- Corporate body
- c 1175-1511
Originated as a small building erected towards the end of the 12th century by Hugh Eldcorn, with the agreement of the town of Cambridge and on land probably donated by Henry Frost, burgess of Cambridge, as a shelter for the poor. It was granted an oratory and burial ground, as well as income from the church of Horningsea, by the Bishop of Ely, and the bishops of Ely were recognised as its patron. The right to appoint the Master of the Hospital was contentious. Various grants of rights and privileges, as well as small grants of land, in the first decade of the 13th century, indicate that it was formally established then. In 1228, Pope Gregory IX took it into papal protection. In 1250, Pope Innocent IV confirmed the rule drawn up for the brethren by the Bishop of Ely. In c 1266 it was damaged by fire and by rioters rebelling against the King. In 1280 the Bishop of Ely obtained letters patent establishing scholars in the Hospital alongside the brethren, with the scholars living according to the statutes of Merton College, Oxford. The arrangement was unsuccessful and the two communities separated in 1284, with the scholars leaving and being given a share of the Hospital's endowments. These included St Peter's Church (a significant loss for the brethren) and hostels which formed the basis of Peterhouse College, founded in 1284. The Hospital continued to be supported by the townspeople and to acquire small amounts of land and property throughout the 14th and 15th centuries, ownership of which was transferred to St John's College when the Hospital was dissolved in 1511.