Saturday, 1 August 2015

George Abbot's Hospital Guildford


Nice to see you!

Way back in May, I visited Guildford and decided that I must go back again to take a tour of the interior of George Abbot's Hospital.

Although founded in 1619 by a former Archbishop of Canterbury, George Abbot, who wanted to give something back to the town that he originally came from, nowadays residents can still enjoy a tranquil place to live right in the middle of the High Street.  As you enter the courtyard the pretty flats surround a grassy area with flowers around the edge.  You can still see the lead drainage pipes put there in 1627, the carved wooden doors and fancy brickwork. George Abbot's crest included three pears and these can be found carved all over the place.

A claim to fame is the Monmouth Room situated at the top of the central tower. Originally the room was used to administer rents and other monetary dealings and so the windows had bars on them as added security. When in 1658 the Duke of Monmouth was arrested following his failed rebellion to depose King James II, he stayed in the secure room overnight whilst he was transported from Ringwood to the Tower of London to be beheaded.

We were shown a panelled room where residents meet for coffee and other social functions, which was used in the 1600's as a dining room.  The 12 men would sit around one table and the 8 (later 12) women around the other.  The Jacobean tables with their chunky legs were still there along with the original uncomfortable benches - no slouching allowed.  From the ceiling, four candles attached to a light fitting, which collected the dribbling wax for reuse, were still in place, although electric lights behind the panels are used today.
Panelling in the dining room

Table legs
 Just round the corner from the dining room is the chapel with enormous painted glass windows depicting the story of Jacob.  In earlier days residents had to attend services twice a day as well as the church across the road.

The Hospital has been extended recently to offer accommodation for up to 28 people.  The new building blends in well with the Grade I listed old one and the gardens offer a pleasant place to spend time.  Even the bees are catered for with bee boles in the garden walls where bees could be encouraged to stay and help pollinate the crops/flowers.

A little summerhouse in the garden next to the new flats.

To be considered for a flat in the Hospital, you have to have a close association with Guildford, be over 60 and be of poor means. In order to support the residents and the upkeep of the building, money is acquired from rent paid by the residents, rent paid by local shopkeepers on Hospital owned shops and charitable donations.

I'm sure those lucky enough to live there, really appreciate the beautiful surroundings.

Thanks for calling in.

Bye for now.


  1. Hello. I really enjoyed reading your post today and learning about the history of this special place. It really looks lovely. Thank you for sharing. I hope you are having a nice weekend :)

    1. I'm so glad you enjoyed it. Have a good week. :-)

  2. What an incredibly beautiful historic house! Loved reading about it, and seeing your wonderful photos! What interesting brickwork on those corners! I've never seen anything like that before. Beautiful stained glass. The entire house...gorgeous!

    1. It's a really fascinating place packed full of history. :-)

  3. What a wonderful place with so many stories to tell. It looks a lovely, peaceful place to live and to visit too. Thank you for sharing your visit with us:)

    1. You are right, amazing that it is right in the middle of the High Street. :-)

  4. What a lovely post! Thank you. But seriously, you can't use the phrase "four candles" and expect British people of a certain age not to giggle?? x