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HER Number:MDV9084
Name:St Mary Magdalene Leper Hospital, Maudlin Road, Totnes

Summary

Site of a leper hospital founded by Totnes Priory in the 12th century. It was apparently not suppressed at the dissolution. It is recorded as being used as a soldiers billet in 1643, during the Civil War. Reference to repairs circa 1670 indicate that the chapel, a dwelling house and a cistern in the orchard were still standing. The chapel was used as a bell foundry in 1679-80. All but the chapel were demolished by 1719. Only part of the side wall of the chapel survives today.

Location

Grid Reference:SX 801 600
Map Sheet:SX86SW
Admin AreaDevon
Civil ParishTotnes
DistrictSouth Hams
Ecclesiastical ParishTOTNES

Protected Status: none recorded

Other References/Statuses

  • Old DCC SMR Ref: SX86SW/31

Monument Type(s) and Dates

  • LEPER HOSPITAL (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD (Between))

Full description

Oliver, G., 1846, Monasticon Diocesis Exoniensis, 240 (Monograph). SDV57424.

Reference in Leland, and Bishop Lacey's Register January 24 1437.

Ordnance Survey, 1855-1895, First Edition 1:500 Town Map (Cartographic). SDV338879.

'Maudlyn Hospital & St Mary Magdalene's Chapel (Remains of)' is marked on the Ordnance Survey Town map of 1855-1895.

Windeatt, E., 1876, Private Paper in possession of Mr G. Windeatt, Town Clerk of the Totnes Council (Un-published). SDV168931.

The only religious house in Totnes not suppressed, and used as a sort of almshouse up to the early 18th century.

Windeatt, E., 1880, An Historical Sketch of Totnes, 166-167 (Article in Serial). SDV168929.

The leper hospital of St Mary Magdalene. This building stood near Leechwell. The site is now occupied by two ruined cottages, but a part of an arch of the old building, which included a chapel, can still be traced. Date of foundation unknown but mentioned in a document of 1384. Orchard adjoining the cottages is called Maudlin Orchard.

Windeatt, E., 1880, Some Religious Houses of Totnes, 459-463 (Article in Serial). SDV168930.

Brushfield, T. N., 1892, The Church of All Saints, East Budleigh. Part 2, 290 (Article in Serial). SDV15399.

The Maudlyn Chapel was used for the casting of bells in 1679-80.

Windeatt, E., 1900, Totnes: Its Mayors and Mayoralities, 1627-1676, 127 (Article in Serial). SDV168934.

Soldiers were billeted at the Maudlin Leper House in 1643.

Ordnance Survey, 1904 - 1906, Second Edition Ordnance Survey 25 inch Map (Cartographic). SDV325644.

'Maudlyn Hospital & St Mary Magdalene's Chapel (Remains of)' is marked on the Second Edition Ordnance Survey map of 1904-1906. Map object is based on this source.

Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division, 1951, SX86SW35 (Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division Card). SDV168932.

The cottages said to contain fragments of this ancient building were pulled down a good many years ago.

Knowles, D. + Hadcock, R. N., 1971, Medieval Religious Houses: England and Wales, 335, 399 (Monograph). SDV323253.

Oswald, N. C., 1982, A Review of Medical Care in the South Hams over the Centuries, 39 (Article in Serial). SDV145713.

Pye, A. R. + Stead, A. J. + Juddery, J. Z., 1991, An Archaeological Assessment and Evaluation of the Totnes Southern Area Access Road, 2 (Report - Assessment). SDV340797.

Little documentation survives for the hospital's early centuries. The 1822 Charity Commissioners report into Totnes charities stated that Magdalen lands "appear to have formerly belonged to an hospital for leprous persons at Totnes ... We have not found any document to shew at what time or under what circumstances this trust came into the hads of the Corporation of Totnes." Although one account refers to the buildings falling out of use around 1660 and becoming ruinous, documentation from around 1670 refers to repairs to the hospital, including the chapel, dwelling house and a cistern in the orchard.
The 1842 Tithe Map shows a linear building on the Magdalen site, although not referred to in the apportionment.

Humphreys, C., 2005, The Southern Development Area, Totnes, Devon: Results of an Archaeological Assessment (Report - Assessment). SDV363462.

The Maudlyn (or Magdalene) Hospital was set up prior to 1351 to house 11 lepers and sick people. The hospital was presumably named after the nearby St Mary Magdelen’s Chapel. Mention of lepers dates to the late 12th century in a document from Totnes Priory (Watkin 1914, 100) which mentions leper brethren and Leper’s Moor. This suggests that by the end of the 12th century provision was being made for the lepers of Totnes. With the decline of leprosy in Europe, the hospital fell out of use and by the late 17th century the buildings were ruinous (Russel 1963, 26).The last remnants of the hospital were still extant in 1888.

Roffey, S., 2012, Medieval Leper Hospitals in England; An Archaeological Perspective, 203 – 233 (Article in Serial). SDV361540.

Prendergast, S., 2013, A Guided Walk of the Leechwell Area (Leaflet). SDV363461.

Leper Hospital founded by Totnes Priory circa 1200 which stood adjacent to Leechwell Garden. The hospital was was abandoned and much of it was demolished by 1719.

Prendergast, S., 2019, An Overview of Information about the Leechwell and the Leechwell Area of Totnes (Un-published). SDV363459.

Deeds indicate that the Maudlin Leper Hospital was founded in the late 12th century. The site subsequently passed into ownership of the town and was sold in 1719. Two of the three buildings then on the site were demolished, the chapel remaining standing for a while longer. Today part of the side wall of the chapel remains in Maudlin Road. It has been suggested that was is now Leechwell Gardens may have once been part of the hospital grounds or have belonged to another chapel in Totnes.

Sources / Further Reading

SDV145713Article in Serial: Oswald, N. C.. 1982. A Review of Medical Care in the South Hams over the Centuries. Transactions of the Devonshire Association. 114. Paperback Volume. 39.
SDV15399Article in Serial: Brushfield, T. N.. 1892. The Church of All Saints, East Budleigh. Part 2. Transactions of the Devonshire Association. 24. Unknown. 290.
SDV168929Article in Serial: Windeatt, E.. 1880. An Historical Sketch of Totnes. Transactions of the Devonshire Association. 12. Hardback Volume. 166-167.
SDV168930Article in Serial: Windeatt, E.. 1880. Some Religious Houses of Totnes. Transactions of the Devonshire Association. 12. Unknown. 459-463.
SDV168931Un-published: Windeatt, E.. 1876. Private Paper in possession of Mr G. Windeatt, Town Clerk of the Totnes Council. Unknown.
SDV168932Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division Card: Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division. 1951. SX86SW35. Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division Card. Card Index.
SDV168934Article in Serial: Windeatt, E.. 1900. Totnes: Its Mayors and Mayoralities, 1627-1676. Transactions of the Devonshire Association. 32. Unknown. 127.
SDV323253Monograph: Knowles, D. + Hadcock, R. N.. 1971. Medieval Religious Houses: England and Wales. Medieval Religious Houses: England and Wales. Unknown + Digital (part). 335, 399.
SDV325644Cartographic: Ordnance Survey. 1904 - 1906. Second Edition Ordnance Survey 25 inch Map. Second Edition Ordnance Survey 25 inch Map. Map (Digital).
SDV338879Cartographic: Ordnance Survey. 1855-1895. First Edition 1:500 Town Map. First Edition 1:500 Town Map. Map (Digital).
SDV340797Report - Assessment: Pye, A. R. + Stead, A. J. + Juddery, J. Z.. 1991. An Archaeological Assessment and Evaluation of the Totnes Southern Area Access Road. Exeter Museums Archaeological Field Unit Report. 91.23. A4 Stapled + Digital. 2.
SDV361540Article in Serial: Roffey, S.. 2012. Medieval Leper Hospitals in England; An Archaeological Perspective. Medieval Archaeology. 56. papa. 203 – 233.
SDV363459Un-published: Prendergast, S.. 2019. An Overview of Information about the Leechwell and the Leechwell Area of Totnes. An Overview of Information about the Leechwell and the Leechwell Area of Totnes. A4 Comb Bound.
SDV363461Leaflet: Prendergast, S.. 2013. A Guided Walk of the Leechwell Area. Leaflet + Digital.
SDV57424Monograph: Oliver, G.. 1846. Monasticon Diocesis Exoniensis. Monasticon Diocesis Exoniensis. Unknown. 240.

Associated Monuments

MDV71623Related to: Leechwell Immersion Pool, Totnes (Monument)
MDV9058Related to: The Leechwell, Totnes (Monument)

Associated Finds: none recorded

Associated Events

  • EDV235 - Unnamed Event
  • EDV4399 - Assessment of Immersion Bath in Leechwell Gardens, Totnes
  • EDV8220 - Archaeological Assessment: The Southern Development Area, Totnes (Ref: 050712)

Date Last Edited:Jan 15 2020 11:50AM