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Guild, Hospital and Alderman
by Nick Hill, Alan Rogers
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ISBN: 9781845495824
Format: softback
210 x 297 mm
(8.268 x 11.693 inches)
Pages: 62
Imprint: abramis
Cover Price: £10.00
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Guild, Hospital and Alderman
 
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  • Description

This study brings together an architectural survey of the buildings and the documentary evidence for the foundation of Browne's Hospital and its history during the first 35 years. It was built in 1475 by William Browne, Alderman of All Saints guild, on a property adjacent to his own house, as a hall for the guild with a Hospital for ten poor men (called Cleymont Hospital). The survey shows an elaborate first floor guildhall with pantry, buttery and access to a kitchen, a dormitory arrangement for the bedesmen on the ground floor, and a two story chapel dedicated to All Saints at the east end. The quality of building and especially the contemporary glass is very high. Extensive buildings lie behind including accommodation for the warden, the confrater, and two women to serve the bedesmen, a separate hall for the inmates and other buildings such as a schoolroom.
But after a few years Browne and his wife decided to convert it into a family Hospital to be called 'the Hospital of William Browne of Stamford'. He endowed it from his own estates, new statutes were drawn up by Thomas Stokes clerk, brother of Margaret Browne, and the chapel was rededicated to Our Lady and All Saints. On the death of Browne in 1489, Stokes continued with the foundation, and on his death in 1495, under the new statutes, William Elmes, Browne's grandson, Alderman of the guild, became patron. Elmes died as a young man in 1504, and for the first time the patronage of the reformed Hospital (Henry Wykes vicar of All Saints church) became separated from the Alderman of the guild (Christopher Browne). Immediately a controversy arose, in part over the auditing of the Hospital accounts, and the Hospital refused to allow the guild the use of the guildhall and put a padlock on the guild pantry. A law suit followed which seems to have resulted in a compromise; the guild resumed its use of the hall but the Hospital remained separate from the guild.

While not necessarily typical of many such institutions, this study raises questions about the relationships between guilds and their Hospitals and on the roles of guild Aldermen in late medieval and early modern England.

Nick Hill works for English Heritage in Northamptonshire and neighbouring counties; Alan Rogers is a local historian living in Bury St Edmunds. This booklet has been published in association with the Stamford Survey Group and the Browne's Hospital Trustees. April 2013

 
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