Almshouses originated in early medieval England as places that provided care for the sick poor, usually attached to a monastery. Hospitality a Christian duty. The original focus on travellers and monks was extended in the 12th and 13th centuries to include lay people who were sick or feeble usually housed in separate establishments administered by monks and lay brothers.
Church authorities encouraged these foundations and bishops were urged to see there were enough of them to cater for the need. This illustrated talk will look at the history of the British almshouse which includes the difficult times during the Reformation to the continued vitality of the almshouse movement today.
About the speaker: Dr. Judy Hill lectured in adult education, for the WEA, various historical societies and at the University of Surrey. She taught sixteenth, seventeenth and nineteenth century British history. In 2007 she was awarded her PhD researching poverty and unrest in Surrey 1815-1834.
In 2003 she gave a paper on emigrant letters at a conference at Carleton University Ottawa and has since published several articles on emigration to Canada, the agricultural riots of 1830 to 1832 and 19thcentury cholera in Britain. She is now a freelance lecturer and researcher.