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The Hospital of God was founded in 1273 by Robert de Stichell, the Bishop of Durham to care for poor and elderly people.

King Henry III had obtained the Manor of Greatham from Simon de Montfort following his defeat at the battle of Evesham in 1265. Robert de Stichell then made and won a legal claim for the land on the basis that as Crown Palatine he had the right to all land plundered or gained within his royal franchise as Bishop of Durham.

Having obtained possession of the Manor of Greatham the Bishop built the first Hospital - a place of shelter and hospitality - for five priests and forty poor lay men. He installed a Master to care for them and dedicated the Hospital to the Honour of God, the Blessed Virgin Mary and Saint Cuthbert.

In 1353, it is recorded that the Master would grant to each Brethren for life, seven white loaves and seven pitchers of ale weekly, a "decent chamber" to live in, coal for heating and candles. The charity was refounded by King James I in 1610 and the assets of the charity were vested in a corporation known as the Master and Brethren of the Hospital of God at Greatham, which exists to this day.

Over the following centuries the Hospital went through a number of episodes of dilapidation and rebuilding with various buildings being erected and falling into disuse.

In 1761 a sister charity, the Dormer Parkhurst Almshouses, was founded by the Master of the same name and for the first time women could be cared for. This charity, at first separate, is now part of the Hospital of God.

To make our 750th milestone in 2023, Philippa Sinclair (Trustee at The Hospital of God) has written a book about the history of the Charity ‘Greatham Hospital: a brief of the charity as it celebrates 750 years of offering care’. The book can be purchased for £5 (cash) from the Estate, Greatham, Hartlepool, TS25 2HS or for £7.50 (for postal sales including postage and packing) by contacting the Estate Office on (01429) 870247. All proceeds from the sale of this book will go directly to the charity.

Supporting our communities for 750 years