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Identity Statement

Reference code(s): GB 0074 BRA/846
Held at: London Metropolitan Archives
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Date(s): 1558-1639
Level of description: Collection
Extent: 0.15 linear metres (5 production units).
Name of creator(s): Various.


Administrative/Biographical history:

In 1293 Edmund, Earl of Lancaster and brother of King Edward I, constructed the Savoy Palace on land formerly belonging to the Count of Savoy. The palace was rebuilt at great expense by Henry, 1st Duke of Lancaster, between 1345 and 1370; after which it was said to be the finest house in England. In 1381 the palace was attacked during the Peasant's Revolt; the rioters started a bonfire of the Duke's possessions and mistakenly threw a box of gunpowder onto the flames, thus destroying much of the Great Hall.

In 1505 Henry VII ordered the palace to be rebuilt and used as a hospital for the poor. The hospital held 100 beds and included three chapels, a large precinct and outbuildings. It was dedicated to Saint John the Baptist and a statue of him was positioned over the Stand gate. In 1570 complaints were made that Thomas Thurland, Master of the Hospital, used hospital money to maintain his relatives, rarely went to church, had sexual relations with hospital staff, and owed the hospital 2,500. The hospital never recovered from this mismanagement.

Houses in the hospital precinct were fashionable addresses for noblemen and highly ranked clergy. However, by the later 17th century these houses were occupied by businessmen, while the hospital was used for wounded servicemen, and barracks and a military prison were constructed. Some of the chapels and halls were converted for use by non-conformist religious groups such as French Protestants, Lutherans, Quakers and Calvinists.

The hospital was formally dissolved in 1702. In 1772, with most of the buildings in ruins, a dispute over ownership of the land was settled: the Crown took possession of the central part of the precinct, while the Duchy of Lancaster took the outer part and the Savoy chapel. The site was cleared in 1816-20 for the Waterloo Bridge approach road, Savoy Street and Lancaster Place. In 1864-70 Victoria Embankment and Gardens were made. The only remaining part of the hospital is the Savoy Chapel. The site is now occupied by the Savoy Hotel, the Savoy Theatre, Victoria Embankment and Gardens, and part of Somerset House.

Information from The London Encyclopaedia, eds. Weinreb and Hibbert (LMA Library Reference 67.2 WEI).


Scope and content/abstract:

Records of the Hospital of the Savoy, comprising grant of lands, bargain and sales, grant of annuity, and lease.

Access & Use

Language/scripts of material:

System of arrangement:

Records arranged in chronological order.

Conditions governing access:

Available for general access.

Conditions governing reproduction:

Copyright to this collection rests with the City of London.

Finding aids:

Please see online catalogues at:

Archival Information

Archival history:

Immediate source of acquisition:

Records deposited by the British Records Association in 1952.

Allied Materials

Related material:

Further records relating to the Savoy Hospital can be found at the Duchy of Lancaster Office and at the Wellcome Library.

Publication note:

Description Notes

Archivist's note:

Rules or conventions:
Compiled in compliance with General International Standard Archival Description, ISAD(G), second edition, 2000; National Council on Archives Rules for the Construction of Personal, Place and Corporate Names, 1997.

Date(s) of descriptions:
Records prepared May to September 2011.

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