St Leonard's Hospital, Alnwick


Heritage Category:
Scheduled Monument
List Entry Number:
Date first listed:


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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

Northumberland (Unitary Authority)
National Grid Reference:
NU 18793 14384


St Leonard’s Hospital, 600m south west of Broom House.

Reasons for Designation

A medieval hospital is a group of buildings housing a religious or secular institution which provided spiritual and medical care. The idea for such institutions originated in the Anglo-Saxon period although the first definite foundations were created by Anglo-Norman bishops and queens in the 11th century. Documentary sources indicate that by the mid 16th century there were around 800 hospitals. A further 300 are also thought to have existed but had fallen out of use by this date. Half of the hospitals were suppressed by 1539 as part of the Dissolution of the Monasteries. Some smaller institutions survived until 1547 when they were dissolved by Edward VI. Many of these smaller hospitals survived as almshouses, some up to the present day. Despite the large number of hospitals known from documentary sources to have existed, generally only the larger religious ones have been exactly located. Few hospitals retain upstanding remains and very few have been examined by excavation. In view of these factors all positively identified hospitals are nationally important.

St. Leonard’s Hospital is a rare survival of a positively identified medieval hospital. Partial excavation has indicated that the foundations of hospital buildings, facilities, a cemetery and a well survive beneath the level of the ground. The buried layers and deposits will contain archaeological information relating to the construction, use and abandonment of the hospital which will inform our knowledge and understanding of such institutions during the medieval period.


See Details.


This record was the subject of a minor enhancement on 11 May 2016. This record has been generated from an "old county number" (OCN) scheduling record. These are monuments that were not reviewed under the Monuments Protection Programme and are some of our oldest designation records.

The monument includes the buried and reconstructed standing remains of a hospital of medieval date, situated on gently sloping ground overlooking Alnwick to the south. The buried remains of the hospital were partially uncovered by ploughing in 1845 and include a chapel, well, hospital buildings and a burial ground containing a large number of graves. The upstanding remains are largely those of the lower walls of the chapel and a domestic range to the south reconstructed in 1848 by F R Wilson, architect to the Duke of Northumberland, although a plinth course on the south side is thought to be in situ. The 19th century reconstruction of these buildings incorporates original masonry including squared stone and rubble walls with cut dressings and the south wall of the chapel includes a round-arched doorway with continuous chevron moulding and an indented hood. The reconstructed chapel has a nave which is 6.7m long and 8.2m wide and a chancel which is 4.6m long and 4.9m wide. South of the chapel, the domestic building is visible as a sub-divided rectangular building 30.0m long and 6.0m wide. The walls of this building survive to a height of 0.3m and a width of 1.0m.

St Leonard’s Hospital was founded by Eustace de Vescy between 1193 and 1216 on the site of a spring named Malcolm’s Well, where Malcolm III was believed to have been slain in 1093. The hospital was an independent religious establishment until 1376 when it was annexed to the Premonstratensian Alnwick Abbey. The last documentary reference to the hospital is in 1457 and it is believed to have fallen into disuse by the time of the Reformation (c 1535) and subsequently all trace of the building became lost. In 1845 ploughing uncovered the partial remains of the hospital. Excavation was conducted in 1975 to confirm the extent of surviving archaeological remains. This revealed the remains of a well built over the infilled spring known as Malcolm’s Well.

St. Leonard’s Hospital lies within the Alnwick Castle Registered Park and Garden Grade I and the chapel is a listed building Grade II.


The contents of this record have been generated from a legacy data system.

Legacy System number:
ND 58
Legacy System:


PastScape Monument No:- 7081


This monument is scheduled under the Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Areas Act 1979 as amended as it appears to the Secretary of State to be of national importance. This entry is a copy, the original is held by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport.

End of official listing

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