Beyond Maison Dieu: more medieval hospitals in the Canterbury area

Other medieval hospitals near the pilgrimage site of Canterbury help us build a picture of care during the period.

Although we are primarily building a picture of life at Maison Dieu for this project, the London and South East research group is also exploring other medieval hospitals: St John’s Hospital, Northgate, Canterbury and St Nicholas, Harbledown.

St Nicholas, originally a built as a leper hospital in 1084 still stands today as residential and sheltered housing

St Nicholas was possibly the first leper hospital built in 1084 by Archbishop Lanfrac and continued to be a leper hospital until end of 14th century.  Henry II visited on his penitential journey to Canterbury in 1174 where he paused to pray and left a gift of 20 silver marks to be paid yearly out of the royal dues from Canterbury forever. It then became an almshouse for the poor and had 60 places for men and women in 1562.  Today it is used for residential and sheltered housing.

It was built on a large scale making provision for 100 old and needy folk.

St John’s was also founded by Archbishop Lanfrac, c. 1085 . It was built on a large scale making provision for 100 old and needy folk with `watchers’ to care for them in sickness and a priory over the road to act as chaplains.  The hospital was endowed with much land and property including all the land the university stands on, for at least six centuries. A fire destroyed some of the and was rebuilt later in the middle ages.  The building today offers residential and sheltered housing.

We are gathering more information about these buildings as well as lists of inmates and the rules of living within these hospitals taken from a memorandum book in the Canterbury Cathedral Archives.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *