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Title: 'Hospitality, chantries, and other works of piety' : a select study of the functions and longevity of hospitals in small towns and villages in medieval England, c.1150-c.1450
Author: Fry, Carol
ISNI:       0000 0004 9356 3821
Awarding Body: University of Oxford
Current Institution: University of Oxford
Date of Award: 2020
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In the high to late Middle Ages, hospitals were ubiquitous. It has been estimated that by the fourteenth century more than 500 hospitals were scattered across the English landscape. Yet to date, hospitals located in small towns and villages in England have received little scholarly attention. This study seeks to contribute to the field by offering a wide-ranging assessment of 72 lesser-known hospitals. It considers whether these houses can be defined by the functions they performed as opposed to the guests they served. And it seeks to establish the extent to which they were reliant on patronal support throughout the core period of the study. The project combined the results generated from its bespoke database with an in-depth appraisal of the hospitals in Aynho and Brackley, Northamptonshire. In addition, it incorporated material concerning obscure hospitals into its analysis. The results found that the hospitals can be defined by their core functions of hospitality, chantries, and other works of piety which were offered to a variety of guests. Such was the importance of the provision of hospitality, it was implicit within their most commonly-used name. A main finding was that hospitals were remarkably resilient: at least 50% were viable in the sixteenth century. The minimum average lifespan of these houses was 238 years, and the evidence revealed a degree of specialisation in their functions in the later Middle Ages. During this time, many successfully mitigated both internal and external threats through a wide-ranging network of support. This included monarchs and bishops in their role as temporary patrons and reformers. However, the study concludes that it was in the gift of the legal patron to ultimately seal their fate.
Supervisor: Gemmill, Elizabeth Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Medieval History