Lord Leycester Hospital
60 High Street
Warwickshire CV34 4BH
This is Warwick’s finest group of Medieval and Tudor structures and is a ‘must visit’ for lovers of beautiful period buildings. The toffee coloured, half-timbered exterior beckons the visitor inside to view the equally striking interior.
Many visitors will recognise the Lord Leycester Hospital as it has been used in a number of television productions including 'Pride and Prejudice', 'Tom Jones', 'Moll Flanders' and even the Doctor Who episode, 'The Shakespeare Code'.
In the latter half of the 14th century, Thomas Beauchamp, 12th Earl of Warwick, built the Chantry Chapel of St James over the West Gate entrance through the Warwick town walls. In 1383, The Guild of St George was created under license from King Richard II, and Thomas Beauchamp then granted the benefice from the Chantry Chapel to the Guild.
The Warwick Guilds
Sometime between 1386 and 1413, the Guild of the Blessed Virgin based at The Collegiate Church of St Mary joined the Guild of St George at the West Gate. The combined Guilds became known as the United Guilds of Warwick. To accommodate the resident priests and the guilds, reception, meeting, dining halls and living quarters were needed and the medieval buildings were the result.
In 1546 the United Guilds managed to keep their property when they were dissolved by King Henry VIII, through a canny move by their Master, Thomas Oken, who transferred the property to the Burgesses of Warwick.
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Retirement home for aged soldiers known as a 'Hospital'
In 1571, Robert Dudley, Earl of Leycester [Leicester] acquired the buildings and founded a retirement home for aged and injured soldiers who served Queen Elizabeth 1. These retirement institutions were referred to as ‘hospitals’.
The Hospital has continued through to the middle of the last century in much the same form, still caring for ex-servicemen and their wives. In the early 1960s the buildings were restored and the quarters modernised. The ‘modernised’ quarters again house 8 ex-service personnel and their partners.
This beautiful building and the tiny Master’s Garden hidden behind it are open to the public and well worth visiting. The fine Queen's Own Hussars Museum is located in the Lord Leycester Hospital.
There is impaired mobility access to all courtyard areas including the toilets. However there is limited access to the Chapel and upper floors of the building because of the age of the building.
The Master’s Garden
Behind the Lord Leycester Hospital complex is The Master’s Garden – a wonderful recreation of an Elizabethan garden with a thatched summerhouse and knot garden. It occupies the site of the original medieval Guild Garden.
This enjoyable garden is a picture all summer with its roses, herbaceous borders and fruitful kitchen garden.
The garden is open from Easter to end of September.
Plan your Visit
Opening Hours & Admission Costs
Tuesdays to Sunday
Summer 10:00 to 17:00; Winter 10:00 to 16:00
Closed Good Friday and Christmas Day
The Hospital is now a self-supporting charity relying largely on income from visitors.
Admission details and costs go to Web: Lord Leycester Hospital/ Admission Info
Contact & Further Information
+44 (0)1926 491 422
Google Maps - Lord Leycester Hospital