Wednesday

Elsing Spital (Medieval Hospital, London) Founded 1331


Elsing Spital Hospital Details:
  • Founder - William Elsing (Merchant).
  • Previously - St. Mary within Cripplegate (date founded ~c. 1000). [5]
  • Town & Diocese - London
  • Dedication - St. Mary.
  • Date Founded - 1331
  • Date Terminated - 1536
  • Religious Order - Augustinian (from 1340).
  • Function - Medieval hospital.
Foundation Details & Medieval History:
  • Founded at London Wall in 1331 by a merchant (mercer) called William Elsing.
  • The hospital foundation was intended as a refuge for blind beggars of both sexes, paralysed priests & if space was still available then beggars who wandered about the city were admitted.
  • Initially it housed 32 inmates, then 60, & finally 100.
  • Performance of religious duties was the responsibility of 5 secular priests; one of whom was the warden.
  • The warden was required to render annual accounts & a complete suit of the same colour (not to exceed 30 shillings) to be given every year.[4]
  • In 1337 William Elsing became worried about the seculars wandering about the city, so he petitioned for a replacement with regular Canons.[4]
  • 5 Augustinian Canons and a prior were elected with the assent of the Dean & Chapter of St. Paul’s.[4]
  • This meant that by 1340 the hospital was under the care of Augustinian Canons.
  • By 1438 the hospital was significantly in debt, possibly because of enlarging the church.
  • The hospital was closed down by Henry VIII in the early 16th century [1]; the property then being granted to Sir John Williams, knt. master of the king's jewels, & afterwards Lord Thame, & on the next year on Christmas eve was burnt down. [6]
Modern History:
  • Only the church tower remains from the original 14th century hospital building.[4]
  • Ruins of St Alphage Church contain old Elsing Spital chapel of Priory tower within (see image). [2]

References:
[1] - http://www.museumoflondon.org.uk/English/Collections/OnlineResources/RWWC/Themes/1273/
[2] - http://www.chr.org.uk/walks_CityItin.htm
[3] - http://monasticmatrix.usc.edu/monasticon/index.php?function=detail&id=999
[4] -
Medieval Hospitals of London, Lecture by William Ayliffe, Gresham College, 7 April 2008
[5] - http://monasticmatrix.usc.edu/monasticon/?function=detail&id=1003
[6] - Thomas Allen (1837). The history and antiquities of London, Westminster, Southwark, and parts adjacent. Volume 3. Cowie & Strange, London.


Image Credit - by jypsygen (cc)

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