Holy Jesus Hospital

Holy Jesus Hospital displays features from all periods of its 700 year existence. There are remains of the late 13th Century Augustinian friary, 16th Century fortifications connected with the Council of the North, a 17th Century almshouse built for the Freemen of the City and a 19th Century soup kitchen.

The Holy Jesus Hospital was built in 1681 by public subscription to house retired Freemen, their widows or unmarried sons or daughters. The hospital was commonly known by local people as the 'Freeman's Hospital' and the 'Town's Hospital' but on the 26th of March 1684 the building was incorporated by the name of the master, brethren, and sisters of the Hospital of the holy Jesus. The building itself was constructed using brick construction which was then a relatively new method (brick was usually used as an infill for timber-framed buildings). Indeed the structure is one of only two 17th century brick buildings in Newcastle-Upon Tyne, the other being nearby Alderman Fenwick’s House in Pilgrim Street. To be allocated a room one had to meet the committee’s criteria and once were admitted one had to abide by the master’s rules.

It remained in use until 1937 when the new Hospital was built at Spital Towers. Strict rules governmed the ‘inmates’ including being locked in their rooms at 9pm and having their doors unlocked again at 6am. There were no children allowed and the inmates were instructed to attend church each week and take the sacrament. Each year the residents would have been given a free suit of clothing, a measure of coal and if the charity allowed it some pocket money (Alms). The first master of the house was a man named Thomas Lewen, a merchant by trade. The master's seal had a cross engraved on it and bore the words "Sigillum Hospitalis Sancti Jesu in Novo Castro." The original allowance for the inmates of the hospital was 20 shillings per 'quarterly' while the master would get 30 shillings.

On January 2, 1752, the council decreed that forty 'fothers' of coal be given to the hospital annually and, on December 18, 1769, the master was required to be paid £8, and each inmate sister £6 per annum. By the early 19th century this allowance had increased to £13 for each inmate per annum, for fothers of 'best Benwell' coals as well as providing clothing. In addition to this the inmates were required to see the Mayor at the Guildhall once each quarter where grievances would be heard. The inmates could also receive money from charities and this was often called escutcheon money.

In 1937 the institution moved to Spital Tongues because the building was declared unfit. Thanks to a bequest from John George Joicey in 1968, the building became a local history museum. The museum closed in 1995.

The hospital building is three storeys high with an open arcade of brick arches on square pillars at ground floor level. It is one of only two complete 17th century brick buildings to survive in Newcastle (the other is Alderman Fenwick's House). Inside is a oak staircase which originally had figures carved onto the handrail. There is an inscription on front of building which translated says: "Hospital erected at the expense of the Citizens and Burgesses of Newcastle upon Tyne in the year of Salvation 1682. Timothy Robson, Mayor. John Squire, Sheriff. Now therefore abideth these three Faith, Hope and Charity, but the greatest of these is Charity."

In front of the entrance is a large ornamented fountain. The left gable was partly renewed when a soup kitchen was added at the rear in 1880.

Description courtesy of Wikipedia and Sitelines.

8th May 2022

2nd January 2022

Holy Jesus Hospital, pant.

Fountain. Late C17. Sandstone ashlar. Octagonal. Cyma-moulded plinth to high arcaded pedestal, with impost string, supporting wide fountain with rounded coping on modillioned cornice.

Grade 2 Listed. Source: Sitelines.

Soup Kitchen.

4th October 2021

13th September 2008

29th March 2006

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this too will pass said...

Great site; keep up the good work

Newcastle Photos said...

Thanks :)

Joanne Casey said...

Sounds like something out of Father ted. C'mon Missus Doyle let's go to the Holy Jesus! hospital.

Anonymous said...

As a child I remember a school trip from Archibald st first school. Around 1976. I can still see the exhibits in my memories. We had a great time.