Sunday, 23 May 2021

Lyddington Bede House

One of the amazing places near me is Lyddington Bede House. I’ve been wanting to share this place with you all for a while as it has an amazing energy surrounding it.

It is set in the incredibly beautiful ironstone village of Lyddington, and was originally the wing of a palace belonging to the Bishops of Lincoln. By 1600 it had passed to Sir Thomas Cecil, son of Queen Elizabeth’s chief minister, who converted it into an almshouse.

This almshouse - also known as a bedehouse, poorhouse or hospital - was created for 12 poor ‘bedesmen’ over 30 years old, and two bedeswomen over 45 years old, “all free of lunacy, leprosy or the pox”. It served as an almshouse until 1930.

Almshouses were established from the 10th century in Britain as extensions of the church system, and were later adapted by local authorities. They were designed to provide residence for poor, old or distressed people, such as elderly widows who could no longer pay rent.

Bede is the Anglo-Saxon word for prayer, and the bedesmen and bedeswomen were obliged to pray for the founder of the almshouse. The oldest almshouse in existence is the Hospital of St. Cross in Winchester (1132), and the first recorded almshouse was established in York, by King Athelstan.

Do you have a place near you that gives you the chills (good or bad)?

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