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Anne Middleton's Hospital
Anne Middleton's Hospital was constructed in 1827–9 as an almshouse to provide sheltered accomodation for the widows of up to 20 freemen of the city of York.
The building (which is listed Grade II*) was restored in 1973 and it now forms part of a hotel complex.
The 17th century hospital
The current building replaced an earlier structure on the same site and this is described in fascinating detail by Francis Drake:
There is an hospital erected on the west side this street, of the foundation of Mrs. Anne Middleton, relict of Peter Middleton gent, who was one of the sheriffs of this city, anno 1618. It was built and endowed anno 1659, for the maintenance and lodging of twenty poor widows of freemen, each widow to have four pounds per annum, the disposition and nomination of whom was left to the mayor, aldermen, and commonality of the city. For the erecting and endowment of this hospital the said Anne Middleton gave by her will two thousand pound; but some considerable part being lost in ill hands, the widows are now reduced to three pound per annum each; which is all they receive at present. The hospital is a square brick building round an inner court, the rooms or cells are all on the ground floor, the doors of which, number one to twenty, open all into one passage. Over the front door is placed the effigies, in stone, of the foundress, with an inscription on each side, giving an account of this and other her charitable gifts; but lately under an appearance of cleaning it the letters are most of them filled up with lime, and the inscription illegible. On the back of this hospital is a square garden, where every widow has a proportion allowed for her particular use.
Source: Drake, Francis "Eboracum: or the History and Antiquities of the City of York”, printed by William Bowyer (London, 1736).
The carved, white-painted figure of a lady in the niche above the front door is worthy of special note. It is believed to depict the foundress (Ann Middleton) wearing Puritan style clothing. It is almost certainly the same statue that Drake described as being sited above the doorway of the 17th century building.
The inscription on the datestone above the statue reads:
WAS BUILT AT THE
EXPENSE OF THE CORPORATION
OF YORK ANNO DOM 1829
THE RIGHT HONble JOHN DALES
WILLm HOTHAM ESQr. }
GEO PEACOCK ESQr. } WARDENS
ISAAC SPENCER ESQr }