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February 28, 1996

The English Hospital, 1070-1570

Author Affiliations

Waukesha, Wis

JAMA. 1996;275(8):645-646. doi:10.1001/jama.1996.03530320069042

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The purpose of this study is to present a general survey of the history of the English hospital from its medieval origins through the Reformation so that historians and archaeologists will have a convenient synopsis upon which to depend when they attempt to introduce evidence based on new techniques of investigation. A synthesis of the development of the medieval English hospital was written in 1909 by Rotha Mary Clay. It is out-of-date, however, because of the emphasis that is now being placed on such methods as demographic and prosopographical analysis arising from the excavation of cemeteries or the close study of biographical sources relating to lists found of hospital masters, staff, and inmates. By analyzing in particular the medieval hospitals of the counties of Cornwall and Devon in southwestern England, the authors show how the institutions of a specific region can reflect national characteristics despite distinctions created by geographical peculiarities.