Click here to skip to content

Sherburn Hospital, chapel f.70

Sherburn Hospital was founded to the east of Durham city by Bishop Hugh le Puiset in 1181. The hospital housed sixty-five lepers, both men and women. By the 15th century, leprosy – as term then used to cover a number of skin diseases – was clearly becoming more rare: a constitution of 1434 refers to the care of only two lepers “if they can be found” in addition to thirteen poor men.

The institution has survived a long and chequered history, characteristic of such ancient establishments, including periods of mismanagement and the fortuitous loss of legal documents. This south-west view shows the medieval Master’s House, an embattled tower-like block that survived until 1832 when it was replaced by the present plain Georgian-style building. On the left is the chapel. The chapel, dating back to the 12th century, had a troubled time during the 19th century. A north aisle was added as part of its refurbishment in 1836. Less than a year later, the master banked up the fire on a Saturday night to warm the chapel for the service next morning. A heating flue became blocked and the wooden panelling caught fire in the early hours. The building was gutted and five years passed before repairs could be carried out.

Elsewhere on our websites


Latest events - register free online

Mobile app

For iPhone, iPad and Android

Report a Concern

What is the nature of your concern?

Report a Concern

What is the nature of your concern?

Email link to a friend

Write a brief note to accompany the email

Your friend's email address: