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Masters House at Sherburn Hospital

This eastern view of the Master’s House at Sherburn hospital shows its triple-gabled elevation, refashioned in the 18th century with sash windows. A less altered medieval building survives to the left. The east end of the chapel can be seen on the right. The Master's House was replaced in 1832. Other buildings still standing today include a medieval gatehouse and a lodgings range built around 1760. All are dominated by the main hospital building, raised in 1868 in the oppressive style dubbed ‘Institutional Gothic’ by Nikolaus Pevsner.

"The Hospital - Sherburn House, 'House of Mercy', stands in a secluded and picturesque valley on the road from Durham to Castle Eden, two and a half miles east from the city. This is another monument to the great "builder," Bishop Pudsey, who founded the hospital for the recuperation of lepers of both sexes, about the year 1181-84. He dedicated the institution "to Christ, the Blessed Virgin Mary, Lazarus, and his sisters, Martha and Mary.
"The ancient hospital was of much the same form as the present one, having on two sides a range of low houses for the males, and on the third side a similar row of houses for females. There was a chapel dedicated to God, Mary Magdalene, and St. Nicholas, which was served by three priests, and a "perpetual lamp burned before the High Altar of the Presence in the Greater Chapel." The number for which the hospital was founded was 65, which shows that in those remote days this comparatively thinly populated diocese disease was to a serious degree infected with that terrible disease, which during the twelfth century became so virulent in the country."

Extract from 'History, Topography and Directory of Durham', 1894.

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