History of St Bartholomew's f.1r
Medium: Ink and pigments on vellum
One of the oldest churches in London, St Bartholomew's church and priory of Augustinian canons were founded by Rahere in 1123 in West Smithfield. Following the order's tradition of giving hospitality to travellers and tending the sick, the brothers of St Bartholomew's provided an important hospital in medieval London. This manuscript contains a collection of documents, in Latin and Middle English, on its foundation and history.
The manuscript's first page introduces the story of Rahere's foundation of the church and priory and the beginning of the hospital. The manuscript's 17th-century owner, Thomas Cotton, signed his name in the lower margin. The priory had been dissolved under Henry VIII (16th century), but the king made a special decree to maintain the hospital because it still provided important medical services. It was his last official act before his death.