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(9) account of it. It was founded in 1961, by King Henry III., at the desire of Walter de Merton, Bishop of Rochester, the magnificent founder of Merton College, Oxford. It was called An Hospital for the maintenunce of the Ministers of the Altar of Christ, and was built and endowed for the support of Clerks, particularly from Merton College, who were grown weak and infirm; and consequently past discharging the ofiices of their function. The members of this House were called Brethren of the Hospital; over whom a single person presided as their Head. They had a Chantry, or Chapel, wherein divine service was celebrated; which was exempt from episcopal jurisdiction.
This Hospitalstood on the north side of the town brook, a little below the bridge; and some remains of the building are still to be seen, where the curious may find two Gothic windows on the outside, stopped up, and another in the inside. The marks of its antiquity have been greatly destroyed by a modern building of brick. The ancient part of the walls is of flint. The site at present belongs to Merton College: and without doubt the estate of that College at Basingstoke was formerly the endowment of that Hospital. In Basingstoke Church lie buried the father and mother of Walter de Merton, who had large property and connections here, with others of his kindred. He had intended to be buried there himself, if he had lived in the county. A chantry was founded for them in the library,* which was anciently the chapel of
* The library in Basingstoke church was founded by Sir George Wheler,
the celebrated Eastern Traveller, who was vicar of Basingstoke ·
St. Stephen. There is a monument to the memory of Bishop Merton, in Rochester Cathedral.
Before the Reformation, there were a great number of Chantries and Free Chapels. These Chantries were little chapels, or particular altars, in some churches, endowed with lands or other revenues, for the maintenance of one or more priests, daily to sing mass, &c., for the souls of the founders, and such others as they appointed. Sir William Sandes, Knight(Chamberlain to Henry VIII. by whom he was made the first Lord Sandes, whose seat was at The Vine, near Basingstoke) and Bishop Fox of Winchester, in the former part of the reign of Henry VIII. obtained the King's licence to found a Free Chapel at Basingstoke, and therein to establish a Guild ; who in pursuance of the power given them by his Majesty, built a Chapel, and dedicated it to the Holy Ghost; which was by a perpetual succession to continue for ever. It is probable that Bishop Fox did not contribute any thing towards the Chapel, Lord Sandes always having had the credit, both of building and endowing it. To the Brotherhood or Guild, an Estate was given to maintain a Priest to perform divine offices in the Chapel, and therein likewise to instruct youth in literature.
These Confraternities or Brotherhoods, in which many of the Laity were enrolled, were, says a Popish author, “ certain Societies or Associations, instituted for the encouragement of devotion, or for promoting of certain works of piety, religion and charity ; under some rules or regulations, though without being tied to them, so far as that the breach or neglect of them would
be sinful. The good of these Confraternities is, that thereby good works are promoted, the faithful are encouraged to frequent the sacraments, to hear the word of God, and mutually to assist one another by their prayers, &c.”
This foundation, though intended to be perpetual, was but of short continuance; for the lesser Monasteries and religious Houses having been dissolved by Act of Parliament in the same reign of Henry VIII., and the Crown in possession of the estates and revenues of most of the great Monasteries, by another Act in the same reign, they who had founded Chantries, Free Chapels, &c. expecting that these would soon undergo the same fate, began to enter upon, and to take possession of the estates given to religious uses hy grants and conveyances made by those that were in possession. This occasioned a Bill to pass in Parliament, by which the King might grant his commission to such persons, as be thought fit, to enter into Chantrics, Free Chapels, &c. and seize their estates and take them to his own use. And yet the Fraternity within this Chapel escaped dissolution at this time, though it seems to have been within the meaning of the Act, except only that it does not appear that any entry had been made upon the estate by the founder or any other person. In the first year of Edward VI., his successor, an Act was made whereby Free Chapels, &c. and the estates belonging to them, were given to the King. The number of Monasteries suppressed in this and the preceding reign, amountedio six hundred and fifty three; besides the Colleges, two thousand tiree hundred ani seventy four
Chantries and Free Chapels; with an hundred and ten Hospitals. Their worth before their suppression, was given in, and they were valueil at 152,517£. 18s. 10d., which was about a twentieth part of the national income; but it is computed, that the lands and revenues belonging to them would now amount to upwards of thirty milli
King Ilenry founded out of the spoils of those monasteries, the bishoprics of Bristol, Chesirr, Oxford, Gloucester and Peterborough. By the Act 1. Edward VI. the Brotherhood within this Chapel, founded by Lord Sandes and Bishop Fox, was dissolved, and the estate belonging to it taken to the King's use, who possessed it until the end of his reign; when, with the Crown, it came into the hands of Queen Mary, and continued to be Crown-land during the former part of her reign. But upon a petition from the town of Basingstoke, to their Majesties King Philip and Queen Mary, and at the request and intercession of Cardinal Poole, Legate de Latere of Pope Julius III. and Archbishop of Canterbury, in the year 1556, a Brotherlıood or Gyild, to the praise and honour of the Holy Ghost, was again established within this Chapel; and the estate was. granted, which did belong to the former Guild of that name, for the maintenance of a Priest, for the celebration of divine service in the Chapel, and for the instruction and institution of the young men and boys of the town. The grant runs thus :
“ KNOW ye, that, of our ample Grace, and of our certain “Knowledge and mere Motion, We have given and granteil, “ und do, by these Presents, for Us and our lleirs and Suc
cessors, grant to the Alderman and Wardens of the Bins
Is therhood or Guild of the Holy Ghost, &c. all that our “ Messuage or Tenement and Farm call'd Frymles, other“ wise call’d The Hollie Goste Ferme, and one Yard of “ ours belonging to the same Messuage, with their Appurte“nances, situate, lying, and being in Wote Strete in Basingstoke, in our County of Southampton, now or lutely
(that is in the third and fourth Year of King Philip and “ Queen Mary) in the Tenure or Occupation of William
Goodyer, and to the late Fraternity call'd The Brother“hed of the Hollie Goste near the Town of Basingstoke “ in the County of Southampton, some Time ago belonging “ and appertaining, and being Parcel of the Possessions “ thereof. And also all that our Horse-Mill, and one Yard
of ours thereto belonging, with the Appurtenances, situate, * lying and being in Wote-Strete aforesaid, in Basingstoke
dforesaid, now or lately in the Tenure or Occupation of the " said William Goodyer, and to the said late Fraternity
belonging and appertaining. And all that Messuage or “ Tenement of ours called Harriards, and one Garden or “ Yard of ours, with the Appurtenances, now or lately in the “ Tenure or Occupation of William Hannyngton, situate,
lying, and being in Northbroke Street in Basingstoke “ aforesaid, and to the suid late Fraternity some Time ago
belonging and appertaining. And also all those our three “ Acres of Arable Land, with the Appurtenances lying in “ the common Field of Basingstoke call d Northfield, now
or lately in the Tenure or Occupation of John Butler, “ and to the said late Fraternity some Time ago belonging “ and appertaining. And also one Messuage or Tenement
of ours call'd Spicers, and one Garden of ours, with the Appurtenances, lying in the Street call’d The Hollie Goste