34. THE HOSPITAL OF THE HOLY TRINITY, SALISBURY (fn. 1)
The exact date of the foundation of this hospital is unknown. There is even some conflicting evidence regarding the name of the founder.
There seems little doubt, however, that the hospital, built on the site of a former brothel in New
Street, near 'Blackbridge', (fn. 2) and dedicated to the
Holy Trinity and St. Thomas of Canterbury,
owes its origin to the munificence of Agnes Bottenham. It is true that letters patent were issued
in 1394 granting John Chandler permission to
found the institution, (fn. 3) but there is evidence for its
existence some years before this. As early as 1379
an indulgence was promised by the Archbishop of
Canterbury, together with the bishops of Winchester, Durham, Ely, Lincoln, Salisbury, Exeter,
Bath and Wells, Rochester, Hereford, and St.
Asaph, to all those in their dioceses giving assistance to the poor inmates of the hospital of the
Holy Trinity and St. Thomas Martyr. (fn. 4) In 1390
Boniface IX granted the hospital permission to
consecrate its chapel and to celebrate mass and
other divine offices therein. (fn. 5) Moreover, several
of the early records of the hospital specifically
refer to Agnes Bottenham as the founder. (fn. 6) John
Chandler, on the other hand, is mentioned as its
master in 1383. (fn. 7) He was undoubtedly closely
concerned with the well-being of the foundation,
both in this capacity and as one of its earliest benefactors. (fn. 8) He was, in addition, one of Agnes Bottenham's executors. (fn. 9) But there is no evidence that
the hospital was rebuilt either on its existing site
or on a new one by him. And the ordinances
which he drew up in 1396 (fn. 10) are clearly supplementary to the original ones: they are concerned solely
with administrative matters and the remembrance
Provision was made in the hospital for 12 permanently, and 18 temporarily resident poor. (fn. 11)
The latter were allowed to remain a maximum
of three days and nights except in case of sickness,
when they might stay until they recovered. All
the needs of the poor were supplied by the subwarden, who was the working head of the institution. He had to be resident and take an oath to
carry out his duties faithfully. (fn. 12) It was the responsibility of the master to see that he did so, and to
remove him, if necessary, after his third offence.
In this event the choice of a suitable successor
lay with the master. After the death of John
Chandler, who kept the office in his own hands
during his lifetime, the mastership remained in
the hands of the Mayor of Salisbury. A resident
chaplain celebrated the usual masses and canonical
hours within the hospital, and attendance was
compulsory for every inmate.
The history of the hospital witnesses a sincere
attempt to carry out the wishes both of its founder
and of its earliest benefactor. Indeed, there appears to have been no break in its charitable work.
The ordinances have been modified and supplemented, but the foundation has always provided
and is still continuing today to provide food and
shelter for the aged. The wealth and excellent
condition of existing records (fn. 13) testify to a tradition
of sound administration which has resulted in the
effective execution of the hospital's work.
A detailed inventory of 1418 (fn. 14) reveals a wellstocked hospital possessing 28 beds, 25 coverlets,
13 quilts, and 23 pairs of sheets. Some of the poor
already had separate rooms at this time, others
were simply screened off from one another. In
the room where the altar stood were two rows of
beds on the ground floor, one for women and the
other for men. Six other beds stood on the upper
floor. This practice of placing beds in the chapel
was one commonly adopted by hospitals to enable
the bedridden to participate in the services. In
addition, there were five beds in separate rooms
within the main building, and nine others in
buildings in the garden. At least two of these
latter were in existence by 1396, (fn. 15) but four new
ones were built in the north part of the garden in
1408. (fn. 16)
Those admitted into the hospital appear to have
been well cared for throughout the 15th century.
They enjoyed a varied diet. Mutton, pork, or
beef was served on Sunday, Monday, Tuesday,
and Thursday; fresh or salted fish on the other
three days. Eggs, milk, oatmeal, cheese, bread,
ale, peas, salt, and wheaten flour also formed part
of their regular fare. All fuel was provided. The
bill for these items frequently accounted for about
half the total income of the institution: in 1407
£10 8s. of a gross income of £17 6s.; in 1451
£6 7s. 10d. of a total of £13 16s. 8d. Expenditure
on the poor did diminish to a relatively low figure
during the sub-wardenship of Stephen Rutherford, but this was probably due to inescapable
financial difficulties. At least it cannot be ascribed
to the cupidity of the sub-warden, who renounced
his own salary to assist the inmates. (fn. 17)
The provision of temporary relief proved unpopular with the municipal authorities, who protested that all the needy staying in the city were
received into the hospital. Presumably afraid of
the encouragement of undesirable paupers and
vagrants, they ordered a temporary cessation of
this charity on 16 December 1438, (fn. 18) and for the
rest of the century purchases of food and fuel for
the hospital are made specifically for the poor 'of
the house'. Not until the early 16th century was
this aspect of the hospital's work resumed.
In the course of the 15th century the salaries
of the chief officials of the hospital became fixed,
to remain virtually unchanged for centuries. The
chaplain received 40s. and a new gown annually,
the sub-warden an annual salary of 26s. 8d. The
mayor, who examined the accounts of the subwarden each year, and kept a check on the
movables through inventories drawn up on the
admission of each new master, received 13s. 4d.
annually. (fn. 19)
Throughout the century, the main source of
revenue comprised rents from the hospital's property in Salisbury. Licence was granted in 1399
for the acquisition of lands in mortmain to the
value of £20, (fn. 20) and by 1407 property in the city
worth £12 4s. 8d. a year had been acquired. The
annual income from these rents grew slowly but
steadily until, by the early 16th century, it
amounted to over £16. The efforts to augment
the revenue from other sources were varied, but
met with no marked success. In the early part of
the century payment was demanded from the poor
on their admission, but this practice appears to
have soon died out. From 1396 onwards the
hospital was a frequent recipient of episcopal indulgences, (fn. 21) and proctors, fortified by these, were
appointed at first to traverse the whole country,
later only the counties of Wiltshire, Berkshire,
and Dorset, in search of alms. The inmates
themselves, both brothers and sisters, also left the
hospital to beg, though their activities were normally confined to the city itself. Special collections were made in the chapel (fn. 22) on the feast-days
of the annunciation of the Blessed Virgin Mary
and the nativity of St. John the Baptist, and of
St. Michael the Archangel and the Holy Trinity.
Although the income from these additional sources
was never large, the sub-warden was able to balance his budget except when a heavy bill for
repairs had to be met. Even then, private donations substantially eased his difficulties.
The hospital apparently continued its work unaffected by the religious upheaval of the early 16th
century. It is not even mentioned in the Valor
Ecclesiasticus. A growing income enabled it to
continue, and towards the end of the century supplement, its provision for the poor. Letters patent
enabling the foundation to acquire lands to the
value of £50 were granted in 1583, (fn. 23) and by 1604
an annual income of £23 7s. 8d. was being received from rents. Although deprived of the
assistance of indulgences, the hospital continued
to enjoy the offerings made in the chapel on the
same four annual feast-days. But of far greater
value were the many substantial legacies received
towards the end of the century. The amount
spent on the basic food of the poor now became
stabilized at £10 8s. a year; peas, oatmeal, and
salt were bought in addition, and food worth 8d.
a week was served on Sundays. Fuel was still
provided, and the poor now received £1 each year
for 'Holy Day money', distributed in small payments at Christmas, Twelfth day, Candlemas,
Easter, Whitsunday, Trinity Sunday, Ascension
Day, and All Hallows' Day. Special allowances
were also enjoyed by the sick inmates. Some of
the new allowances were the direct result of
legacies. For example, 40s. was distributed yearly
from the bequest of James Malyard, and a similar
amount from the legacy of William Davies. The
gift of £20 from Peter Hermes was used to provide six new black cloaks a year: henceforth, each
inmate received a new one every alternate year. (fn. 24)
The number of resident poor that the hospital
was bound to support remained unchanged. The
full complement was not always maintained: only
eight were living there in 1564. But at least by
1598 the original number had been restored.
There are some indications of an attempt by the
hospital to resume its temporary relief for a short
while at the beginning of the century, but there
is no sign of this after 1518.
Throughout the history of the hospital, control of its affairs frequently lay in the hands of a
prominent citizen of Salisbury. Some of the subwardens had already held, others were to hold
in future, the mayoralty of the town. William
Maynard, for example, relinquished the post of
sub-warden to become mayor and then resumed
it at the expiration of his yearly term. In 1542-3
the mayor failed to appoint a sub-warden and held
the office himself. But the sub-wardens were by
no means all laymen. Thomas Blakker, William
Mantell, and John Bentley, for example, were all
clerics, and during their tenure of office no separate appointment was made to the chaplaincy.
The business ability of these clerics, however,
left much to be desired, and in the latter part of
the 16th century it became customary to appoint
a lay assistant to safeguard the hospital's economy.
Thus in 1569, during the sub-wardenship of John
Bentley, John Laxmore was instructed by the
auditors to draw up the accounts and receive the
rents. He remained clerk of lands under John
Bentley's successor, Godfrey Gobben, who was
also a priest. (fn. 25)
In 1612 James I granted the hospital a new
charter. It provided for the same number of
inmates, but specified that men only should be
admitted. (fn. 26) All the poor men were to be elected
by the mayor and commonalty as masters of the
institution. Ambiguity had apparently arisen in
the past from the different names under which the
hospital had received grants of property, so the
poor inmates were now incorporated as the Master
and Poor of the Hospital of the Holy Trinity in
the city of New Sarum. They were also granted
permission to use a common seal. All grants of
property were to be made conditional upon the
distribution of the usual relief to the poor. (fn. 27)
As the revenue of the hospital increased in the
course of the 17th century, so did expenditure on
the poor men. In the early part of the century
numerous large legacies were received, a substantial income arose from fines for leases, and by
the end of the century the income from rents
amounted to over £68 a year. The basic allowance for the poor was increased in 1605 to 7s. 4d.
a week; in 1620 another 8d. was added; two years
later a further 2s. Then in 1633 the auditors
ordered the expenditure of 12d. a week on each
inmate. Twelve shillings each week was therefore now normally spent on this basic allowance.
It was increased again in 1660 to 18s. The poor
continued to receive all the other grants enjoyed
in the previous century, and, in addition, a
few more small money payments from various
legacies, and a new shirt every alternate year.
A small proportion of the surplus revenue shown
in the account was also usually divided among
them. (fn. 28)
The different religious complexions of the
various political regimes noticeably affected the
religious life of the hospital during this period.
With the fall of Charles I and the advent of
Cromwell, the hospital ceased to employ a chaplain, and it was not until after the Restoration that
the traditional services within the hospital were
resumed. A new Bible and Common Prayer
Book were then purchased, and the salary of the
chaplain again paid regularly. In 1673, moreover,
the legacy of William Chiffinch enabled the hospital to pay the chaplain another 20s. a year. (fn. 29)
Information regarding the care of the sick
within the hospital is scanty and vague during its
early history. We know that the sick were given
extra money, but by whom they were nursed is
not made clear. Probably the task was performed
by the female inmates. In the 17th century, when
the charity was restricted to men, a woman was
specially engaged for the purpose. It seems doubtful whether she was resident at this time. There
is a reference in 1630 to 'the woman which now
remayneth in the said house', (fn. 30) but all the other
evidence points to the employment of a suitable
woman only when the need arose. Small payments for caring for the sick are intermittently
entered in the accounts, but they are scarcely big
enough to comprise a regular salary, and vary substantially from year to year. Thus in 1642 8s.
was paid to the goodwife Bull for attending the
sick men over the past two years, while in 1680-2
a payment of 17s. was made to a woman for nursing during a single year. Moreover, this latter
payment is made for attendance on the sick 'at
several times this year', which essentially suggests
employment of an irregular nature.
In 1702 plans were put into operation for the
complete rebuilding of the hospital. Representatives were appointed in each of the three parishes
and within the cathedral close to collect donations; (fn. 31) the brothers were ordered to find temporary lodgings for themselves. (fn. 32) A committee,
headed by Colonel Kenton, was appointed to
organize and supervise the undertaking. When
completed, the new building comprised a chapel,
common hall, and thirteen separate rooms, a hall
and garden at the rear divided into twelve plots. (fn. 33)
Despite the organized attempt to stimulate people's generosity, the work involved the hospital in
serious financial difficulties. Having made every
effort to collect together all available funds, the
sub-warden was still forced in 1706 to sell two
tenements in Downton to Sir Charles Duncombe
on a 40 years' lease, to liquidate the debts arising
from the rebuilding. (fn. 34)
Early in the 18th century the nurse became a
permanent resident member of the hospital staff,
with a salary of 28s. a year. In 1732-3 her room
was furnished, at the expense of the hospital, with
a cupboard, stool, and settle. The sub-warden, or
steward, (fn. 35) still received the same salary, but that
of the chaplain now rose to £4 a year. By the
middle of the century the weekly expenditure on
the basic commons of the poor men had risen to
22s., and a quarterage of £12 a year was paid them
in addition to the other usual allowances.
In 1828 a new set of regulations was drawn
up to tighten discipline. (fn. 36) The behaviour of the
brothers had often needed correction. Drunkenness was a common fault. (fn. 37) Indeed, in the early
17th century, a flourishing trade in beer and ale
appears to have been carried on by a woman in
the hospital not only with the brothers but with
others frequenting the place. (fn. 38) In the early 19th
century trouble was being experienced in making
the brothers wear the regulation black gown, (fn. 39)
and in 1825 it was ordered that anyone appearing
without this should forfeit a week's pay. Other
misdeeds were punished by withholding pay for
as long as two weeks. (fn. 40) The new regulations of
1828 set out clearly the standard of behaviour expected of the brothers and the penalties which
would follow any failure to live up to this standard.
Harmony was always to be preserved within the
hospital, and no one was to leave it without permission. Provided no annoyance was caused to
others, any trade or occupation could be followed.
Each man was bound to look after his own room,
and all were warned to keep away from alehouses.
The brothers were to attend the regular services
held in St. Martin's Church on Sundays, Christmas Day, and Good Friday, and all services held
within the hospital. Prayers were to be read in the
hospital chapel or common hall twice a week by a
brother selected by the steward. All the poor men
were to take an oath before the common council to
obey these rules, and any contravention was to be
punished by the loss of commons for the maximum
period of one week on the first offence, a report
to the Common Council on the second, and expulsion from the hospital on the third. No reinstatement was possible.
These regulations make it clear that the hospital no longer maintained its own chaplain. According to the Charity Commissioners of 1908
the chaplain ceased to celebrate in 1796. (fn. 41) In
1833 it was the practice for the parish priest of
St. Martin's to hold a service in the hospital chapel
on the first Wednesday in every month, and to
celebrate communion there every Trinity Sunday. (fn. 42) Otherwise the poor men attended services
in the parish church.
The report of the Charity Commissioners of
1833 reveals that the original number of inmates
was still being maintained at this time. The men
admitted were those who had formerly enjoyed a
better fortune, and who were at least 60 years old.
They were not necessarily infirm, but they had
to be residents of the town. Each received 3s. 6d. a
week, an allowance of fuel, a black cloak and a
shirt every alternate year, and 9s. 2d. a year
from Baker's Charity. (fn. 43) The nurse was still resident, but no longer supported by hospital funds.
The income of the foundation now amounted to
£192 9s. 7d., comprising £79 13s. 10d. from
rents (mostly in Salisbury), £41 2s. from fines for
the renewal of leases, £29 17s. 6d. from dividends
from investments, £150 9s. from dividends from
stock, and £5 10s. from Baker's Charity.
In 1853 the control of the hospital was transferred to the Trustees of the Salisbury Municipal
Charities. Their powers were apparently limited
in 1892 to the control of the personal estate of the
hospital, the real estate being vested in the Corporation of the Master and Poor of the Hospital.
In 1895, however, the Charity Commissioners
empowered the trustees to receive the rents and
profits of all the real estates of the hospital and
emphasized the obligation of the Corporation to
do everything the trustees required of them. (fn. 44)
A thorough renovation of the chapel was
carried out in 1908, but the character of the building was preserved unchanged. Indeed, the whole
structure of the hospital remains today fundamentally the same as in the early 18th century.
But modernization has necessitated important
changes. Central heating has been installed, and
in 1950 two of the rooms were changed into combined bathrooms and kitchens.
So at last the original number of inmates has
been discarded, and the hospital now houses ten
poor men and one nurse. The men look after
their own rooms and cook for themselves. They
can either eat alone in their rooms or in the refectory. All are given their rooms and lighting free,
but pay for what coal they need in addition to the
central heating. Each man receives 6s. 6d. a week
in addition to his old-age pension, and is perfectly
free to go out to work if he so wishes. A service
is held for the poor men every Thursday evening
in their own chapel.
John Leker, occurs 1407–11. (fn. 45)
William Panyter, occurs 1418. (fn. 46)
Robert Tresrawell, occurs 1436, (fn. 47) 1438. (fn. 48)
William Swyfte, occurs 1445. (fn. 49)
Henry Frend, occurs 1448. (fn. 50)
Geoffrey Ponyngges, occurs 1450-2. (fn. 51)
William Wotton, occurs 1456-7. (fn. 52)
John Belle, occurs 1459-60. (fn. 53)
Thomas Aynsham, occurs 1461-2.
John Bell, occurs 1477-8.
Stephen Rutherford, occurs 1478, 1484.
William Maynard, occurs 1487-8.
William Fraunces, 1488-9.
William Maynard, 1489-90.
John Spiryng, 1490-1.
Thomas Blakker, occurs 1492-5.
John Kene, 1496-1501.
Edward Dygon, 1501-2.
William Wells, 1502-9.
John Sexten, 1509-12.
John Raynold, 1512-19.
Thomas Blakker, 1519-20.
John Raynold, 1520-8.
Richard Lobbe, occurs 1528.
John Raynold, occurs 1530-1.
Henry Coldston, 1532-41.
William Smyth, 1541-2. (fn. 54)
John Evans, 1542-3.
Henry Coldston, 1544-6.
William Mantell, 1547-60.
Thomas Gyrdler, 1560-4.
John Bentley, 1565-72.
Godfrey Gobben, occurs 1572-3. (fn. 55)
Robert Newman, 1577-86.
Henry Hamon, 1586-97.
Henry Hamon, the younger, 1598.
Simon Neale, 1599-1605.
Thomas Holmes, 1606-13.
Richard Dawson, 1614.
Robert Roberts, 1615-16.
John Wyndover, 1617.
John Stannax, 1617-18.
Charles Jacobb, 1618-29.
Ambrose West, 1629-32.
William Mundye, 1632-51.
Simon Rolfe, 1652-8.
Nicholas Beach, 1658-9.
Isaac Acourte, 1659-64.
John Fishlake, 1665-7.
John Percivall, 1667-8.
Edward Fry, occurs 1668-71.
Andrew Baden, occurs 1678-81.
William Clemens, occurs 1681-2.
Thomas Haskett, 1688-90.
Henry Edmonds, 1690-3.
Edward Cox, 1693-6.
Robert Sutton, occurs 1696.
Richard Marsh, occurs 1705-7.
William Jay, occurs 1707-22.
John Sandy, occurs 1728-9.
John Davis, 1730-66.
Sydenham Burrough, 1766-82.
Michael Burrough, occurs 1782-1810.
Edward Stevens, occurs 1820-1.
George Atkinson, occurs 1827-33.
Two seals of the hospital are illustrated by
Hoare; (fn. 56) one represents the Godhead and is inscribed:
SIGILLUM: DOMIS: SANCTE: TRINITATIS:
The other shows the Trinity and, below it, the
head of St. Thomas, and is inscribed:
SIGILLU SANCTE TRINITATIS SANCTEQUE THOMAS
The sub-warden used a seal of his own in the 15th
century, and at least one document still survives
with this seal intact. (fn. 57)