Categories of Special Interest
Architectural Artistic Archaeological Historical Social
Fever Hospital of Saint John
In Use As
1780 - 1996
Attached multiple-bay three-storey over basement hospital building, built after 1787, facing north abutting the remains of the town walls to the rear and incorporating the medieval citadel which is attached to the west. Two multiple-bay three-storey twentieth-century blocks attached to either end of the front elevation. Pitched artificial slate roof with cast-iron rainwater goods and two rendered chimneystacks with stringcourses and stepped cappings. A lean-to single-storey corridor section to the front has an artificial slate roof behind a crenellated parapet, having stone coping and cast-iron rainwater goods. Squared and snecked random limestone walls. Square-headed window openings to main section with moulded surrounds splayed sills and aluminium windows. Ashlar limestone surrounds to corridor section with canted limestone sills and aluminium windows with a limestone dripstone course over the three centre bays. The elevated site is enclosed by high rubble stone walls and high steel railings to south, c. 1950 with two pairs of gates. Further west is an arched opening with rusticated render walls, a keystone and frieze above with raised lettering reading: 'Saint John's Hospital'. Surmounted by a broken topped rendered scrolled pediment with a central pedestal having raised date: 1780. Decorative steep gates, c. 1950, and limestone gate stop, with limestone setts beneath. Possible former gate lodge with pedimented limestone doorcase, now in use as a goods store. Medieval wall with arched opening of former citadel encloses a forecourt.
The Fever Hospital of Saint John was established by Lady Hartstonge in 1781, having acquired the old Saint John's Barracks site. Plain and rather austere limestone hospital building given a bland smooth rendered finish with the Neo-Gothic lean-to corridor to the north elevation providing the only visual decoration. Twentieth-century blocks of the most grim functional kind, do little to enhance the character of the original hospital building, much of which they obscure. The location adjacent to the town walls, and the integration of the medieval town walls and citadel gives huge significance to this site. The citadel dates between 1590-1650. A plaque reads: 'The hospital was founded in 1780 by Lady Lucy Hartstonge who at her own expense fitted out the old Guard House of the Citadel to cater for patients. The little Company of Mary, founded by Mary Potter in 1877, began its association with the hospital in 1888. Since then the Little Company of Mary Sisters have tended the sick with 'maternal care'. These two sections of the original stone walls have been exposed to mark the hospital's origins and history. December 1996.'