Doug Wall

Doug Wall

Posted on 01/20/2016


Photo taken on September  7, 2014



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St John the Baptist Hospital


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St John the Baptist Hospital

St John the Baptist Hospital
Through that 16th century timbered gateway with a chamber over it is St. John’s Hospital. It is one of, if not the oldest, almshouses [a specifically designed buildings to provide charitable care for the poor, and infirm] in England.

The hospital was founded by Archbishop Lanfranc in Canterbury around 1087 as a hospital that cared for the poor, aged or sick. The building was originally built to house 30 men and 30 women. The medieval buildings were mostly demolished around 1684, nevertheless some of the remaining buildings date from the 11th to the 15th century and the remains of a 12th century chapel also survive.

Archbishop Lanfranc was probably one of the “better” Norman invaders. He is largely credited with maintaining the good relations between the church and state during the reign of William the Conqueror after the Norman Conquest of England. He also made a hospital for lepers at the church of St. Nicholas to the west of the city. Both houses were sited abutting main highways into Canterbury, good places for the collection of alms from passing travellers and pilgrims.



Since the almshouse is still in use there is a security lock on the gate so I couldn’t go through. But through those gates is a courtyard around which are arranged a set of six dwelling houses, mostly 15th and 16th century, and the chapel.

St John's brings in a tidy sum each year from renting out the dozen shops that line the almshouse frontage, in the city's busy Northgate. It also gets interest on money that has been invested for five centuries; it even gets a small sum annually from Henry II, who granted it 25 groats a year in perpetuity as a kind of royal community service following his part in the Thomas à Becket murder in 1170. So like the other 1,750 almshouses in Britain, St John's offers residents private sheltered accommodation at a distinctly subsidised rate. There are three main qualifications for residence: you must be over 65, have some link with Canterbury (work or family) and be unable to afford proper housing. A church connection can come in handy.

Don Barrett (aka DBs travels), William Sutherland, Annemarie, Zucchi57 (BusyBusyBusy!!!) have particularly liked this photo


7 comments - The latest ones
Annemarie
Annemarie
beautiful Doug
18 months ago.
Doug Wall has replied to Annemarie
Thanks Annemarie
18 months ago.
William Sutherland
William Sutherland
Fabulous shot!

Admired in:
www.ipernity.com/group/tolerance
18 months ago.
Jaap van 't Veen
Jaap van 't Veen
Beautiful architecture; thanks for the info.
Congrats on Explore.
18 months ago.
Doug Wall has replied to Jaap van 't Veen
Thanks Jaap
18 months ago.
Phil Sutters
Phil Sutters
Lovely old buildings, Doug. I did wonder about starting an almshouses group, but thought it might be too specialized. I also wondered what similar places abroad would be called.
18 months ago.
Doug Wall has replied to Phil Sutters
Similar establishments I have come across in Bruges and Venice were primarily for members of the Church rather than poor people with no church connection. Maybe somebody can tell us.....
18 months ago.