St. Leonard’s History

1130 - 1135

St. Leonard’s Hospital was founded by Bishop Alexander of Lincoln for poor infirm persons “juxta” Newark, probably somewhere in the region of Northgate.  The Hospital included a chapel and a lazar house for lepers and was managed by a Master, who appointed a Chaplain.  The foundation deed specified how clothing and food for the poor persons was to be provided.



Bishop Philip of Lincoln appointed Thomas Savage to be Master for Life.



Complaints made that the income of the Hospital was being converted to the Master’s own use.  The Master blamed “plagues and pestilences”, saying that the income was insufficient to keep him and his Chaplain, let alone two poor men.  The idea that the position of Master was an office of profit and that the income was his, provided he maintained a Chaplain and two poor men to persist over the centuries.  At this time Philip firmly restored the position as laid down in the foundation deed.



Sir Robert Constable later Lieutenant of the Ordnance to Queen Elizabeth was occupant of the Spittal.



Act of Parliament.  William Cecil, Earl of Exeter held a lease of the Hospital property.  He had built a substantial house on it, known as the “Spittal”.  The Act made over the Hospital property to his widow, The Dowager Countess in exchange for properties she conveyed to the Hospital.  She was to build a mew small Hospital on the land conveyed within three years.



Civil War.  In the siege of Newark, the Spittal stood outside the defended area of the town, it provided cover for the besieging forces and was used by Sir John Meldrum as his main position; it was entirely demolished by the Cavaliers after Prince Rupert’s relief of Newark in 1644.



Proceedings began in Chancery to set aside leases granted by the then Master and to have a Scheme drawn up for the administration of the Charity. At this time the original foundation deed had been lost.  It was apparently accepted by the court that the Master could take the quite substantial surplus profits for himself.  There were many leases by the Master of the Hospital endowment lands.


A copy of the foundation deed was found in the library of Lincoln Cathedral and Court proceedings revived.  This time it was made plain that the excess profits must be applied to the support of poor persons.  Costs ordered to be found by the Hospital, especially those of the Attorney General were formidable.



The first Scheme to administer the Charity approved by the Court.



New Scheme stated that the Hospital should be managed by Trustees, replacing the offices of Master and Chaplain.  It also stated that the Trustees shall apply income of the Charity for relief in need in relieving either generally or individually in persons resident in Newark or in the Parishes of Balderton, Elston and Girton who are in conditions of need, hardship or distress by making grants of money or providing or paying for items, services or facilities calculated to reduce the need, hardship or distress of such persons.



Almshouses (six) built on Northgate to replace the Hospital, then in a decrepit condition, built by the Countess of Exeter.


Subsequent amending Scheme, right up to date have retained the principal of management by the Trustees.



One row of Cottage Homes (twelve) built opposite the General Hospital between London Road and Baldertongate.



Second row of Cottage Homes (five) built behind the first row.



Third row of Cottage Homes (five) built between the first and second rows.



New detached Warden’s house built on Cottage Home’s site.



The six almshouses on Northgate completely modernised including installation of gas fired central heating, new fitted kitchens and bathrooms (approximate cost £60,000).



Acquisition of the administration of the Bakewell Almshouses (six) at Balderton.



Donation of £10,000 made towards the building of the new Eastwood Day Hospital at Hawtonville, Newark.



All twenty two Cottage Homes modernised including installation of new windows, gas fired central heating and new fitted kitchens (approximate cost £45,000)



Latest amendment to Scheme by the Charity Commission, incorporating the Bakewell Almshouses.



The building of the St. Leonard’s Hospital, Victoria Street project, consisting of twenty four old people’s homes with communal buildings and a Warden’s three bedroomed house (approximate cost £750,000)



Building of six units at St. Leonard’s Court, Newark.



Sale of almshouses on Northgate a not viable to refurnish.



Building of twelve new units at Parsons Mount, Kings Road, Newark together with community building and Warden’s accommodation.



Sale of St. Leonard’s Court to facilitate stage 2 build at Parsons Mount.



Erection of Phase 2 Parsons Mount comprising of ten additional units.


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