Written by local historian Tony Gale to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the restoration of the building. “It’s a remarkable story in many ways,” says Tony. “Local people may be surprised to learn how many records exist and what they reveal about the early history of the chapel and hospital.”
Tony explains that the term, “hospital” needs some explanation. “In mediaeval times, religious orders used the word to describe a foundation which might provide medical treatment, hospitality or what we would now call a hostel for travellers and pilgrims – or perhaps all three. St Lawrence Chapel & Hospital was run for nearly three hundred years by Trinitarian Friars who put a particular emphasis on the care of the poor and the sick.”
After the Reformation, the building was turned into cottages. A local woman, Ellen Drake, bought it in 1914 with the aim of restoring it in memory of her husband. Tony was delighted to discover that CAHMS holds the original specification for the restoration, along with some of the architect’s drawings. “None of this material has ever been published before,” says Tony. “Crediton is so lucky that Ellen Drake commissioned an architect with the sensitivity and skill to create the building we see today.”
A History of St. Lawrence Chapel & Hospital, Crediton, 1242 – 1921 (16 pages including covers) is available by post from CAHMS, 3, George Hill, Crediton, Devon EX17 2DT for £2 plus £1 postage and packing or phone 01363774441 to order and arrange payment by bank transfer.