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Haunts of Ancient Peace page 2


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From a lowly wicket gate a diagonal path across an upward slope of greensward leads unpretentiously to the entrance of Sackville College, East Grinstead, on the borders of Surrey and Kent, founded in 1609 by the second Earl of Dorset. The first building to be visited is the chapel, high up on the right wall of which may be seen a small quatrefoil window into what used to be the infirmary, a very usual device for enabling the sick to attend divine service. The delicately carved rood screen bears the inscription, "I pray God bless my Lord of Dorset and my Ladie and all their posteritie. Ano.Do. 1619." Within its sanctuary is the Warden's seat, the honour of sitting next to him being the privilege of the "oldest inhabitant."

Within the quadrangle and facing the main entrance is the wing called "Ye Dorset Lodgings," over the doorway of which are the Dorset family arms and device, "Aut nunquam tentes, aut perfice" - "Either never try or else make perfect" - a most suitable motto for so perfect an example of seventeenth century almshouses. The hall, with its musicians' gallery, is embellished with rare specimens of carving and furniture in old black oak, and on the right wall two mortuary swords commemorating the execution of Charles I may be seen. They have basket handles, and the guards are engraved with the portrait of the martyr-king and various heraldic devices.

For our last example of English almshouses we will go east to flat and fenny Lincolnshire, and visit Lyddington, where Jesus Hospital began life as a palace for the Bishops of Lincoln in 1320. Over a century later Bishop John Russell erected the buildings which, later still, in the seventeenth century, were transformed into a bedehouse by Thomas, second Baron Burghley. The original foundation provided shelter for two poor women and twelve poor men, but now it harbours only three old women.

The place is interesting externally by reason of its unusual facings of red brick and light stonework, its Tudor windows, and the little octagonal watch tower at the end of the garden, probably once embattled and bearing the "roselle" of the Russells, but now merely a gazebo or summer-house.

Within the house a narrow stone stair leads to the old Bishop's dining hall, a long apartment lighted by fine Gothic windows. The flat oak ceiling is arranged in panels, and the traceried cornice most delicately carved. On one wall is an illuminated panel giving a list of the Bishops of Lincoln from the first Bishop Remegius, 1072. The furniture includes an old trestle table and forms and a venerable lectern on which rests the Lyddington Hospital Bible. The fourteenth century church is furnished with the ancient device of acoustic jars, placed high up in the chancel walls.

From these typical examples of famous English almshouses it will be seen that they are among the most picturesque of old buildings surviving to-day.

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Pictures for Haunts of Ancient Peace page 2

S. MARY'S HOSPITAL, CHICHESTER
S. MARY'S HOSPITAL, CHICHESTER >>>>
FOURTEENTH CENTURY HOSPITAL AT WARWICK
FOURTEENTH CENTURY HOSPITAL AT WARWICK >>>>
GATEWAY OF LEYCESTER'S HOSPITAL UNDER THE BADGE OF THE BEAR AND RAGGED STAFF
GATEWAY OF LEYCESTER'S HOSPITAL UNDER THE BADGE OF THE BEAR AND RAGGED STAFF >>>>
PORCH OF THE CHRIST'S HOSPITAL AT ABINGDON
PORCH OF THE CHRIST'S HOSPITAL AT ABINGDON >>>>
MORETON HAMPSTEAD'S ALMSHOUSE AND THE WHITGIFT HOSPITAL, CROYDON
MORETON HAMPSTEAD'S ALMSHOUSE AND THE WHITGIFT HOSPITAL, CROYDON >>>>
ALMSHOUSE OF THE WATERMEN'S COMPANY AT PENGE: WOTTON-UNDER-EDGE
ALMSHOUSE OF THE WATERMEN'S COMPANY AT PENGE: WOTTON-UNDER-EDGE >>>>
JACOBEAN QUADRANGLE OF THE HOSPITAL OF THE HOLY TRINITY AT GUILDFORD
JACOBEAN QUADRANGLE OF THE HOSPITAL OF THE HOLY TRINITY AT GUILDFORD >>>>
AT S. CROSS, ONE OF ENGLAND'S FINEST ALMSHOUSES, AND CHADDESLEY CORBETT
AT S. CROSS, ONE OF ENGLAND'S FINEST ALMSHOUSES, AND CHADDESLEY CORBETT >>>>
BROTHERS' DINING HALL AT S. CROSS, WINCHESTER
BROTHERS' DINING HALL AT S. CROSS, WINCHESTER >>>>

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