A History Run Part Two

Newton Hall to Kepier hospital on the sands. Hope this relieves the boredom a bit and I thought it apt to talk about the leper hospital. However bad we feel stuck at home we could be John Bulmer.


The first hospital chapel (now St Giles Church, Gilesgate) was dedicated in June 1112.

Kepier hospital was refoundedbeside the River Wear at Kepier, c.1180, by Bishop Hugh le Puiset with an establishment of thirteen brothers, serving around thirteen (male) inmates as well as travelers and pilgrims. Many were lepers a common disease.

St Giles was the patron saint of beggars and cripples and Godric of Finchale was a doorkeeper of the hospital church before settling at Finchale and further becoming St Godric. Naturally Kepier was important for its hospitality and in 1298 King Edward I was among those entertained here.

Not many years later in 1306 the `visit’ of Robert the Bruce was not so warmly welcomed. On June the 15th of that year Bruce’s Scottish army swarmed towards Kepier and severely burned the building.

Kepier Hospital was inspected in 1535 as part of Henry VIII’s ValorEcclesiasticus survey of monasteries. It was shown to be the richest hospital in the diocese, devoting 25% of its gross annual income of £186

Henry ordered the closure of the lesser monastic houses (including Kepier) prompting the doomed Pilgrimage of Grace rebellion. The Master of the Hospital supported the Bishop of Durham in opposing the Pilgrims, but its (lay) steward Sir John Bulmer was executed for participating in the rebellion. It was the “most serious of all Tudor rebellions”, it was a protest againstHenry VIII’s break with the Roman Catholic Church, the Dissolution of the Monasteries, and the policies of the King’s chief minister, Thomas Cromwell, as well as other specific political, social and economic grievances. John Bulmer was found guilty of treason was tied to a hurdle and dragged through the streets of London. Bulmer was taken to Tyburn and was hanged, almost to the point of death, revived, castrated, disembowelled, beheaded and quartered .Later that day Margaret Cheyney his wife was burnt to death at Smithfield.

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