|Administrative history||The first steps made by St Bartholomew's Hospital towards independence from the Priory of St Bartholomew, in about 1170, gave the medieval Hospital the right to accept and administer its own property. The first gift of property to the hospital was from Rahere himself, who granted the living of St. Sepulchre without Newgate to Hagno the clerk, on condition that he gave 50s. a year to the canons and to the hospital. Gradually, donations of land increased: of the hospital’s property in 1456, the majority of grants had been received by the mid thirteenth century, although a few large gifts dated from the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries. The estates were administered by the master and canons of the Hospital, and under the mastership of John Wakeryng (Master 1423 to 1466), the hospital acquired more property through gifts as well as diversification its investment into brewhouses, bakehouses, gardens and shops, as well as simple residential accommodation, generating a secondary income, and enabling the hospital to compete successfully with other religious establishments. |
Many of the hospital’s tenements were located in London, spread across nearly sixty parishes but focused on the neighbouring parishes of St. Sepulchre without Newgate and St. Botolph Aldersgate. The hospital’s London properties fell into two distinct categories: those within the hospital precinct and those elsewhere in the city. Other properties outside London were concentrated in Middlesex and Essex, of which the latter were vitally important to the hospital, providing produce such as corn, hay and oats, and even cattle for breeding and slaughter. The work of the Hospital was supported throughout this period (and after the refoundation too) by the rental income and produce from its estates.
Following the dissolution of the Priory of St Bartholomew and the confiscation of the priory and hospital's property, the Hospital was re-endowed with by Letters Patent of Henry VIII issued on 13 Jan 1547, with most of its medieval property holdings, excepting the manor of Ducket in Middlesex. It continued to derive much of its income from rentals and was put into severe financial difficulties by the loss of property in the Great Fire of London in 1666. The Hospital continued to own and lease out property in London and beyond through the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries but the Governors began to divest it of its estates through sales in the eighteenth, nineteenth and twentieth centuries, and most of the remaining 'country' properties (ie those outside London) were sold in the 1920s (see SBHB/HA/1/29 pp501-502 for lists of properties sold at that time, as well as of property retained). The Hospital's Estate Office appears to have been established in around 1905 to manage the leases and sales of the remaining estates, and it's records are catalogued as SBHB/EO. Surviving records of the Estates Office primarily consist of correspondence, reports and surveys and financial statements relating to the hospital estates.