Barts 900 – How to run a medieval hospital
A hybrid in-person and live broadcast lecture with Dr Euan Roger.
Founded in 1123, the medieval hospital of St Bartholomew’s is the oldest hospital still in use in the UK, and remains on the same site as its foundation. The nature of hospitals and the care they provide may have changed greatly in the almost 900 years since, but while little of the medieval fabric of St Bart’s remains, much of the hospital’s medieval archive survives, allowing us to glimpse into the hospital’s medieval past and examine what life was like there at the hospital’s medieval height.
This talk explored the hospital and its community in its first few centuries, with a particular focus on the fifteenth century, a period in which St Bart’s flourished and expanded under the mastership of John Wakeryng. Using the hospital’s incredible cartulary (a prestigious register compiled by members of Wakeryng’s staff to record the hospitals property holdings), alongside records held at The National Archives and London Metropolitan Archives, the talk explored the individuals who lived at Bart’s at this time, and provided a glimpse into community life within the hospital precinct. It also examined some of the strategies employed by Wakeryng and his staff to reform and promote the hospital, securing its status and future at a time when many hospitals across England were in decline.
Dr Euan Roger is a Principal Medieval Specialist at The National Archives, specialising in the records of Medieval and Tudor England. Euan has published articles on the medieval hospital of St Bart’s, and recently on quarantine and social distancing in pre-modern England, and his work has featured in publications including TIME Magazine, The Guardian and The Times. He is currently writing a chapter on the medieval hospital as part of an edited collection commemorating the 900th anniversary of St Bartholomew’s Priory and Hospital.
Watch the video here: