Hospitals: Lowcross - Pontefract

Pages 314-321

A History of the County of York: Volume 3. Originally published by Victoria County History, London, 1974.

This free content was digitised by double rekeying. All rights reserved.


In this section


Most of what is known about this hospital is contained in a series of some sixty deeds in the Guisborough Chartulary. (fn. 1) It would appear to have been founded by a member of a family which took its name from Hutton near Guisborough, as Richard son of Hugh de Hotona confirmed to the lepers of Lowcross 2 acres in Hutton, where the hospital had anciently stood; (fn. 2) and John ' dominus de Hoton ' remitted to the Prior and convent of Guisborough his right of nominating a leper to the hospital. (fn. 3)

From the charter, already mentioned, of Richard son of Hugh de Hotona it is evident that the hospital originally was situated at Hutton, but from other charters (fn. 4) in which it is described as the hospital of St. Leonard 'quod est inter Hotonam (Hutton) et Bernaldby' (Barnaby), it looks as if it had been moved, and it was then known as the hospital of Lowcross, which lies between Hutton and Barnaby. Between 1218 and 1234 the neighbouring hospital of St. Laurence at Upsall appears to have been suppressed. At any rate, most of its lands were then transferred to the hospital of Lowcross, (fn. 5) and this possibly synchronizes with the removal of the hospital to Lowcross.

A difficulty is presented by the identification on the Ordnance Survey at Hutton, and not at Lowcross, of a site marked 'Lepers Hospital,' and Graves writing of Hutton in 1808 says: 'A part of the buildings which stood in a solitary situation, shut in by rising grounds overhung with deep and solemn woods, has been converted into a farm-house, with stables and other outoffices, in which some mutilated arches of doors and windows are still remaining.' (fn. 6) It is obvious that he refers to the site marked on the Ordnance Survey. Possibly, this was the original site.

The hospital is called in two of the charters the ' Hospital of the Sick Men of Bernaldby ' (fn. 7) (Barnaby), a natural alternative to that of Lowcross, as it is evident from a charter of Gregory the son of Walter de Bernaldby that the hospital, which had a cemetery attached to it, though in Lowcross, stood on the confines of Barnaby. (fn. 8) Elsewhere it is called the ' Hospital of the Sick persons of St. Leonard of the parish of St. Mary of Guisborough.' (fn. 9) The inmates were of both sexes: ' rratres et sorores, sani et leprosi, de ecclesia et de domo S. Leonardi de Loucros,' (fn. 10) as they style themselves in one case. The hospital must have been fairly well endowed, from the numerous gifts mentioned in the charters. These included property in Barnaby, Hutton, Lowcross, Kirkleatham, Upsall, Moorsholm, and other neighbouring villages. There was a church (fn. 11) as well as a cemetery at the hospital. The hospital was governed by a master until it was given to Guisborough Priory by William de Bernaldeby, (fn. 12) whose gift was confirmed by Peter the son of Peter de Brus. (fn. 13) It would seem that the hospital had been taken over by the priory before 1275, as in that year the jurors of the wapentake said that the brewers and bakers of Guisborough used to give alms of ale and bread to the lepers of Lowcross at their pleasure, but the Prior of Guisborough now compelled them to pay ½d. every week when they baked or brewed, and these alms he farmed out for 1 mark or 20s. (fn. 14) After the hospital became dependent on Guisborough the almoner of the priory became its custos or rector, and the hospital wholly disappears from view. (fn. 15) It is last mentioned in 1339, (fn. 16) but there is no reason to suppose that it was suppressed before the Dissolution, though it seems to have been absorbed in the priory.


The priory of Malton, instead of its canons taking charge of nuns, had three hospitals for the poor attached to it. (fn. 17)

The Hospital of St. Mary Magdalene, Broughton.—This one of the three hospitals was founded by Eustace Fitz John, the founder of the priory, at or about the same time as the monastery. (fn. 18) Henry Latimer gave a toft in Broughton to provide firing for the poor in the hospital. (fn. 19) The office of custos appears to have been in the king's gift, at least it is so stated in 1399, when the king appointed Thomas Scawby chaplain. (fn. 20)

Wheelgate Hospital.—Another of these hospitals was in Malton itself, in Wheelgate. (fn. 21) The Cross Keys Inn stands on the site of the hospital, and a crypt still remains.

The Hospital Of St. Nichols, Norton. —The third of the hospitals under the governance of Malton Priory was situated on an island in the Derwent on the Norton side of the river. (fn. 22)

William, de Flamville (fn. 23) gave the place at Norton to the canons of the order of Sempringham, to minister there to Christ's poor who sought for their daily food, so that as far as the place allowed they might have daily hospitality and refreshment. Roger de Flamville (fn. 24) gave to the Blessed Mary the Virgin, and St. Nicholas, the church of St. Mary of Marton with its appurtenances, for the hospital of the poor at the head of the bridge of Norton. He also gave to the hospital pasturage for 200 sheep in Marton, with other gifts in Hutton, &c.


Nothing is known about this hospital beyond the statement of Leland that there was at the east end of Middleham a little hospital with a chapel of Jesus. (fn. 25)


There appears to have been a hospital in Mitton or Myton, outside Hull, at the time that Michael de la Pole founded his priory of Carthusian monks in 1379, as he granted to the monks, inter alia, a messuage once part of the manor of Mitton, and formerly known as ' le Masendew.' (fn. 26) The later history of this hospital will be found in the account of the Charterhouse Hospital, Hull.


The foundation of this hospital has been usually assigned to Hugh Pudsey, Bishop of Durham (1154-95), (fn. 27) but it seems certain from an ordinance made in respect to it in 1244 that the original founder was Philip de Poitou, Bishop of Durham 1197-1208, for whose soul the chaplains were bound to pray. (fn. 28)

Three documents relating to the hospital have been printed by Canon Raine. (fn. 29) One only, the ordinance of 1244, is dated, but an approximate date of c. 1230 (fn. 30) can be assigned to another, and the third seems to be intermediate between them. The first is a revocation by Robert, vicar of Allerton, of certain concessions he had made to the hospital. His statement is that when very ill, and mentally incompetent, he was cajoled by the Bishop of Durham and certain of his officials to make concessions to the hospital. He had renounced all ecclesiastical rights of the vicar, and allowed the hospital to have a free chapel, with chaplains appointed without his or his successors' consent, to minister in the chapel, from whom the hospital inmates could receive the sacraments. The hospital was to have its own cemetery, wherein not merely the inmates might be buried, but any liberi homines who in their lifetime had chosen it as their burial place, without dues being paid to the parish church, saving only the rights of the mother churches of which they were parishioners. He had also agreed that the offerings made on the feast of St. Nicholas in the chapel should belong to the hospital, and had only reserved to himself and his successors the right to demand the offerings made in the chapel on other occasions. Further, he had given up certain tithes, and all without the consent of his superiors, the Prior and chapter of Durham. Being, however, by the grace of God, restored to health, and recognizing the injury he had done to the churches of Durham and Northallerton and to his successors, and realizing that it was beyond his power to have made such grants, as far as in him lay he repudiated them.

The second document is an award by the chapter of York, and records that Robert (who, probably by a clerical error, is spoken of as ' rector' of Allerton) had complained of Reynold, warden of the hospital, withholding tithes and offerings due to the parish church of Allerton, and particularly that the warden had cast a corpse down at the cemetery gates, without paying the dues which the church ought to receive for those who died in the hospital. On account of this the parish priest had excommunicated the warden, and Robert the rector claimed 20 marks of silver for the loss he had sustained. The warden let the case go by default, and the chapter upheld the excommunication, ordered the warden to pay the 20 marks due and 100s. in addition as costs. It looks as if the dispute had arisen on the revocation of the grants that had been made. Soon afterwards Reynold the warden must have \ vacated his office, for in 1237 Archbishop Gray granted to Andrew the chaplain custody and administration of all the goods belonging- to the house of the hospital of Allerton, as well in spiritualities as in temporalities.

The third of the documents is the formal ordination of the hospital by Nicholas Farnham, Bishop of Durham, dated Northallerton, 27 October 1244. In this ordination he speaks of his predecessor Philip as the founder, and states that Philip and other Bishops of Durham had bestowed ecclesiastical and secular gifts on the hospital, (fn. 31) but that owing to their deaths its ordination had been delayed. He provided that the hospital was to have a resident ' procurator,' known as warden (custos). He was to have a servant, three horses, and two attendants. There were to be two ' honest' chaplains with two clerks, a baker and brewer with a servant, also a cook with a servant, and five brothers, clerks or laymen, in sound health (sani), who were to have the habit and observe the rule of the brothers of Kepier. One was to be porter and procurator of the poor received each night, another butler and keeper of the store, a third larderer and gardener, the fourth granger, and the fifth in charge of the infirm persons in bed. There were also to be three sisters, with the habit and rule of sisters; two were to tend the infirm and see to the needs of the house. Thirteen sick people were to be maintained in small beds (lectulis), and humanely cared for till convalescent, or till death overtook them. When a death occurred, the vacancy was to be filled without delay. Nothing is said as to the sex of the infirm. Every night thirteen other poor folk were to be received at the hospital, and were to have half a loaf apiece with drink. If any was too feeble to go away again, such person was to be provided for at the hospice at the gate. The bread given to the infirm and to the poor folk at the gate was to be of such weight that a quarter of corn made ten score loaves. When the hospital became richer the infirm and poor travellers were to benefit. Finally, power was reserved to the Bishops of Durham to visit the hospital and correct abuses. Nothing is known about the hospital for more than a century. (fn. 32) On 13 July 1379 (fn. 33) Archbishop Alexander Nevill held a visitation of the hospital in the chapel, by his commissaries. The warden, John de Appelby, appeared by his proctor George de Copmanthorpe. He had been warden for a year and more, and all that he had received for his own use was but 2s., as he had spent all he received in the erection of new buildings and the repair of the old ones, both those of the hospital itself and those of its tenants, and of the mills, for all the buildings (domus), for the most part, both of the hospital and outside were, at his becoming warden, almost ruinous owing to the neglect of his predecessors. He had erected seven new buildings and had covered with shingles (cum tabulis dictis Chingill) a notable portion of the Great House. Being admonished, he exhibited a copy of a certain ordinance, which said that there should be two priests in the hospital, and he admitted that there was only one; also that there should be three sisters, whereas there was but one sister professed. However there was a second, Constance de Fencotes, dwelling there in secular costume with the warden, and he agreed that she should be professed. There ought to be five brothers, clerks or laymen, working in different offices, but there were none. There ought to be thirteen infirm in beds, maintained out of the funds of the hospital, and it appeared that there were only three. Being asked why there were not more priests, brothers, sisters, and infirm, the warden's proctor replied that the hospital buildings, more particularly that called the Frerehall, needed so much repair that £100 would scarcely suffice for this, and moreover, the hospital owed many outside debts, but the warden intended to restore the ancient and full number, and did not mean to receive himself any of the funds until the repairs were finished and the ancient staff restored.

Asked as to the outside debts, he replied that Alice de Dighton had 5 marks annually by a deed under the common seal of the hospital in the time of John de Stokys, that the wife of Richard Bricknall had 50s., that Alice de Bugthorp had a corrody in the hospital, and received the share of a sister, that John Perrotson and John Whithone both had corrodies granted by the same.

The revenues of the hospital consisted, in the first place, of two churches, which averaged yearly £40, but in the current year had scarcely reached £30. There were rents and revenues amounting, by estimation, to 28 marks; and 3 carucates of land and meadow adjacent belonging to the hospital which constituted the whole hospital property.

Joan, sister of the hospital, was examined, and said they used to receive their liveries (liberationes) in their own chambers, but that now they ate together in the hall. During the thirty years she had been in the hospital so much care had not been observed in its government as now, and many of the parishioners said the same. Finally, the commissaries decreed that for the maintenance of divine service in the ensuing year the warden should find another chaplain, and that he should increase the number of paupers as soon as he conveniently could, and when the repairs were finished he should maintain the full number of chaplains, brothers, sisters, and infirm, according to the ordinance, unless the revenues were so insufficient that he might be reasonably excused.

On 15 July 1350 (fn. 34) Archbishop Zouch wrote to the guardian of the spirituality of Allerton, concerning the complaint of Brother William Newark, who is described as a conversus of the hospital, that Robert de Dyghton the warden had ejected him (who had been long there) from the hospital without cause.

In 1397 (fn. 35) Boniface IX confirmed to John Hyldyard for life the office of warden of the hospital of Allerton, to which he had been appointed on 17 June 1396 by Bishop Skirlaw. The appointment for life was in recognition of the heavy expense with which he had raised the hospital from its ruin and desolation. The hospital, however, was not, on account of this life appointment, to be reckoned an ecclesiastical benefice, and on its voidance was to revert to its original status. In 1402 John Hyldyard Was still warden, (fn. 36) and in a mandate to confer upon him the prebend of Twyford, in London, it is stated that he was only in minor orders, and a dispensation was then given him, not to have to receive holy orders for five years.

In 1411 (fn. 37) John XXIII granted to Thomas Toueton, that having been appointed warden by Bishop Langley, in succession to John Newton, he should not, during his life, be removed from office without reasonable cause, although the custom was that the warden, who was a secular clerk, might be removed at the sole pleasure of the Bishop of Durham. There seems some reason to think that when the small nunnery of Foukeholm died from lack of means, some of its property passed to the hospital. (fn. 38)

In the Valor Ecclesiasticus (fn. 39) the gross annual rēvenue was £58 10s. 10d., and the establishment maintained at that time the warden, two chaplains, four lay brothers, two sisters, and six infirm. On 19 May 1540 the hospital was surrendered by Richard Morysine, the master or warden, and his confraters in their chapter-house. The site was granted, 32 Henry VIII, to the late warden, and afterwards became part of the endowment of Christ Church, Oxford. (fn. 40) It is now represented by a farm-house called Spital about a mile south of Northallerton.


Richard, occurs 1246-51 (fn. 41)

Reynold, occurs c. 1240 (fn. 42)

Robert de Brumpton, occurs before 1311, (fn. 43) occurs 1335 (fn. 44)

John de Ashby, occurs 1339, 1343 (fn. 45)

Adam de Pikeryng, occurs 1345, (fn. 46) 1347 (fn. 47)

Robert de Dyghton, occurs 1350 (fn. 48)

Nicholas del Hill, occurs 1355 (fn. 49)

Robert de Dyghton, occurs 1360 (fn. 50)

John de Stokys, before 1379 (fn. 51)

John de Appelby, occurs c. 1378, 1379 (fn. 52)

John Hyldyard, occurs 1396, 1402 (fn. 53)

John Newton, resigned c. 1411 (fn. 54)

Thomas Toueton, occurs 1411 (fn. 55)

Richard Corston, occurs 1432 (fn. 56)

Robert Symson, occurs 1489, (fn. 57) 1492 (fn. 58)

John Conyers, occurs 1526 (fn. 59)

Richard Morysine, occurs 1540, (fn. 60)

The 15th-century seal (fn. 61) is a vesica, 2½ in. by 15/8 in., with a representation of St. James and the legend:—



The Maison Dieu was founded in the 15th century by Richard Moore, draper, of Northallerton, who gave certain lands and tenements in Northallerton and elsewhere to endow a chantry in the church and maintain a Maison Dieu in that town, in which thirteen poor persons of either sex were to reside. They were to have 20s. a year to buy coal with, and were to find two beds in the Maison Dieu for poor travellers, who were to lodge there one night and no longer. The thirteen inmates were daily, morning and evening, at 6 o'clock (ad horam sextam) to say fifteen Paternosters and as many Ave Marias, with three creeds, in honour of the passion of our Lord. They were also to pray for the souls of the founders and others. (fn. 62)

On 1 October 1476 his feoffees conveyed the lands and tenements to Sir James Strangways, kt., and his son Richard that they might nominate the chaplain and appoint the poor people to the Maison Dieu. (fn. 63) In 1529 Sir James Strangways, kt., the great-great-grandson of this Sir James, conveyed to Robert Conyers and others the Maison Dieu and lands, reserving the appointment of the bedesmen and chaplain. (fn. 64)

In the chantry certificates (fn. 65) the chantry is described as being at the altar of the Trinity in Northallerton Church, of the foundacion of Richard More of Northalverton, draper, and James Strangwaies, knight; and also one beidhouse of xiij poore people called the Masendewe, in the same towne, for the sustentacion wherof Sir James Strangewaies, knight, decessed, in his lyffe tyme did enfeoffe certen persons of and in certen landes and ten., to th'entente the incumbent shuld have yerly for his. stipende cs., and the said poore people xxvjs. viijd. of the issuez and profectes of the said landes. To the which chargez the landes and hereditamentes of the said Sir James was, befor that tyme, charged as by one dede, indented, tripartited, and one dede of feoffment therunto annexed, dated ultimo die Marcii anno [1529] more at larg and planlye apperyth. And nowe William, lord Dacre, and Sir Charles Brandon, knight, haith entred in to all the said landes about ij yeres past, and convertyth the same to ther own usez withoute fyndyng the said priste or paing any thinge to the saide poore people.

The Maison Dieu survived the spoliation of Lord Dacre and Sir Charles Brandon, and in a much diminished state still exists. When Ingledew wrote it was a hospital for poor widows, (fn. 66) whose numbers had then (1858) been reduced to four, and its property then consisted of three closes in Northallerton and Romanby containing 12a. and another close in Northallerton of rather more than 3 a. in area. The hospital was then situated on the east side of the High Street near the church, the almswomen being appointed by the select vestry as vacancies occurred from poor widows belonging to Northallerton. Each widow then received £8 a year by quarterly payments and a ton of coal. In 1889 the four widows were paid 3s. weekly.


In 1325 (fn. 67) Edward II informed the brethren and sisters of the hospital of St. Nicholas of Pickering that he had conferred the custody of the hospital then vacant on Roger de Barneby, the same pertaining to the king's patronage. His predecessor may have been Robert, chaplain of the hospital of St. Nicholas, Pickering, who occurs 1322. (fn. 68)

The hospital, like that of Skipton, was probably connected with the chapel in the castle, which at Pickering is under the invocation of St. Nicholas.


The ordination of the house by Archbishop Alexander Nevill, dated 4 October 1385, (fn. 69) records that Robert Knolles, kt. and citizen of London, and Constance his wife had constituted the domus collegiata on land acquired of Thomas Shirwynd in Pontefract, in honour of the Holy Trinity and the Blessed Virgin Mary, which college or chantry was to be commonly called ' Knolles Almeshous.' There were to be in it certain chaplains, one of whom was to be master or custos, two clerks, thirteen pauperes debiles, the latter being especially such as misfortune had overtaken, and also two servants to attend to the poor. The master was to receive 20 marks a year, each chaplain 10 marks, and each clerk 5 marks, with all necessaries. Besides £34 4s. 3½d. &c., for the maintenance of the poor, each was to receive on the feasts of the Holy Trinity, Christmas, Easter, Pentecost, All Saints, and the five days of the Blessed Virgin Mary, 2d. extra. John Stedeman [alias Neuthorp] was appointed first master, and the supervision of the establishment was committed, after the founders' deaths, to the Prior of Nostell.

The masters were, on each festival and feast of nine lections, to say matins, mass, vespers, and compline by note, and every Saturday solemn mass of St. Mary was to be said by note, at the altar of the Blessed Mary. On other ferias, immediately after mass, the master and chaplains were among them to say one private mass of St. Mary and another of requiem for the departed. Every day after compline they were to say solemnly before the image of the glorious Virgin in the foresaid chapel, the Salve Regina, or another anthem of the same, according to the season and as the order of the church required, with the psalm De Profundis, recommending, in especial, the founders among the departed, or, while they lived, saying for them the collect Deus, qui cantatis, or ' Omnipotens sempiterne qui vivorum simul et mortuorum.'

They were also to say daily, without note, in common in the quire of the chapel of the house, the seven penitential psalms, and fifteen psalms with the litany, in quire or not, for the good estate of the founders. After the death of the founders the obit of each was to be kept yearly and their exequies and masses said solemnly, with note and principal vestments. The master, chaplains, clerks, poor persons, and servants on these obit days were each to receive 6s. 8d. in money in the name of a pittance. Each poor person at the beginning of every ordinary day was to say the Paternoster thrice in honour of the Holy Trinity.

The master was to be nominated to the archbishop by the Prior of St. Oswald's within fifteen days of each vacancy for institution, or failing this the archbishop was to collate pro hac vice. The master was to appoint the chaplains within fifteen days, or be fined 6s. 8d. The chaplains were to dine in the hall, and pay 60s. for food and drink. A chest was to be provided with two keys for the jewels and valuables of the house, one key to be kept by the Prior of St. Oswald's, the other by the master. The master was to have a seal of office appointed for him, with a rose and the image of the Holy Trinity engraved in the seal, and this seal was to be kept in the chest. No leases were to be made and sealed by the prior and master for longer periods than fifty years, and corrodies were not to be granted.

The master and chaplains were each to have vestitum talarem honestum, &c., and when they attended the accustomed divine hours in the quire were to have a white almuce, on which, in memory of the founders, was to be a red rose containing on it the image of the Holy Trinity. On the death of the founders the master was to take a corporal oath on the gospels before the Prior of St. Oswald to render a faithful account yearly to the prior. He was to hold no other preferment, but was to reside continually, except for reasonable causes approved by the prior, who was to supervise the house and correct abuses, and was himself to examine the accounts annually, and receive 40s. from the master.

The lands in London, with which the house was to be endowed on the deaths of the founders, were to be in charge of the Mayor of London, who also was to receive 40s. a year, as well as the collectors of the rents.

According to Leland, Sir Robert Knolles originally contemplated founding the house in Norfolk, but was persuaded by his wife to place it in Pontefract., where she was born.

Further ordinances as to the internal management of the house were confirmed by Archbishop Scrope at Cawood on 5 October 1404. (fn. 70)

In 1535 (fn. 71) Thomas Hutchon was still master, receiving £13 6s. 8d. as his stipend, and the six confratres each received £6 13s. 4d.

There were six poor men each receiving 54s. 8d., and six poor women each receiving 53s. 4d., and also three women servants receiving 65s. 4d. each. There was also Robert Harrison, a layman, who held the office of sacrist and was paid 66s. 8d.

In the chantry certificates (fn. 72) it is reported that the 'hole necessitie' of the house was ' the maintenance of hospitalitie, Goddes service daly, and the releif of pore people, and the kepynge of the forsayde xiiij ppore folkes iij servantes and iij children,' which was all duly observed. The ' goods' of the house were valued at £ 53 6s. 5d. and the plate at £24 12s. 9d. Thomas Hewet was then master.

In 1563 Queen Elizabeth continued the almshouse section of the foundation, in which were maintained fifteen aged people, whereof two were servants to the rest, each of whom was to receive £2 13s. 4d. yearly, and the mayor and chief burgesses of Pontefract were to place aged, impotent, and needy fit persons in the almshouse. (fn. 73)

Later benefactions have been made to the hospital, which is still in existence. In 1838 the hospital consisted of one large common room, and sixteen sleeping-rooms for seven men and nine women. Two of the latter were considered as servants to the almspeople. All the inmates were appointed by the corporation according to the grant of Queen Elizabeth. The overseers of the poor received all the revenues, giving each inmate 2s. 6d. a week and a supply of coals yearly. (fn. 74)


John Stedeman, (fn. 75) alias de Neuthorp, 1385, (fn. 76) resigned 1410 (fn. 77)

John de Stretton, succeeded 1410, (fn. 78) died 1418 (fn. 79)

Alex. Rawden, succeeded 1415, (fn. 80) died 1419 (fn. 81)

John Cudworth, succeeded 1419, (fn. 82) occurs 1447 (fn. 83)

John Latham, succeeded 1447, (fn. 84) resigned 1462 (fn. 85)

James Clapeham, succeeded 1462, (fn. 86) died 1494 (fn. 87)

Robert Cooke, succeeded 1494, (fn. 88) died 1513 (fn. 89)

Thomas Baghill, succeeded 1513, (fn. 90) died 1524 (fn. 91)

Thomas Huchon, bachelor of decrees, occurs 1533 (fn. 92)

Thomas Hewet, occurs 1546 (fn. 93)


This hospital, according to Leland, existed before the Conquest, (fn. 94) but by whom it was founded does not appear. Robert de Lacy, in the foundation charter of St. John's Priory at Pontefract, tempore William Rufus, granted to the Cluniac monks the full custody of the hospital of St. Nicholas, where they had previously lived, for the use of the poor. (fn. 95) Henry de Lacy, the younger son of Robert, in 1159 (fn. 96) renewed his father's gift of the hospital, and granted yearly, for the provision and clothing of the monk who had charge of the hospital, a mark of silver, 12 hoops (fn. 97) of corn, and 24 of oats, on the feast of St. Martin. The gift of the hospital of St. Nicholas to the priory of Pontefract was confirmed by Pope Celestine. (fn. 98)

On 7 June 1410 Henry IV granted to Thomas Toueton, master of the hospital of St. Nicholas of Pontefract, licence to grant the manor of Methley, co. York, to Robert Walton (sic) in exchange for the advowsons of the churches of Gosberton, co. Lincoln, and Wath, co. York. (fn. 99) On 11 November 1411 Pope John XXIII confirmed the appropriation to the hospital of the parish church of Wath by Archbishop Bowett, the value not exceeding 90 marks, and that of the hospital not exceeding 120 marks. The archbishop's letters (7 August 1410) to the master stated that Robert Wartirton (sic), donsel, had given to the hospital his patronage of the churches of Wath and Goboerkirk (sic). The archbishop (the chapter assenting) appropriated to the master and his successors the church of Wath, an annual compensation of 20s. to be paid to the archbishop, and 6s. 8d. to the dean and chapter. The master might take possession of the church, already void by the free resignation of Thomas Toueton. There was to be a perpetual vicar, presented by the master to the archbishop for institution. (fn. 100)

In 1438 Henry VI gave the hospital and all its estates, value £97 13s. 10d., to the priory of Nostell, the canons paying to the king and his successors, Dukes of Lancaster, 20 marks a year. The canons of Nostell maintained a chaplain and thirteen poor folk in the hospital till the Dissolution. (fn. 101) At the date of the chantry surveys (fn. 102) there were only ' ix poore people, beadmen, of the nominacion of the late desolved monastery of Saynt Oswaldes,' but in a return of pensions in the West Riding, 16 November 1552, it is stated that fourteen men and women of the hospital of St. Nicholas of Pontefract received pensions. This included the master, Henry Hebylthwaite, who received £5; two others £2, and the rest 28s. 6d, The return states ' Thes persons be called eremettes and be pore and aged people, and placyd in a howse called Seynt Nicoyles Hospytell, and when any of them dyeth another ys placyd in the dedes roome; and ys very convenyent to be contynuyd as well for the helpe of the pore and agyd people of the towne of Pontefrett, wher the same standyth, as for others. The pencions was payd furth of the tenementes of the late monasterye of Saynt Oswaldes.' (fn. 103)

The purposes of the hospital were afterwards much perverted, and the corporation endeavoured to obtain powers for its better government, which resulted in a clause in a charter of James I in 1605, vesting the hospital in the corporation. (fn. 104) Various benefactions to and regulations concerning the hospital have been made in post-Reformation times, and it still exists as one of the charities of the town.


Robert de Wodehouse, occurs 1327-8 (fn. 105)

Magr Ludovicus, custos, occurs 1399 (fn. 106)

Thomas Toueton, (fn. 107) occurs 7 June 1410, (fn. 108) and 11 Nov. 1411 (fn. 109)

William Bothe, appointed 11 May 1435, (fn. 110) mentioned 1441 (fn. 111)

Henry Hebylthwaite, occurs 1548 (fn. 112) and 1552 (fn. 113)


The Hospital of St. Mary Magdalene. —Boothroyd states that this hospital was founded in 1286 by Henry de Lacy as a lazar house, and suggests that the hospital called Frank's Hospital, one of the existing charities of the town, is either this lazar house under a new name, or was built upon the site of it. (fn. 114)

Archbishop Romanus granted an indulgence to those who contributed to the relief of the lepers of the hospital of St. Mary Magdalene 'juxta Pontemfractum '; this expression indicating that, as was usual, the hospital was situated just outside the town. (fn. 115)

The Hospital of St. Mary the Virgin. —Edward III on 1 December 1334 granted licence to William le Tabourere to found a hospital in a messuage in Pontefract, and an oratory to the honour of God and the glorious Virgin Mary, and to construct other buildings for a chaplain and eight poor persons, the chaplain to perform divine service daily in the oratory. The king also granted licence to Robert de la More, William le Coupere, and Thomas de la Sale to give certain rents in Pontefract to the hospital, as well as to Adam de Ernys to give 12 acres of land in Darthinghtone (Darrington). (fn. 116)

The Hospital of St. Michael, Foulsnape. —Very little is known about this hospital. (fn. 117) Mr. Richard Holmes, (fn. 118) however, established two important facts in regard to it, viz., that it was situated within the territory of the town of Pontefract, and that it was a hospital belonging to the Lazarites, whose head establishment in England was the hospital of Burton Lazars in Leicestershire, which at one time possessed the advowson of the church of Castleford, adjoining Pontefract. These facts are established by a charter of William de Karnesal in 1220, conveying to the Cluniac monks of St. John Pontefract 6½ acres of land in Pontefract, ' propinquiores terrae Lazarorum de Fulsnap versus suth.' Another document, discovered by Mr. Holmes, is a quitclaim dated 1235, between Stephen, prior, and the convent of Pontefract and the master and brethren of Burton Lazars, that the hospital should not pay tithes to the convent. By means of these and other references Mr. Holmes was able to determine the actual site of the hospital of St. Michael Foulsnape, which is shown on a plan attached to his paper. The hospital was evidently subject to the mother house at Burton Lazars (fn. 119) as a cell of that order, but no reference can be found to it in the chartulary of Burton Lazars.


  • 1. Guisborough Chartul. (Surt. Soc.), i, 171-96. The deeds are mostly anterior to c. 1250.
  • 2. Ibid. 171.
  • 3. Ibid. 193.
  • 4. Ibid. 181.
  • 5. Ibid. 190.
  • 6. Graves, Hist, of Cleveland, 433.
  • 7. Guisborough. Chartul. (Surt. Soc.), i, 173, 184-5.
  • 8. Ibid. 177, no. 345, in which land in Barnaby given to the hospital of St. Leonard of Lowcross is described as lying on. the east of the hospital, and other land by the cemetery on the west of the hospital.
  • 9. Ibid. 175.
  • 10. Ibid. 195.
  • 11. Ibid. 195,187.
  • 12. Ibid. 190.
  • 13. Dugdale, Mon. Angl. vi (2), 781.
  • 14. Hund.R. (Rec. Com.), i, 129.
  • 15. Guisborough Chartul. i, p. xxi.
  • 16. Ibid.
  • 17. Graham, St. Gilbert of Sempringham and the Gilbertines, 37.
  • 18. Dugdale, Mon. Angl. vi (2), 780.
  • 19. a Cott. MS. Claud. D. xi, fol. 242.
  • 20. Pat. 22 Ric. II, m. 23.
  • 21. Graham, op. cit. 213.
  • 22. Graham, op. cit. 37.
  • 23. Dugdale, Mon. Angl. vi, 972, no. ix.
  • 24. Ibid. no. x.
  • 25. Dugdale, Mon. Angl. vi, 781, quoting Leland, Itin. v, 117.
  • 26. Dugdale, Mon. Angl. vi, 21.
  • 27. Dugdale, Mon. Angl. vi, 780; Ingledew, Hist. of Northallerton, 251.
  • 28. Valor Eccl. (Rec. Com.), v, 85.
  • 29. Archbp. Gray's Reg. (Surt. Soc.), 177-81.
  • 30. Master William de Haya, a witness, was also a witness to ' le Convenit' between Bishop Poore and the Prior and convent of Durham in 1229; Feodarium Prioratus Dumelmensis, vi, fol. 217.
  • 31. Bishop Philip granted certain mills to the hospital; Turner and Coxe, Cal. Bodl. Chart. 601.
  • 32. Pope Clement VI, 1342, issued a mandate to the Archbishop of York to cause Margaret de Thorpe alias Horner, to be received as sister in the Poor Hospital of Northallerton; Cal. of Papal Letters, iii, 86.
  • 33. York Archiepis. Reg. Alex. Nevill, fol. 93.
  • 34. York Archiepis. Reg. Zouch, fol. 279.
  • 35. Cal. of Papal Letters, v, 67.
  • 36. Ibid. 469.
  • 37. Ibid, vi, 297.
  • 38. See account of Foukeholm, supra.
  • 39. Op. cit. (Rec. Com.), v, 85.
  • 40. Ingledew, Hist. of Northallerton, 258.
  • 41. Baildon, op. cit. i, 150.
  • 42. Archbp. Gray's Reg. (Suit. Soc.), 179.
  • 43. Cal. Pat. 1313-17, p. 337. He was appointed for life by Bishop Anthony [Bek] who died in 1311. The king intruded Walter de Assherugge in 1315, but Brumpton proved his own claim to the office.
  • 44. Baildon, op. cit. i, 150.
  • 45. Ibid.
  • 46. York Archiepis. Reg. Zouch, fol. 279.
  • 47. Baildon, op. cit. i, 150.
  • 48. York Archiepis. Reg. Zouch, fol. 279.
  • 49. Assize R. 1130, m. 8.
  • 50. Ibid. 1131, m. 11. Possibly Nicholas del Hill was an intruder, as we here find Dyghton bringing an action of novel disseisin against Nicholas del Hill, clerk, and others.
  • 51. York Archiepis. Reg. Alex. Nevill, fol. 93.
  • 52. Ibid.
  • 53. Cal. of Papal Letters, v, 67, 469.
  • 54. Ibid, vi, 297.
  • 55. Ibid.
  • 56. Baildon, op. cit. i, 150.
  • 57. a Wills and Inventories (Surt. Soc.), 100.
  • 58. Turner and Coxe, Cal. Bodl. Chart. 1601.
  • 59. Subs. R. bdle. 63, no. 303; Valor Eccl. (Rec. Com.), v, 295.
  • 60. Surrendered the house; L. and P. Hen. VIII, xv, 691.
  • 61. Cat. of Seals, B.M. 3735, lxxiv, 89.
  • 62. Ingledew, Hist, and Antiq. of Northallerton, 268-9.
  • 63. Ibid.
  • 64. Ibid. 267.
  • 65. Yorks. Chant. Surv. (Surt. Soc.), i, 123.
  • 66. In 1545 J. Cape of Welbury left ' to xiij widows of the Masyndewe of Alverton xiijd.';' York Reg. of Wills, xiii, fol. 60b.
  • 67. Pat. 19 Edw. II, m. 26.
  • 68. a Assize R. 1117, m. 10.
  • 69. York Archiepis. Reg. A. Nevill, fol. 97
  • 70. York Archiepis. Reg. Serope, fol. 45.
  • 71. Valor Eccl. (Rec. Com.), v, 68.
  • 72. Yorks. Chant. Surv. (Surt. Soc.), ii, 327.
  • 73. Boothroyd, Hist, of Pontefract, 390.
  • 74. White, Hist. Gaz. and Dir. of the W. R. of Yorks. 1838, ii, 281. The hospitals and almshouses of Pontefract have been amalgamated under a scheme of the Charity Commissioners, and are now under one body of trustees. The scheme provided that the occupants of the houses were to have 6s. a week, or married couples 10s., but at present the funds only permit payment of 5s. and 9s. respectively. Some of the houses, e.g. St. Nicholas's Hospital, are let, some at nominal rents to deserving poor, and others at rack rents. When there is a vacancy of a house at a nominal rent, or a pension, the trustees invite applications, it being a sine qua non that the applicant should never have received parochial relief. This combination includes certain charities founded after the Reformation, as well as the mediaeval hospitals, &c.—From information received from Mr. J. Eyre Poppleton, solicitor, Pontefract.
  • 75. York Archiepis. Reg. Alex. Nevill, fol. 97.
  • 76. Ibid. Bowett, fol. 94.
  • 77. Ibid.
  • 78. York Archiepis. Reg. Bowett, fol. 94.
  • 79. Ibid. fol. 122b.
  • 80. Ibid.
  • 81. Ibid. fol. 134.
  • 82. Ibid.
  • 83. a Cal. Pat. 1446-52, p. 17.
  • 84. York Archiepis. Reg. Kemp, fol. 411.
  • 85. Ibid. Geo. Nevill, fol 15.
  • 86. Ibid.
  • 87. Test. Ebor. (Sort. Soc.'), iv, 93.
  • 88. York Archiepis. Reg. Rotherham, i, fol. 80b.
  • 89. Ibid. Bainbridge, fol. 41b.
  • 90. Ibid.
  • 91. Ibid. Wolsey, fol. 75.
  • 92. Ibid. Lee, fol. 4.
  • 93. Yorks. Chant. Surv. (Surt. Soc.), ii, 326.
  • 94. Leland, Itin. i, 43.
  • 95. Dugdale, Mon. Angt. v, 120.
  • 96. Ibid. 121.
  • 97. Ibid. 122. See Halliwell, Dict, of Archaic and Provincial Words, i, 458. The word seems to be still in use, but with the varying meanings of 4, 2, or 1 peck of corn.?
  • 98. Whether Celestine II (26 Sept. 1143 to 8 Mar. 1144) or Celestine III (30 Mar. 1191 to 8 Jan. 1198) is not clear.
  • 99. Duchy of Lanc. Misc. Bks. v (2), 52 d.
  • 100. Cal. of Papal Letters, vi, 288.
  • 101. Dugdale, Mon. Angl. vi, 781; cf. Boothroyd, Hist, Pontefract, 379; York' Archiepis. Reg. Kemp, fol. 23.
  • 102. Yorks. Chant. Surv. (Surt. Soc.), ii, 325.
  • 103. Ibid. 326 n.
  • 104. Boothroyd, Hist. of Pontefract, 380.
  • 105. De Banco R. East, 2 Edw. III, m. 97 d.; Cal. of Papal Letters, ii, 273.
  • 106. ' Nuper fisicus carissimi avunculi Regis, Johannis nuper dueis Lancastrie, defuncti'; Pat. 22 Ric. II, m. 15.
  • 107. Also in 1411 Warden of St. James's Hospital, Northallerton (Cal. of Papal Letters, vi, 297).
  • 108. Duchy of Lanc. Misc. Bks. v (2), 52 d.
  • 109. Cal of Papal Letters, vi, 288.
  • 110. Boothroyd, op. cit. 380. In Mon. Notes (Baildon), i, 172, the date of his appointment is given as 1427, on the authority of the late Mr. Richard Holmes.
  • 111. York Archiepis. Reg. Kemp, fol. 23.
  • 112. Yorks. Chant. Surv. (Surt. Soc.), ii, 325.
  • 113. Ibid. 326 n.
  • 114. Boothroyd, op. cit. 382.
  • 115. York Archiepis. Reg. Romanus, fol. 7.
  • 116. Pat. 8 Edw. III, pt. ii, m. 9, quoted Dugdale, Mon. Angl. vi, 703. See also Yorks. Chant. Surv. (Surt. Soc.), ii, 326, where 1314 is a misprint for 1334.
  • 117. John Bule describes himself as ' of the hospytall of St. Mychaell arche angell Pountfrett'; Test. Ebor. (Surt. Soc.), iv, 93 n.
  • 118. Yorks. Arch. Journ. x, 543-53. The information in this account is wholly derived from Mr. Holmes's paper. To Mr. Holmes's reference of identification may be added a bequest in the will of John Porter of Pontefract (12 April 1475), who left to the gild of Corpus Christi of Pontefract an acre of land in Pontefract in Spicer Close 'juxta Foulsnape'; York Reg. of Wills, iv, fol. 126b.
  • 119. The quitclaim alluded to indicates this.