Monument record BSE 013 - St Saviour's Hospital, Fornham Road, (Medieval with Mesolithic-Post Medieval)

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St Saviour's Hospital - Scheduled Monument - Almshouse/ hospital founded circa 1186, dissolved November 1539.


Grid reference Centred TL 853 652 (55m by 72m)
Map sheet TL86NE


Type and Period (23)

Full Description

St Saviour Hospital & precinct. Almshouse/ hospital founded circa 1186, dissolved November 1539. Dependency of Abbey. W end of range surviving (known as a gatehouse).
Flint building stone dressings of C15th date. All that remains is a flint wall with a blocked door and window and a short stretch of the side walls. A tablet on the building says that "Humphrey Plantagnet, Duke of Gloucester, son of Henry VI Lord Protector of the Realm died within the Hospital of St Saviour's 23 February 1447" (S1).

A skull found in Fornham Road, opposite the front wall of the Hospital and thought by Edwardson to be that of a patient at St Saviour's Hospital (R4).

For details of Henry Prigg's 1887 excavations see (S4)(R5)(R6).

1989-1994: Excavations on the site of the Medieval hospital of St Saviour's in advance of redevelopment by Tesco Stores Ltd. The western fa├žade of a flint and mortar structure fronts onto Fornham Road and excavation in 1887 had demonstrated that the footings for the remainder of the building survived underground. The 1989-90 excavation revealed that all these footings survived largely intact, although the SW corner of the excavated building had been destroyed. The building was identified as a chapel, with two phases of structure. There were six burials found within the building, including a priest in the early phase. The footings for an alter and reredos were found in the east end of the later phase. A possible stairway and additional building footings were found on the north side of the north wall. An entrance was idenitifed in the north wall, south was was too damaged, no visible entrance betwene the two cells of the building was seen implying that they were not connected. The edge of a large fishpond was located east of the chapel.The east bank of the pond showed evidence for three man-made revetments suggesting that it was the natural flood plain edge which was successively reinforced by an interwoven wattled edge, which survived the waterlogged conditions. In front of this was a considerable deposit of 13th/14th century and some 15th century occupation debris, including some pottery and fragments of leather. Three possible ancillary buildings were identified, the earliest a possible stone built street fronting structure with a wooden lean-to at the back and a probable bake house or bre house, both south of the chapel. The third building lay north of the chapel over the extreme western edge of the fish pond. These three buildings were probably not contemporary. Gravel extraction pits were also seen, probably associated with the construction work both before and during the life of the hospital.

During the excavations, three re-deposited Rom coins, a dupondius of Faustina II (AD 161-175), an illegible irregular radiate of late C3 and an illegible Constantinian (?) coin of C4 were recovered. Also six (redeposited?) prehistoric sherds. Also three flakes and five blades, including one with an oblique truncation (Mes?). Three sherds ESax/MSax, two sherds sandy Ipswich ware excavated frm redeposited contexts on principally Med hospital site. Also 44 sherds LSax Ipswich type Thetford ware and 12 sherds Thetford ware, mostly redeposited. Also, relatively small amounts of post dissolution PMed, mainly C16, material (S4)(S6)(S7)(S9).

1991: Monument which faces road is maintained. All fallen except for very small part (S6).

1997: Recording of the standing remains of the chapel prior to conservation. The west wall exterior faces survives the most intact with a central two centred arched doorway and the lower half of a large window above; both are blocked with regular large rounded flints similar to the latest concrete and flint phase. The interior face of the west wall seems to have been almost entirely repaired and refaced. The doorway and window have flint and brick infill. Thress open and one filled putlock hole were present in the wall. The south wall interior looks to have been refaced, a single putlock hole and three phases of repair are visible. The south wall exterior has been extensively damaged in the 20th century by the attachment of a drain pipe and a crescent shaped railing. The North wall interior seems to be made up of a single phase of repair which convers the middle and the edge of the wall. Two wall stubs can be seen extending out from the north wall exterior, in the centre of the wall is a blocked opening. The majority of repairs to the remains of the chapel are 19th-20th century (S5)(S8).

Sources/Archives (16)

  • <R1> Index: OS. OS Card. OS, card TL86NE2.
  • <M1> Unpublished document: Basil Brown. Basil Brown Archive. Basil Brown archive: card index.
  • <S1> Unpublished document: DOE scheduling information.
  • <R2> (No record type): Knowles, D. & Hadcock, R.N.. 1953. Medieval Religious Houses: England and Wales (1st ed). Knowles & Hadcock, Med Religious Houses, 1951. 260.
  • <S2> (No record type): Suff Pres Soc (Edwards Paul), Table of Results, 1991.
  • <R3> Bibliographic reference: Pevsner N & Radcliffe E. 1974. The Buildings of England: Suffolk. Pevsner, 1961, 136.
  • <S3> Unpublished document: Anderson, S.. 1996. Archaeological Report: The Medieval Hospitals of Bury St. Edmunds.
  • <S4> Unpublished document: Caruth, J. and Anderson, S.. 1997. A Report on the Archaeological Excavations, 1989-1994, St. Saviour's Hospital, Bury St Edmunds.
  • <R4> Unpublished document: Basil Brown. Basil Brown Archive. Brown B, card index 84 (cutting Bury Free Press, 1/3/1963).
  • <R5> (No record type): Bury & Norwich Post, 7 July 1891.
  • <S5> Unpublished document: Suffolk County Council Archaeological Service. 1997. Archaeological Report: St. Saviours Hospital Recording of standing walls SAM Suffolk No. 26.
  • <R6> (No record type): Burdon E R, PSIA, 1927.
  • <S6> Article in serial: Suffolk Institute of Archaeology and History. Proceedings of the Suffolk Institute of Archaeology and History. PSIAH 37(3) 1991 p266.
  • <S7> Article in serial: Suffolk Institute of Archaeology and History. Proceedings of the Suffolk Institute of Archaeology and History. PSIAH 37 (2) 1990 pp. 158-9.
  • <S8> Article in serial: Suffolk Institute of Archaeology and History. Proceedings of the Suffolk Institute of Archaeology and History. PSIAH 39 (1) 1996 P.89.
  • <S9> Article in serial: Suffolk Institute of Archaeology and History. Proceedings of the Suffolk Institute of Archaeology and History. PSIAH, 38 (3), 1995, p.350.

Finds (69)

Protected Status/Designation

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Record last edited

Aug 18 2022 2:03PM

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