St Bartholomew’s & Lock Hospital on PW

The Lock cup found in a cupboard at St Bartholomew-the-Great priory church

The Annunciation 2023, on Saturday 25 March, is the 900th anniversary of the founding in 1123 of Smithfield’s St Bartholomew priory dedicated to looking after the sick.

The church survived to feature in Four Weddings and a Funeral and its infirmary is now the famous Bart’s Hospital.

A silver chalice being used during this afternoon’s anniversary Eucharist, celebrated by the Bishop of London, was recently discovered at the back of a cupboard.

Engraved on it are the words ‘For the use of ye Lock in Kent Street Southwark’.

This cup recalls the Lock Hospital which stood by the Pilgrims’ Way from at least 1350, but probably the 1240s, until 1760.

The Lock, or Hospital of St Mary & St Leonard, stood on the right as you reach the end of Southwark’s Tabard Street (formerly Kent Street) where it merges with the Great Dover Street -created the 1750s just before the hospital closed.

Here the pilgrim would have passed its long wall and courtyard gateway before crossing the Lock stream flowing towards St Saviour’s Priory (now Bermondsey Square) and the Thames.

A milestone opposite the Lock indicated that the isolation hospital was safely a mile from London Bridge.

It appears that Henry VIII, who dissolved the Smithfield priory, did not also close this tiny leprosy and contagious diseases hospital. In 1549 the Lord Mayor of London and City aldermen, who three years earlier had reopened the monastic Bart’s Hospital, stepped in and placed Lock Hospital under Bart’s care.

Bartholomew Street at the junction (south side) recalls the Bart’s association.

Plan of the Lock Hospital, Southwark from the original plans in the Archives of St Bartholomew’s Hospital, to whom the copyright belongs.
Tabard Street as it joins Great Dover Street (right). Bartholomew Street is on the far right by St Saviour’s School. The trees and grass (right) are the successor to the hospital garden.

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