Hospitals: St Mary, Droitwich

Pages 179-180

A History of the County of Worcester: Volume 2. Originally published by Victoria County History, London, 1971.

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The hospital dedicated to the Virgin in the parish of Droitwich has little known history. It was founded by William Dover, rector of the church of Dodderhill, in 1285, and endowed with a bullary of salt, half a carucate of land and rents worth 26s. 4d. in Wich and Witton near Salwarpe (Worcester). (fn. 1) These lands had in the same year been granted to William Dover for that purpose by the abbot and convent of St. Peter's, Gloucester, on his payment of 50 marks. (fn. 2) In that year also Edward I. confirmed the same grant and the prior and convent of Worcester were assigned patrons. (fn. 3) The house consisted of a master and brethren whose number, judging from the endowment, could not have been very great.

Several notices of the appointment of masters occur in the episcopal registers, but no connected list can be obtained. In 1328 Bishop Adam Orlton commissioned the archdeacon of Gloucester to proceed with the appointment of a master to the hospital. (fn. 4) This was evidently John de Gloucester whom the prior of Worcester had presented to the bishop for election. (fn. 5) In 1349 William Hull was presented to the mastership of the hospital, (fn. 6) and on his death in 1361 was succeeded by John Alewy. (fn. 7) According to Habington John Froniester succeeded John Alewy in 1392, (fn. 8) but there seems to be no entry to that effect in Bishop Wakefield's register. In 1396 Henry Nayne was appointed on the presentation of John, prior of Worcester, (fn. 9) and in 1398 Robert Boleyn is said to have been master, (fn. 10) although there is no confirmatory evidence on the registers. In 1461 William Norwood was collated to the hospital, (fn. 11) and in 1502 another collation, the last recorded in the registers, was made, but the name of the newly elected master not given. (fn. 12)

Instead of falling with the other religious houses at the Dissolution the hospital of Droitwich seems to have been suppressed late in 1535 or early in 1536, not by royal licence but by its patrons the prior and convent of Worcester. In the Valor of 1535 'the hospital or chantry in the parish of Dodderhill' was given at an annual value of £8. (fn. 13) In 1536 articles were brought against the prior and convent of Worcester to prove that they had 'suppressed the hospital of Doverhill in Dartewich without licence of the king,' and 'expelled the poor people to their utter destruction,' causing the hospital to be pulled down and the building materials sold for their own use. Also they had 'troubled' Richard Cornewall, clerk and master of the house, putting him 'in jeopardy of his life' and now 'held the lands of the same by intrusion.' They had moreover mowed a meadow which had belonged to the hospital, called Preast meadow in Forde in the parish of Dodderhill. (fn. 14) This evidence explains why there is no trace of the hospital in the ordinary records concerning the Dissolution of the monasteries.


  • 1. MS. Soc. Antiq. cxlix. Reg. D. and C. Worc. fol. 37.
  • 2. Ibid. fol. 38d.
  • 3. Habington, Surv. of Worc. (Worc. Hist. Soc.), ii. 305.
  • 4. Worc. Epis. Reg. Orlton, fol. 17d.
  • 5. Habington, Surv. of Worc. (Worc. Hist. Soc.), ii. 305.
  • 6. Ibid. Habington also states that Thomas de Saungebury was presented to custody in the same year, but the mention of William Hull's death causing the vacancy in 1361 seems to disprove this.
  • 7. Worc. Epis. Reg. Brian, fol. 40.
  • 8. Habington, Surv. of Worc. (Worc. Hist. Soc.), ii. 305.
  • 9. Worc. Epis. Reg. Winchcomb, fol. 9d. Habington states that Nicholas Wilbe and Thomas Nayne by commutation and the prior's presentation were masters of the hospital of Droitwich in 1396.
  • 10. Habington, Surv. of Worc. (Worc. Hist. Soc.), ii. 305.
  • 11. Worc. Epis. Reg. Carpenter 1, fol. 159.
  • 12. Ibid. Silvester de Gigliis, fol. 25d.
  • 13. Valor Eccl. (Rec. Com.), iii. 270.
  • 14. L. and P. Hen. VIII. xi. 571.