Eastbridge Hospital, King's Bridge, CANTERBURY

The hospital of St. Thomas Becket

The hospital of St. Thomas the Martyr Eastbridge, built by Edward FitzOdbold, Restored 1933.


"East Bridge Hospital with it's beautiful pointed arch doorway"

The front of the hospital c. 1700's

"The Poor Priest's Hospital" A drawing from "The Album of Canterbury Views", Charles Reynolds & Co., London c. 1890's



A view of Eastbridge Hospital from the River

In 1313 the master and brethren of the hospital became responsible for maintaining the East Bridge, as they held rents for that purpose.

In 1576 the hospital was said to be ruinous and let out into tenements for a yearly rent, and was without a master. Queen Elizabeth granted it to John Farneham on June 20, 1576. In 1586 it was acquired by Archbishop Whitgift.

The hospital became an almshouse in the 16th century.

"Upon the bridge is an hospital, founded and endowed by St. Thomas Becket, for the purpose of receiving, lodging, and sustaining poor pilgrims, for one night only, if in health, with right of burial in Christ Church-yard, for such as should happen to die within the hospital. It was under the direction of a master, and a vicar under him; had twelve beds, and an aged woman to look after and provide necessaries for the pilgrims. The present building, though ancient, has a decent hall and chapel, where twenty boys are instructed gratis in reading, writing, and arithmetic. The schoolmaster, has an apartment in the house, as have also ten poor persons, who receive an annual stipend of 6l. each, and 10 others, who are not residents, have about 26s. a year from this foundation." The Kentish Traveller's Companion 1776

Complaint that Raaf Coker, having the keepership of Eastbridge Hospital under the Master of the Hospital will not accept any poor man. Canterbury Cathedral Archives CC/JQ/352/7 c. 1537

Rafe Coker keeper of Eastbridge Hospital for lodging and vagabonds. CC/JQ/337/iv 1537

By these statutes, the management of the Hospital is vested in a Master, who must be in Holy orders, and has the privilege of appointing a Schoolmaster to instruct twenty poor children to "read, write, and cast accompts:" and it is ordered that, instead of providing beds for "poor Soldiers," as formerly, the hospital should be fitted up for the permanent reception of five In-Brothers, and five In-Sisters; and that, after the expiration of the twenty years next ensuing, part of the revenue should also be applied to the maintenance of an equal number of out Brethren and out Sisters: the buildings of the Hospital were likewise to be kept in proper repair, together with the Bridge called King's Bridge, or East Bridge, on which they are situated; but the latter provision has been since departed form under an agreement made between the Master of the Hospital, and the Mayor and Commonalty of this City, in the year 1769, when the Bridge was widened to twice its former extent; and it was agreed that the southern half only should in future be considered as belonging to the Hospital. Various benefactions have been made to the Brethren and Sisters of this House since the time of Archbishop Whitgift. The buildings, which are ancient, are of stone, and of substantial workmanship. The Beauties of England and Wales 1808

"Civil Preferments - Rev. J. B. Bunce, Vicar of St. Dunstan's, to the Mastership of Eastbridge Hospital, Canterbury." The Gentlemen's Magazine 1823


Chantry Chapel


Eastbridge Hospital is supposed to have been founded by Archbishop Lanfranc, for the entertainment of pilgrims, and endowed by succeeding archbishops, for a master, five brothers, and five sisters resident, and an equal number of non-resident brothers and sisters, above the age of fifty, who must have lived in the city or suburbs for seven years; the former receive £20 per annum, and the latter £2 16 8 per annum, each; the vacancies are filled by nomination of the mayor, who appoints two candidates, one of whom is elected by the master. A school for twenty children was annexed to it by an ordinance of Archbishop Whitgift, confirmed by act of parliament in the 27th of Elizabeth; it is endowed with a manor and an estate at Blean, and with an investment of £2624 in the three per cent. consols, arising from legacies and fines for the renewal of leases; the present income is £331 15 10 1/2; the master of the hospital has an annual income of £90 18 7 3/4, calculated upon an average balance of receipts and expenditure for several years; the schoolmaster has a salary of £30 per annum, with apartments in the hospital; there are thirty scholars at present in the school. A Topographical Dictionary of England 1831


"Eastbridge was found to be in a ruinous state in the time of Queen Elizabeth, and was granted with all its revenues to John Farnham, one of Her Majesty's gentlemen pensioners, who assigned it to G. Hayes for £500. From Hayes, Archbishop Parker secured it and re-endowed it. John Battely, Archdeacon of Canterbury in 1688 was one of its benefactors." John Brent 1879


*The Medical Times and Gazette May 3, 1879. Royal College of Surgeons of England "the following gentlemen having undergone the necessary examinations for the diploma, were admitted Members of the College at a meeting of the Court of Examiners on the 24th, inst., viz. George Gulliver, B.A. Oxon, Canterbury of St. Thomas's Hospital.

My 4x great grandfather John TERRY died at Eastbridge Hospital on November 9th, 1855, at the age of 72, he was a Freeman of the City of Canterbury.

When a room opened up in the Hospital, two persons were nominated and one chosen. In my John's case, he and Peter Crippen were nominated and John was chosen for the place vacated by George Humphry Crouch. "John Terry, of the parish of St. Peter, aged 72 years, was presented with Peter Crippen, of the Parish of St. Mary Northgate, aged 70 years, by William Plummer Esq. Mayor of the City of Canterbury and chosen by the Rev'd William Temple, Master of the Hospital, to be an in-brother of this Hospital in the room of George Humphry Crouch, deceased October 9th, 1854." John had been an in-brother for just over a year when he passed away. George Crowhurst was chosen to take his place on December 28, 1855.

James TERRY's wife Martha TERRY nee Baynes was also an in-sister here in 1871, she was widowed, and age 73. Martha passed away in 1876.

(July 12, 1825 - Marriage of James TERRY of St. Alphage and Martha BAYNES of this Parish by Banns - Canterbury Cathedral)

In 1881, William Temple, M.A. Rector of St. Alphage Church was living at the East Bridge House with his unmarried daughter Marianne, and a domestic servant, a Ms. Emma Pierce. At this time, William was aged 83, and a widower.

There is a "Book of Admissions" for the hospital which starts in the year 1688, and finishes in the year 1926, when it was finally full. The book was used by the Masters of the Hospital.

Stain's Charity created 1824, £200 3 1/2 per cent. Annuities, dividend £7; to be applied amongst the brothers and sisters residing at St. Thomas a Becket's Hospital.

Mr. Hayes's case, as to his right to the said hospital; propounded by himself to Archbishop Whitgift.

The Queen's Majesty directed her commission (anno 18. Elizab.) to Sir James Hales, Sir George Harte, Knights, Mr. Wooton, and others, to enquire and certify the estate of Eastbridge hospital in Canterbury; who accordingly certified into her Majesty's Court of Exchequer, that the same hospital house stood then ruinated; and neither Master nor Brethren were there resiant or dwelling, of long time: the house let out into tenements for yearly rents; the beds that were wont to be there, to harbour and lodge poor people resorting thither, were gone and sold, contrary to the old order an foundation of the same: and the said hospital to be relinquished, and concealed from her Majesty.

Whereupon she gave the same in fee-farm to John Farneham, one of her Gentlemen Pensioners, in consideration of service. As may appear by her letters patents under the Great Seal, dated the 20th day of June, anno R. R. praedict. 18. The which said John, in consideration of money owing to him by G. Hayes, and more paying in hand, to the value of five hundred and fifty pounds, sold and conveyed her said Majesties gift of the said hospital unto him, in as large and ample manner and form, as her Highness had given and granted the same to him, the said John Farneham.

For proof of her Majesty's title thus much.

The said hospital was founded a corporation of Master and Brethren, for the maintenance of pauperum peregrinorum illuc confluentium, with lodging, fire, bread, and drink, for a night, two, or three. Wherein was maintained, in the said hospital house, eight beds furnished in one chamber for men; and four beds in another chamber for women; ut patet de recordo in registro Archiep. Cantuar. in fol. 238. All which beds, at the time of the visitation of the said Commissioners, were sold and gone: and no hospitality or relief for the poor: neither Master nor Brethren there resyant or dwelling, as aforesaid, &c.

The question is now, Whether is or was the said corporation dissolved, or not, at the time of the certificate of her said Majesty's Commissioners, when there was neither Master or Brethren there resyant or dwelling; but the hospital house let out into tenements for yearly rent, as aforesaid? If the corporation be dissolved, whether the Queen's Majesty hath not title to the lands given to the body incorporate, as well by escheat, relinquishment, or otherwise, by the statues of the realm?

The words in the saving of the statute in anno 27. R.R. Eliz.

"Saving to all and every person and persons, other than to the Queen's Majesty, her heirs and successors, and such as shall or may claim from or by her Highness, and others than the donors and founders," &c.

This is a true copy exam. per me

Nic. Battely


The modern good estate of the said hospital of East-bridge, anno 1690**, is as followeth.

The reserved rents of the mannour of Blean, or Hoath Court, leased for three lives, per annum
48 0 0
Rents upon leases of several lands and tenements, &c.

23 14 8

Rent for the vault per ann. not by lease
1 6 8
Quit rents of the mannour of Hoath Court, about
4 0 0
Dry rents and rents of assize, about
2 5 0
Rent in the Isle of Thanet, about
1 0 0


80 6 4

Besides 24 loads of wood, and the Master's house, at per ann.
6 0 0


Expences yearly out of the same

To ten In-Brothers and Sisters
28 0 0
To ten Out-Brothers and Sisters

13 6 8

To the School-master
6 2 0
To the children for books, about
2 0 0
To Bennet college
6 13 4
To the King for tenths and acquit.
2 8 2 1/2
10 0 2 1/2
For pension and acquit.

7 12 0

The Master's salary
6 13 4
72 15 6 1/2

There remains towards the repairs and other extraordinary expences incident to the same, almost 8l. a year, besides fines at the renewing of leases. These being honestly managed, the Master may be enabled in one and twenty years to do considerable benefactions to the edifices and to the poor. Of which the present Master* will make a tryal, if he lives so long.

*Dr. Battely, Archdeacon of Canterbury

**the page is noted 1690 the index as 1590


Eastbridge Hospital, founded as some say, by Lanfranc; or, as others think, by St. Thomas the Martyr, for the entertainment of pilgrims; yearly value 23l. 18s. 91/2d, now worth 478l. 15s. 10d.

The Protestant "reformation" - 1853


"East-bridge hospital, Mr. Somner says, was erected and endowed by St. Thomas Becket, for which he quotes the preamble of those ordinances or statutes, which Archbishop Stratford gave for the good government of it, in 1342; where it is said to have been founded for the receiving, lodging, and sustaining of poor pilgrims, for one night only, if in health, with the right of burial in Christ church-yard, for such of them as should happen to die within the hospital.

A master, in priest's orders, and a vicar under him, had the care of this, in which were to be twelve beds, with an aged woman to look after them, and provide all necessaries for the pilgrims.

The present building is ancient, and has a decent hall and chapel, where a schoolmaster (who has a good apartment in the house, and is called the reader) instructs twenty boys gratis, in reading, writing, and arithmetic. There are rooms also for five in-brothers and five in-sisters; but some of these rooms are subject to be flooded in very wet seasons, a mill just below the bridge so encumbering the channel of the river, that the part of St. Peter's street next the bridge is at such times under water."

A walk in and about the city of Canterbury - William Gostling


The School


My photographs & one postcard below are all "clickable" for a larger view and some more history

"The Hospital of Eastbridge, or St. Thomas the Martyr, is situate to All Saints' Church, and at the end of Kingsbridge; hence it has been called Kingsbridge Hospital. Its foundation is unknown, and before it bore the name of St. Thomas the Martyr, was called Eastbridge Hospital. Yet Mr. Somner thinks it was first erected and endowed by Thomas a Becket. Its object was to give every pilgrim a night's lodging and entertainment at the expense of 4d. "In the beginning of the reign of Queen Elizabeth, the land and tenements belonging to the hospital, yea, the very hospital itself being converted into tenements, were seized upon, and let out by private persons, till Archbishop Parker, in the 20th year of his reign, by his pious and prudent care, restored it again to pious and charitable uses, and made new statutes and ordinances for the better government of the same." (Duncombe.) Instead of "poor pilgrims," poor and maimed soldiers that pass forward and backward through Canterbury are relieved. He also appointed a school. The building is still remaining, and it is so used - the door is usually open, and it is worth a stranger's while to step into it. In this neighbourhood, almost opposite to the Blackfriar's-gate, in St. Peter's Street, was another hospital called Cokyn's Hospital, founded by a citizen of Canterbury, one William Cokyn, which he dedicated to St. Nicholas and St. Catherine. About A.D. 1203, it was united to Eastbridge Hospital."

Felix Summerly's Hand-book for the city of Canterbury and the Cathedral 1843


John CROUCH, Schoolmaster, with wife Mary and children Charlotte, George, Edwin and Emma

Richard WRIGHT


Susanna CROUCH



Peter DELO

Elizabeth DELO



Catharine HAYMAN

Elizabeth MACHNEY

Elizabeth JENKINS


Louisa RILEY





1889 - In brothers and sisters (East Bridge Hospital and Almhouses)


George GANN

William WAITE










"A font from Eastbridge Hospital sent to St. Mary Minster in Thanet?"


A Book Entitled: "The History and Antiquities of the Three Archiepiscopal Hospitals at and near Canterbury; viz. St. Nicholas, at Harbledown; St. John's, Northgate; and St. Thomas, of Eastbridge; with some Account of the Priory of St. Gregory, the Nunnery of St. Sepulchre, the Hospitals of St. James and St. Lawrence, and Maynard's Spittle. By John Duncomb, M.A., Vicar of Herne, and Master of the Hospitals of St. Nicholas and St. John; and the late Nicholas Battely, M.A. Vicar of Beaksbourn, and Editor of Somner's Antiquities of Canterbury." "...Juvat antiquos accedere fontes, Atque haurire......." London, printed by and for J. Nichols. MDCCLXXXV. Plates, W. View of St. Nicholas Hospital, Harbledown. Arthur Nelson del. 1766, 2 - Curious Maple Bown at Mapledown, W. View of St. John's Hospital, Canterbury, J. Raymond, del. 1784, Seals of Harbledown and St. John's Hospital. N. View of Eastbridge Hospital, Canterbury, taken from King's Mill, Raymond del. Cook sc. South View of Kingsbridge and Mill, and of the Church of All Saints at Canterbury, according to the late improvements taken (from the Parlour Window of the King's Head Inn), March 11, 1780. J. Pridden del. Seals of Eastbridge Hospital, &c. View of St. Gregory's Priory, Canterbury. Ruins of St. Thomas's Chapel, Canterbury, as they appeared in 1781. F. Perry del. W. View of St. Sepulchre's Nunnery, and N.E. View of Maynard's Spital, Canterbury. W. Groombridge del. 1785. Seals of St. Gregory's Priory, St. Maynard's Spital, &c.


Thomas Lawes...On 13 Feb. 1569-70 he was admitted to the mastership of Eastbridge Hospital at Canterbury. He was created LL.D. in 1578, and was for many years commissary-general of the diocese of Canterbury. About November 1589 he resigned his canonry at Canterbury, but he retained the mastership of Eastbridge Hospital till his death, which occurred 9 Aug. 1595. It was alleged that by the connivance of archbishop Whitgift he concealed the lands of his hospital and let them out at low rents. Athenae Cantabrigienses 1861

Samuel Foster, clerk, c. 1757

James Smith c. 1765 (on the death of Samuel Foster)

William Tournay c. 1790 (after the death of William Gunsley Ayerst, clerk)

William Pitman Jones (on the death of William Tournay, clerk) 1827

Died at Canterbury Mrs. Gregory, relict of the Rev. Wm. Gregory master of Eastbridge Hospital. - The New Monthly Magazine 1816, pg 82

1820, February 4th - Births - at Harbledown, near Canterbury, the wife of the Rev. J. B. Bunce, a son.

"Ecclesiastical Preferments - Rev. J. B. Bunce, Vicar of St. Dunstan's, mastership of Eastbridge Hospital, Canterbury." The Investigator (Quarterly Magazine) 1823

Clergy Deceased - June 15, 1850, at Harbledown, near Canterbury, aged 75, the Rev. John Bowes Bunce, Vicar of St. Dunstan's, Canterbury, Vicar of Sheldwich, Kent, and Master of Eastbridge Hospital, Canterbury. He was of St. John's College, Cambridge, B.A. 1796, M.A. 1799; was collated to the vicarage of St. Dunstan's by Archbishop Moore in 1801 and presented to the vicarage of Shaldwich by the Dean and Chapter of Canterbury in 1818. GM

Collegiate & Scholastic Appointments, Rev. W. Temple, Mastership of Eastbridge Hospital Canterbury, Aug, 1850 GM

1858 - Rev. William Temple, Master

1858 - Mr. John Crouch, Schoolmaster

1893 - Rev. T. G. CROSSE, Eastbridge Hospital, Canterbury

1917 - Rev. P. A. L. Clarke (B.A.) Masters Lodge, Eastbridge Hospital, St. Peter's Street

1923 Arthur Arnold CARTER clerk MA as Master of Eastbridge Hospital



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