St Michael's Leper Hospital, Warwick


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1011035

Date first listed: 15-Oct-1979

Date of most recent amendment: 02-Jul-1991


Ordnance survey map of St Michael's Leper Hospital, Warwick
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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

County: Warwickshire

District: Warwick (District Authority)

Parish: Warwick

National Grid Reference: SP 27698 65412


Legacy Record - This information may be included in the List Entry Details.

Reasons for Designation

A medieval hospital is a group of buildings which housed a religious or secular institution which provided more spiritual than medical care. The leper house was a segregated settlement set up for those suffering from leprosy and other related diseases. The first definite foundations for medieval hospitals were by Anglo-Norman bishops and queens in the 11th century. Leper houses form a distinct type among medieval hospitals being settlements that provided a sufferer with permanent isolation from society. Their function was segregation rather than medical care. The first foundations were in the 11th century although most houses were founded in the 12th and 13th centuries. Between the 14th to 16th centuries only 17 houses were founded, perhaps reflecting the gradual disappearance of leprosy. Probably about half of the medieval hospitals were suppressed by 1539 as part of the Dissolution of the monasteries. The smaller institutions survived until 1547, when Edward VI dissolved all chantries. St Michael's is one of three known examples of leper hospitals in the county. The site has a long history of use documented from the 12th century onwards and includes 15th century standing buildings associated with the hospital. As such, it offers an important survival of a multi-phase medieval site unaffected by modern development. The existence of this extra-mural hospital also provides a significant insight into the relationship between urban communities and special institutions as well as attitudes towards disease in the medieval period.


Legacy Record - This information may be included in the List Entry Details.


This monument includes the below ground remains of a leper hospital, chapel, and cemetery, located outside the medieval settlement of Warwick. The present focus of the hospital complex is formed by the upstanding chapel, a single cell stone building of 15th century date, and a late 15th or early 16th century timber-framed building, known as the Master's House, situated to the north of the chapel. Although partially rebuilt, the buildings are contemporary with the later medieval development of the site. The standing buildings are considered to overlie the remains of earlier medieval hospital buildings which extend across the whole of the site. These include an earlier chapel, the infirmary and the cemetery which coexisted on the site. Hospital records show that the church of St.Michael was founded by Roger, Earl of Warwick in 1135. The first actual reference to the leper hospital is in 1275, but by 1540 it was said to be `much in ruin' . By 1545 it was leased to a layman, Richard Fisher, who distributed alms to the poor and gave lodging to four poor men. The last priest recorded as warden took office in 1557. The chapel and Master's house were converted to cottages in the 17th-18th centuries. Today the site is in private ownership. The chapel and the Master's House are both listed Grade II* and are excluded from the scheduling, although the ground beneath both of them, which is believed to contain evidence of structures relating to the earlier development of the hospital, is included.

MAP EXTRACT The site of the monument is shown on the attached map extract.


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

Legacy System number: 17004

Legacy System: RSM


Books and journals
The Priest's or Master's House of the Former Leper Hospital, (1988)
Page, W, The Victoria History of the County of Warwickshire, (1908)
Gilchrist, R., MPP Single Monument Class Description - Hospitals, (1988)

End of official listing