St Thomas the Martyr, Malmesbury


Victoria County History



R.B. Pugh, Elizabeth Crittall (editors)

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'Hospitals: St Thomas the Martyr, Malmesbury', A History of the County of Wiltshire: Volume 3 (1956), pp. 342-343. URL: Date accessed: 28 November 2014.


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A house of lepers at Marlborough is first mentioned in 1231, when the king granted it letters of protection (fn. 1) and authorized a gift of wood from Savernake Forest for building purposes. (fn. 2) The following year there was another royal gift of wood for rebuilding the chapel of the house. (fn. 3) In 1246 the king made a grant of 50s. to be paid annually from the profits of his manor at Marlborough to the brethren of the house for the maintenance of a chaplain to pray for the soul of the king's mother. (fn. 4) Royal letters of protection were reissued in 1260, 1267, and 1269. (fn. 5) John Trewe, described as a 'hermit' of the hospital, was granted one year's protection in 1340 when collecting alms throughout the country. (fn. 6)

The wardenship of the house was granted in 1321 by the king to one of his clerks. (fn. 7) A servant in the royal almonry received a grant of the 'free chapel' of St. Thomas by Marlborough in 1388, (fn. 8) and from June to September 1391 the same man also held the hospital of St. John the Baptist at Wilton (see below, p. 366). In 1393 the reversion of the hospital, said to be in the king's gift and of little value, was granted to the Prior and Convent of St. Margaret's, Marlborough (see above), and their successors. (fn. 9) Nevertheless, presentation to the wardenship of the free chapel appears to have been in the king's hands in 1398. (fn. 10)

In 1402 a body of commissioners was appointed to inquire into the hospital's endowments. (fn. 11) No separate return was made for the hospital in the Valor Ecclesiasticus and probably its endowments are included in the return for St. Margaret's. (fn. 12)

The site of this hospital is unknown. It may have been on the eastern outskirts of the town, however, since in 1275 the bishop claimed free warren from the hospital, described as lying outside the town, to Hungerford bridge, which is on the east side of Marlborough. (fn. 13)

Wardens or Masters

William de Sumery, appointed 1321. (fn. 14)

Byndus de Bandinel, resigned (on exchange) 1346. (fn. 15)

Philip of Weston, collated 1346. (fn. 16)

John Winwick, resigned (on exchange) 1347. (fn. 17)

Edward Romeyn, presented 1347. (fn. 18)

Philip (or John) Olney, occurs 1377-8. (fn. 19)

John Were, appointed 1388, occurs 1393. (fn. 20)

John Cheyne, appointed 1398. (fn. 21)


1 Pat. R. 1225–32, 425.
2 Close R. 1231–4, 6.
3 Ibid. 44.
4 Cal. Pat. 1232–47, 485.
5 Ibid. 1258–66, 93; 1266–72, 167, 397.
6 Ibid. 1338–40, 441; the 'hermit' of Devizes leper hospital was collecting alms in 1337 and 1338.
7 Ibid. 1317–21, 571.
8 Ibid. 1385–9, 476.
9 Ibid. 1391–6, 320.
10 Ibid. 1396–9, 272.
11 Ibid. 1401–5, 200.
12 Valor Eccl. (Rec. Com.), ii, 148.
13 Rot. Hund. (Rec. Com.), ii, 260.
14 Cal. Pat. 1317–21, 571.
15 Sar. Reg. Wyville, ii, f. 145; Phillipps, Wilts. Inst. i, 40.
16 Ibid.
17 Browne Willis, Survey of Cathedrals, ii, 135.
18 Ibid.
19 Cal. Pat. 1377–81, 57, 67; C 47/84/95.
20 Cal. Pat. 1385–9, 476.
21 Ibid. 1396–9, 272.