Hospital of St John the Baptist, High Wycombe

Hospital Of St John The Baptist, High Wycombe

Hospital of St John the Baptist, High Wycombe

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The Hospital of St John the Baptist was a hospital in High Wycombe in Buckinghamshire, England between 1180 and 1548. It was situated on the main road that ran from Oxford to London (what is now the A40) east of the town centre.

The Hospital

In the 12th century hospitals were used as almshouses for the poor or infirm. Founded by the church, the Hospital of St John the Baptist was run by a Master (normally a monk or other religious figure) and a small community of brothers and sisters (other members of the church) who cared for the people who came to them for help. Three further beds at the hospital were also set aside for other poor or infirm people who were passing through on the road either to London or to Oxford.

The earliest known Master was Brother Gilbert who, in 1236, wrote to Pope Gregory IX in Rome asking for permission to establish a chapel dedicated to St John the Baptist at the hospital. This permission was granted by Papal decree in 1239 and the chapel built shortly after. It is not known whether the hospital took on the name of St John the Baptist at this time, or whether it had already received that dedication.

The hospital continued to run until the Dissolution of the Monasteries in the mid 16th century when all property belonging to the Catholic church was seized by King Henry VIII. Officially the property of the King from that point in history, the hospital struggled to survive and eventually closed in 1548. The last recorded Master was Charles Chalfont,...
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