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The role of the hospital in medieval Kent, c.1080-c.1560

Sweetinburgh, Sheila (1998) The role of the hospital in medieval Kent, c.1080-c.1560. Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) thesis, University of Kent. (doi:10.22024/UniKent/01.02.86130) (KAR id:86130)


This thesis examines the social history of the medieval hospital in Kent by investigating its role and place within provincial society. The method used was an analysis of the hospital's participation in the systems of exchange and reciprocity involved in the spiritual economy to assess its relative importance as a charitable and religious institution. Chapter 1 provided a context for the study, including a chronology of the hospitals in Kent from the Conquest to the Reformation and thematic section on function, organisation, resources and inmates for the same period using evidence from Kent's hospitals. The seventh section of this chapter comprised a summary of the value of the use of the concept of reciprocalexchange and its application to four hospital models (based on function) over time through an investigation of four types of reciprocal exchange: foundation grants, in vitam grants, testamentary bequests, casual alms. Also explored in brief were the range of participants in the spiritual economy and certain aspects relating to the relationship between various hospitals in Kent and their patrons and benefactors through the use of three chronological sections: early thirteenth century, mid fourteenth century, late medieval period (c.1470-c.1530). The last two chapters are case studies of the hospitals in the two Cinq Ports of Sandwich and Dover so providing a detailed, systematic analysis of the roles of the various hospitals there through their involvement and that of others, both inside and outside the town, in reciprocal exchange. From these findings it is suggested that the hospital in Kent was a minor participant in the spiritual economy, but that its role therein was likely to be multifarious, though probably changeable over time. In addition for certain hospitals their political, economic and/or social rules provided them with a degree of relevance for the local townspeople, and at times this was also valid in terms of the region and the nation.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctor of Philosophy (PhD))
DOI/Identification number: 10.22024/UniKent/01.02.86130
Additional information: This thesis has been digitised by EThOS, the British Library digitisation service, for purposes of preservation and dissemination. It was uploaded to KAR on 09 February 2021 in order to hold its content and record within University of Kent systems. It is available Open Access using a Creative Commons Attribution, Non-commercial, No Derivatives ( licence so that the thesis and its author, can benefit from opportunities for increased readership and citation. This was done in line with University of Kent policies ( If you feel that your rights are compromised by open access to this thesis, or if you would like more information about its availability, please contact us at and we will seriously consider your claim under the terms of our Take-Down Policy (
Uncontrolled keywords: History; Kent; Hospitals
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > B Philosophy (General)
B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BL Religion
D History General and Old World > D History (General)
Divisions: Divisions > Division of Arts and Humanities > School of History
SWORD Depositor: SWORD Copy
Depositing User: SWORD Copy
Date Deposited: 29 Oct 2019 16:29 UTC
Last Modified: 16 Nov 2021 10:27 UTC
Resource URI: (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)

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