 17) John Butterley, citizen of Salisbury, left 6s. 8d. to it in 1395, and Maud Daleway 3s. 4d. to the brethren in 1397; Ivo FitzWarin, by his will dated in 1412, left £1 to the master and £2 to the poor inmates for beds, clothing, and other necessaries; (fn. 18) in 1414 a widow from Salisbury left 6s. 8d. to the poor of the hospital. In 1396 Bishop Metford published an indulgence in favour of the hospital. (fn. 19) In 1403 William Chitterne of Wilton had licence to grant 12½ acres in Fugglestone, Chilhampton, and South Newton, to find a lamp to burn daily at high mass in the hospital church; (fn. 20) the grant is dated in 1407. (fn. 21)
The question of the patronage was not yet entirely closed. The king presented Richard Bolteford, chaplain, in 1379 to the chantry at St. Giles's altar in the hospital; the presentation was repeated in 1380, with a mandate in pursuance to the Mayor of Wilton. (fn. 22) Richard Holdych had letters patent in 1465 ratifying his estate as prior or warden; (fn. 23) he was elected one of the borough public arbitrators in 1464, and burgess in 1465; (fn. 24) he remained prior until his death in 1477, and the burgesses were convoked on 1 April 1478 to present a successor. (fn. 25) There was no later claim by the Crown.
In 1535 the prior returned the income from tenths, oblations, pensions, and other sources as £5 13s. 4d., and the outgoings as nil; (fn. 26) the entry of lepers had probably long since failed. The chantry commissioners of 1546 found that the income of £5 13s. 4d. was drawn from the farm of house, garden, and demesne (arable and pasture in the fields surrounding Wilton and small parcels of land in Fugglestone, Wilton, and Fonthill Bishop), all in the tenure of the master and worth £1 13s. 4d. a year, from a pension of £2 out of the Earl of Derby's property in Barford St. Martin, and from £2 rents in Wilton town; the ornaments were worth £1 6s. 7d.; only the master was sustained. (fn. 27) The commissioners of 1548 disclaimed jurisdiction, but they found a chapel with a leadcovered roof, a clear income of £6, and four poor persons relieved. (fn. 28) The hospital continued in being, but it was stated about 1613 that the revenues were appropriated by the master. (fn. 29) The house was rebuilt by the corporation in 1624, (fn. 30) and in 1626 the 'master prior and custos' and brethren and sisters agreed to farm it to the mayor and burgesses for £2 a year. (fn. 31)
The accounts are preserved from 1641. (fn. 34) In that year £1 14s. 9d. was brought forward, and £2 0s. 8d. received of the portreeve; £1 8s. 4d. was paid to the steward, a fee of 3s. 4d. to the portreeve, £1 6s. in cloth for the poor, 2s. for writing the portreeve's roll and 8s. to the mayor for the poor of the hospital; 7s. 9d. was carried forward. In 1653 the poor received £6 8s.; in 1666 10s.; in 1672 £4 10s.; the payment was £4 10s. every year from 1722 to 1725. There were serious deficits in 1769-81; it was agreed in 1775 that the estates should be surveyed and valued by William Wapshare, and that all tenants should have notice to quit at Old Michaelmas. (fn. 35) By 1787 there was £70 in hand, and by 1811 £133; the poor received £8 a quarter in 1796, and £10 in 1798. (fn. 36)
The hospital was in great decay in 1821; (fn. 37) in 1826 the payments were for insurance, coal, and a pair of leather breeches; (fn. 38) about 1830, under a series of exchanges agreed in 1826 with the mayor and burgesses, the house which was in Fugglestone, beside the old Quidhampton road, (fn. 39) was demolished, and the site taken into Wilton Park. (fn. 40) It was rebuilt in the Warminster road, facing the recreation ground, and restored in 1940 and again in 1950. The Charity Commissioners found in 1903 that the hospital had always been managed by the corporation; that two poor men and two poor women had been maintained until 1796, and an additional poor man since then. (fn. 41) It was included in the United Charities by schemes dated in 1907 and 1910; the income was then £85 2s. 6d. in rents and £19 10s. 4d. in dividends.
Masters, Wardens, or Priors
William, occurs c. 1250. (fn. 42)
John, occurs c. 1275. (fn. 43)
Robert of Purbeck, occurs 1280. (fn. 44)
John of Tamworth, appointed 1344. (fn. 45)
John, occurs 1391. (fn. 46)
Richard Holdych, occurs 1465 and 1477. (fn. 47)
George Modell, elected 1508. (fn. 48)
William Burbancke, elected 1526 or 1527. (fn. 49)
William Thorpe, occurs 1535. (fn. 50)
John Dowse, occurs 1548. (fn. 51)
Gervase Babington, presented 1581. (fn. 52)
John Hayes, elected 1622, occurs 1626. (fn. 53)
Richard Chandler, occurs 1635 and 1656. (fn. 54)
Stephen Twogood, occurs 1658, resigned 1660. (fn. 55)
Richard Kent, elected 1660, resigned 1687. (fn. 56)
Richard Barford, elected 1687, resigned 1736. (fn. 57)
Ralph Button, elected 1736, resigned 1740. (fn. 58)
Samuel Rolleston, elected 1740, died 1766. (fn. 59)
John Hawes, elected 1768, occurs to 1776. (fn. 60)
William Coxe, died 1828. (fn. 61)
Henry Hetley, elected 1830, (fn. 62) died 1832.
J. S. Stockwell, died 1869. (fn. 63)
Dacres Olivier, elected 1869, resigned 1912. (fn. 64)
Guy Ronald Campbell, elected 1927, resigned 1943. (fn. 65)
The mutilated seal attached to the agreement of about 1275 with John Goldrun shows a cloaked figure with a staff in its right hand. (fn. 66) A pointed oval 15th-century seal, measuring 3¼ by 17/8 in., used in modern times, shows the wounded hart taking refuge with St. Giles, and bears the inscription:
S' * DOMUS * ELIMOSINARE * SBĪI * EGEDI * IUXTA * WILTON * (fn. 67)