St Mary and St Lazarus Hospital, moated site and two fishponds, Burton Lazars


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1012242

Date first listed: 10-Dec-1951

Date of most recent amendment: 13-Dec-1994


Ordnance survey map of St Mary and St Lazarus Hospital, moated site and two fishponds, Burton Lazars
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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

County: Leicestershire

District: Melton (District Authority)

County: Leicestershire

District: Melton (District Authority)

Parish: Burton and Dalby

National Grid Reference: SK 76342 16722


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

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 retaining significant medieval remains will be identified as nationally important.

A small number of hospitals were established solely for the treatment of leprosy. These leper houses differ from other hospitals in that they were specifically located and arranged to deal with contagious disease. Their main aim was to provide the sufferer with permanent isolation from society. In contrast to other hospitals they were normally located away from population foci.

Burton Lazars was the most important leper hospital in England. The site is well preserved and includes a diverse range of features amongst which are a moated site and fishponds. Limited excavations have confirmed that buried remains, including those of major buildings, survive.


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


The monument at Burton Lazars is situated on the west side of the village, 2km south of Melton Mowbray. It consists of a medieval hospital complex which includes a moated site and two fishponds.

The hospital complex is defined by a series of earthworks enclosed within a bank and ditch boundary which survives on all but the eastern side. The earthworks represent the foundations of buildings including the infirmary, chapel and domestic ranges. These are surrounded by an elaborate system of ditches and ponds, some of which appear to have been used for treating the sick and infirm. The boundary ditch is about 0.5m deep and 6m wide, with a bank about 0.5m high located on the inside. In the north east corner of the complex is a moated site believed to be contemporary with the hospital. This moat is partly water-filled and the site measures 100m x 80m in overall dimensions. The southern arm of the ditch is now a dredged out pond, whilst the remaining arms are up to 10m wide and 2m deep. The moat island has an internal bank all round, and displays slight evidence of medieval ridge and furrow ploughing, indicating that it was cultivated after abandonment. To the north of this are two long partly water-filled fishponds, measuring approximately 80m x 15m, which are connected to the moat by a channel on the eastern side.

Burton Lazars was the principal English hospital of the monastic order of St Lazarus of Jerusalem, a military order especially devoted to the foundation and protection of Christian leper hospitals. It was founded by Robert de Mowbray between 1138-62 but was burned down in the 14th century and dissolved in 1546. The elaborate system of waterways is thought to have been used for curative bathing and inspired an attempt to make Burton a spa c.1760. Excavations were undertaken on the building foundations by Charles Lindsay and the Duke of Rutland in 1913, when a large piece of pavement was uncovered, and a group of `round ovens' which have been interpreted as tile kilns.

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: 17029

Legacy System: RSM


Books and journals
Hartley, R F, The Medieval Earthworks of North-East Leicestershire, (1987), 7,24
Pevsner, N, Williamson, E, The Buildings of England: Leicestershire and Rutland, (1984), 119

End of official listing