The Lord Leycester Hospital is a historic group of medieval timber-framed buildings on Warwick High Street dating mainly from the late 14th Century. Of historic significance, they represent one of the finest examples in Britain of medieval courtyard architecture. Clustered round the Norman gateway into the town, the 12th Century Chantry Chapel sits above it. For nearly 200 years this site was home to Warwick’s medieval Guilds.
In the reign of Queen Elizabeth I the buildings became, under the patronage of Robert Dudley, Earl of Leicester, a place of retirement for old warriors who had fought in the Elizabethan era wars. These soldiers are known to this day as the Brethren and with the Master, still live within the walls of the building. Master and Brethren are a living legacy of almost 450 years of history. Every morning they meet in the Chapel and pray together the words written by their founder Robert Dudley. You can often see the Brethren in ceremonial uniform as they give tours through the buildings and gardens. These extraordinary medieval buildings with their living legacy, are open to visitors and can be hired for civil ceremonies, dinners, parties and other events.
The beautiful, tranquil Master’s Garden, open all year, features a Victorian pineapple pit, a 2,000 year old “nilometer” used in ancient Egypt to measure the height of the Nile and a small thatched summer house favoured by Nathaniel Hawthorne. Adjacent to it is the Knot Garden with its design and symbolism echoing Tudor times. The Masters Garden is set out as a Victorian Garden but pass under the Norman Arch and you step into a 500 year old produce garden that grows fruit, vegetables and herbs for the Brethren’s Kitchen.
Visit Warwick’s medieval gem! The Hospital is one of the finest examples in Britain of medieval courtyard architecture.