Canterbury Historical and Archaeological Society (CHAS)

JESUS HOSPITAL Sturry Road

This ‘Hospital’, or almshouses, was founded in 1595 by Sir John Boys for 8 poor men and 4 poor women, known as ‘brothers’ and ‘sisters‘. Sir John had made a fortune in legal practice. He had perhaps been inspired by Sir Roger Manwood’s foundation set up 20 or so years before.

The Hospital was supervised by a warden whose duties were also to conduct ‘public prayers’ morning and evening in the hospital chapel and celebrate communion at least once a week. His duties also included managing a ‘Spital School’ set up in the Hospital so his annual stipend of £10 was perhaps well earned. The residents were expected to attend these services and one of the brothers was appointed gatekeeper and also held the key to the Hospital chest. The pupils were to be taught to ‘freely to read and write, and cast accounts’, up to twenty boys, above twelve years old could attend the school.

Money was set aside for clothing for the residents and also the pupils at the school; this money also provided for four of the boys to be apprenticed each year. Later this was increased to 10 boys. This spital school lasted for more than 250 years until the setting up of government schools; these survive as the Simon Langton Schools of today. The money originally set aside for apprenticeships was paid and continues to be paid to these successor schools.

Some of the original Elizabethan buildings (Images 1 and 2) remain but alterations were made to the Hospital in 1935 when part of the oldest section (Image 3 ) was demolished and a new wing and hall was built (Image 4). With subsequent improvements the hospital now provides up to date accommodation for 17 residents.

What to see:

  • Elizabethan buildings
  • The plaque on the front of the original building dated 1595 (Image 5)
  • The Hall window with the Coat of Arms of the founder dating back to 1600 (Image 6).
    • Access: private but front visible from Sturry Road
       
      Sources: Ingram Hill (2004); Hasted (1800)
      AT

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