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Small tower in hospital of St. James by Westminster

In the civil parish of City Of Westminster.
In the historic county of London and Middlesex.
Modern Authority of London Borough of Westminster.
1974 county of Greater London.
Medieval County of Middlesex.

OS Map Grid Reference: TQ29358004
Latitude 51.50472° Longitude -0.13792°

Small tower in hospital of St. James by Westminster has been described as a probable Fortified Town House.

There are no visible remains.

This is a Grade 1 listed building protected by law*.

Description

The patent rolls record, dated 20 Feb 1379 a "pardon to Thomas Orgrave, clerk, master of the hospital of St. James by Westminster, for crenellating without licence a small tower therein for the security of its ornaments." The term 'pardon' does not mean any wrong doing had occurred other than perhaps a breach of etiquette possibly that of making an application for licence after construction was finished.
Hospital founded before 1189 for 13 leprous women, and 8 brethren, first documented during C12. The brothers and sisters were in separate houses, and followed the Austin rule. It was demolished in 1531 for the construction of St James's Palace. Excavations in 1925 and 1990 have located burials and parts of the hospital including a possible chapel.

"The hospital of St. James for leprous women, situated west of Charing, in the parish of St. Margaret's, Westminster ... The Black Death carried off the warden and all the brothers and sisters except William de Weston, who, in May, 1349, was made master, but in 1351 was deposed for wasting the goods of the hospital. It is said that in 1353 the house was without inmates, and the place appears to have been in much the same condition in 1384, when Thomas Orgrave, the master, with the consent of the treasurer, let to Elizabeth Lady le Despenser for her life, at a rent of 10 marks, practically the whole hospital, viz., the houses within the gate in front of the door of the principal hall, the hall with the upper and lower chambers at each end, the stone tower, the chamber over the entrance, the kitchen and bakery, the houses assigned to the master, and all the gardens and ground within the precincts. It is possible that the hospital was in need of funds just then, since a papal relaxation granted in 1393 indicates that the chapel was being rebuilt, but money would hardly have been raised by a lease of the building of the hospital, if the inmates for whom the rooms were intended had been there to use them." (VCH)

A royal pardon and licence to crenellate was granted in 1379 Feb 20 (Click on the date for details of this licence.).

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Sources of information, references and further reading
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*The listed building may not be the actual medieval building, but a building on the site of, or incorporating fragments of, the described site.
This record last updated before 1 February 2016

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