Day Trip: Lord Leycester Hospital

I was fortunate to be off work last Saturday which enabled me to indulge my love of history and social media combined. I went on my first ‘tweet up’ to the Lord Leycester Hospital in Warwick.

Lord Leycester Hospital

A tweet up I hear you cry, what on earth is that?! According to google and Social Hat website a tweet up is, quite simply, “ an event where people who Twitter come together to meet in person“. What is great about social media is that you can connect with people from all walks of life, across the globe, with similar interests. But you don’t often get the chance to meet them and put a name to the face. You could walk past them in the street after chatting on-line but never even know it!

Another reason I was so pleased to be going along to the event was the venue. So many times I have passed the Lord Leycester Hospital or walked underneath the West gate but never have I made it through the entrance!

Lord Leycester Hospital

We were fortunate to be shown around by the 32nd Master of the Hospital – Lt. Col Gerald Lesinski. He soon put us right in our assumptions of the buildings at some point being a medical hospital of some description. The word ‘hospital’ is used in its ancient sense to mean  “a charitable institution for the housing and maintenance of the needy, infirm or aged”.

The 14th century timber framed buildings were the home of Warwick’s medieval Guilds for almost 200 years. In Elizabethan times it became a place of retirement for old warriors and still, as an independent charity, provides a home for a group of ex-Servicemen (referred to as the ‘Brothers’) and their wives.

Bear in chapelThe 12th Century chantry chapel is built right above the West Gate to Warwick. Inside the chapel you are treated to stunning stained glass – amusingly Gerald told us to look out for the saints carrying skis and bananas! There are also fine examples of William Morris work and calved bears adorning the pews. It really is beautiful but I do feel for the Brothers who meet every day for prayers in this unheated and unlit chapel, even in the deepest, darkest winters!

We braved the British weather and carried on our tour stopping to pause in the spot where Dr Who’s tardis landed (The Shakespeare Code episode) and also where Mr Darcy rode in the BBC adaptation of Pride and Prejudice!

Overall – it was a wonderful visit and I’d really encourage you to visit too! It is amazing what gems we have here on our doorstep but so often walk right by without really exploring. Oh and in case you were wondering, yes, they do have a tea room and it is fabulous!

Ruth, Administrator and chief tweeter

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