Lord Leycester Hospital
A retirement home for soldiers that can trace its history to the Elizabethan era and beyond.
This “Hospital” was never a medical institution. It rather uses the older definition of the term, which refers to a type of almshouse.
Lord Leycester Hospital is a group of medieval timber-framed buildings on High Street in the historic city of Warwick, England. It dates back to the late 14th century, and represents one of the finest examples of medieval courtyard architecture in the United Kingdom. For the first 200 years this group of buildings was home to the city’s medieval trade guilds. The buildings are arranged around the gateway into the town. A 12th century Chantry chapel sits above it.
In the late Tudor period, the buildings were acquired by Robert Dudley, Earl of Leicester (Leycester at the time), a favorite of Elizabeth I. He oversaw the conversion of the old trade guild buildings into a place where soldiers who had fought in the Elizabethan Era wars could retire, along with their wives. These soldiers became known as the “Brethren.” The person who was in charge of the institution was called “Master.” To this day, the Master still lives within the walls of the building. Master and Brethren represent a tradition of almost 450 years of history.
Even today, every morning they gather in the chapel and pray together using words written by their founder Robert Dudley. The Brethren can often be seen in ceremonial uniform as they give tours through the buildings and gardens.
Know Before You Go
The building also once housed the Queen's Royal Hussars Regimental Museum but it is in the process of being moved to a more spacious site nearby.
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