St John Baptist, Hockcliffe


Victoria County History


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'Hospitals: St John Baptist, Hockcliffe', A History of the County of Bedford: Volume 1 (1904), pp. 401-402. URL: Date accessed: 21 April 2014. Add to my bookshelf


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The hospital of St. John Baptist at Hockliff is first mentioned in the Lincoln Episcopal Registers in 1248, (fn. 1) but it had then evidently been in existence some years. The patron at that time was John Malherbe, (fn. 2) a member of whose family was probably the founder. Its purpose is not stated, nor the number of the brethren mentioned; but it seems most likely that it was a hospital for the destitute poor. (fn. 3) The master and brethren presented rectors to the parish church from 1248 to 1401, (fn. 4) if not longer, and their exercise of their patronage brought them once under the displeasure of Bishop Grossetête; (fn. 5) for they presented a young man of their founder's family, (fn. 6) who was refused by the bishop for defect of orders and insufficiency of learning. In 1286 the master was deposed by Bishop Sutton, and another substituted; the cause is not given. (fn. 7) The brethren were allowed in 1301 to collect alms for the rebuilding of their hospital, and an indulgence was granted by the bishop to their benefactors. (fn. 8) In 1310 Bishop Dalderby received a serious complaint from Luke of Nutley, who was then master; he said that during his term of office (only a few months) the brethren had been unwilling to obey him, and were filled with a spirit of rebellion; and that a certain lay brother had laid violent hands upon him and used contumelious words, refusing to recognise his authority. (fn. 9) The difficulty appears to have been settled by the resignation of Luke in favour of a former master, (fn. 10) who was perhaps more acceptable to the brethren.

The hospital was visited by Bishop Bek in 1342, (fn. 11) but the results are not recorded. Reference is made to the master and brethren at the institution of John Culryk to the parish church in 1401; (fn. 12) and masters continued to be appointed till 1422. It was probably soon after this that the hospital was taken over by the prior and canons of Dunstable, perhaps because its income had become insufficient to maintain it any longer as an independent house. Its revenue at the dissolution was only £4 15s. 4d., and it finally ceased to exist at the same time as the priory of Dunstable. (fn. 13)

Masters of Hockliffe

A(dam), (fn. 14) occurs 1248

Walter, (fn. 15) resigned 1264

William de Lethom, (fn. 16) appointed 1264

Thomas (fn. 17) resigned 1286

Alan de Freston, (fn. 18) appointed 1286, deposed 1288

Thomas of Battlesden, (fn. 19) appointed 1288

Walter de Hoccon, (fn. 20) resigned 1289

Ralph de Eston, (fn. 21) appointed 1289, resigned 1301

Richard de Newton, (fn. 22) appointed 1301, resigned 1310

Luke of Nutley, (fn. 23) appointed 1310, resigned 1310

Richard de Newton, (fn. 24) appointed 1310

William de Elrichton, (fn. 25) appointed 1321, resigned 1323

Hugh Tracy, (fn. 26) appointed 1323, resigned 1323

William de Edington, (fn. 27) appointed 1323, resigned 1323

Robert of Lubenham, (fn. 28) appointed 1323, resigned 1338

John Carpenter, (fn. 29) appointed 1338, resigned 1340

Ralph of Esthaddon, (fn. 30) appointed 1340, resigned 1355

Richard of Dorset, (fn. 31) appointed 1356

Nicholas, (fn. 32) resigned 1400

William atte Mille, (fn. 33) resigned 1405

John King, (fn. 34) appointed 1405, resigned 1405

William Snell, (fn. 35) appointed 1405

William Stortewayle, (fn. 36) resigned 1408

Richard Ulverton, (fn. 37) appointed 1408, resigned 1410

John Kirkeby, (fn. 38) appointed 1410, died 1411

Thomas Burreth, (fn. 39) appointed 1411, died 1413

William Colestone, (fn. 40) appointed 1413

Thomas Chase, (fn. 41) resigned 1422

Adam Symond, (fn. 42) appointed 1422


1 Linc. Epis. Reg., Rolls of Grossetête.
2 Ibid.
3 The purpose of the hospitals for the sick and for lepers is usually explicitly stated.
4 Linc. Epis. Reg.
5 Ibid. Rolls of Grossetête, 1265.
6 William Malherbe.
7 The hospital in this year was 'vacant by the amoval of Alan de Freston, last master.'
8 Ibid. Memo. Dalderby, 33d, 48.
9 Ibid. 178.
10 See list of masters.
11 Ibid. Memo. Bek, 32d.
12 Ibid. Inst. Beaufort.
13 It appears in the First Report of the Crown Bailiff as part of the property of Dunstable, and its value is given as above (Dugdale, Mon. vi. 242). It is not in the Chantry Certificates.
14 Linc. Epis. Reg., Rolls of Grossetête.
15 Ibid.
16 Ibid.
17 Ibid. Memo. Sutton.
18 Ibid. He had been a lay brother at Brackley Hospital, an unusual appointment.
19 Ibid.
20 Ibid.
21 Ibid.
22 Ibid. Inst. Dalderby, 259.
23 Inst. Dalderby, 265d.
24 Ibid. 269.
25 Ibid. Inst. Burghersh, 292d.
26 Ibid. 293d.
27 Ibid. 314d. Perhaps this is the same as No. 12.
28 Ibid.
29 Ibid. 318d.
30 Ibid. 320d; ibid. Inst. Gynwell, 392d.
31 Ibid. 396.
32 Ibid. Inst. Beaufort, 135.
33 Ibid.
34 Ibid. Inst. Repingdon, 282.
35 Ibid. 284.
36 Ibid. 294.
37 Ibid.
38 Ibid. 298.
39 Ibid. 304.
40 Ibid. 305.
41 Ibid. Inst. Fleming, 126.
42 Ibid.