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Historic England Research Records

Hospital Of St James The Less

Hob Uid: 611255
Location :
Greater London Authority
City of Westminster
Non Civil Parish
Grid Ref : TQ2938980113
Summary : Hospital founded before 1189 for 14 leprous women, and 8 brethren, first documented during the 12th century. The brothers and sisters were in separate houses, and followed the Austin rule. It was demolished in 1531 for the construction of St James's Palace. Excavations in 1925 and 1990 have located burials and parts of the hospital including a possible chapel.
More information : (TQ 29408010 - sited to general area of St James's Palace) The site of the present St James's Palace (see NAR no TQ 28 SE 4) was formerly occupied by a hospital for leprous women, an Augustinian foundation. The hospital's dedication to St James the Less was retained for the name of the Palace and its associated park( see NAR no TQ 27 NE 65). A pre-Conquest origin has been claimed for the hospital by some authorities, but the earliest surviving records belong to the early 12th century, leaving the matter unresolved. The hospital and its lands were granted to Eton College in 1448. In 1531 the college exchanged the hospital and much of its possessions with Henry VIII for lands in Kent, presumably at Henry's instigation. The hospital was demolished and the site used for St James's Palace. (1-5)

RCHME reports the discovery under Colour Court of St James's Palace in 1925 of part of the foundation of the north wall of a building plus medieval tiles. The presence of burials on either side of the wall were taken to indicate that this was the site of the hospital chapel. (2)

In 1838, during repairs to the Chapel Royal at the palace, Norman stone mullions and other masonry "came to light" (3)

Excavations in 1990 in and around Marlborough House (NAR no TQ 28 SE 57) recovered architectural fragments spanning the 13th-19th centuries, pottery ranging in date from the mid-12th century onwards plus fragments of 14th century decorated floor tiles. Much of this material is regarded as possibly deriving from the hospital.(6)

Baker reproduces a mid-16th century sketch of London which apparently shows the hospital of St James in the background, although the sketch appears to post-date the building of St James's Palace.(5)

Sources :
Source Number : 1
Source : The Victoria history of London, volume one : including London within the bars, Westminster & Southwark
Source details :
Page(s) : 542-46
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) :
Source Number : 2
Source : An inventory of the historical monuments in London. Volume II: West London, excluding Westminster Abbey
Source details :
Page(s) : 130
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) :
Source Number : 3
Source : Transactions of the London and Middlesex Archaeological Society
Source details : (N Blakiston)
Page(s) : 51-55
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) : 20, 1959
Source Number : 4
Source : Transactions of the London and Middlesex Archaeological Society
Source details : (MB Honeybourne)
Page(s) : 5, 54
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) : 21, 1967
Source Number : 5
Source details : Baker T. 1970. Medieval London, 67-8
Page(s) :
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) :
Source Number : 6
Source : The London archaeologist
Source details : (M Barratt)
Page(s) : 508
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) : 6, 11 (1991)

Monument Types:
Monument Period Name : Medieval
Display Date : Documented C12
Monument End Date : 1199
Monument Start Date : 1100
Monument Type : Leper Hospital, Burial, Chapel
Evidence : Sub Surface Deposit
Monument Period Name : Medieval
Display Date : Demolished in 1531
Monument End Date : 1531
Monument Start Date : 1531
Monument Type : Leper Hospital
Evidence : Sub Surface Deposit

Components and Objects:
Related Records from other datasets:
External Cross Reference Source : National Monuments Record Number
External Cross Reference Number : TQ 28 SE 54
External Cross Reference Notes :

Related Warden Records :
Associated Monuments : 401435
Relationship type : General association

Related Activities :
Associated Activities : Primary, STATE APARTMENTS, ST JAMES'S PALACE
Activity type : WATCHING BRIEF
Start Date : 1994-01-01
End Date : 1994-12-31