St. Mary’s Medieval Hospital

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The present day Priory School stands on an important site with a complex history.  Thomas Fastolph founded St. Mary’s Hospital in the late 13th century for the care of elderly needed men and women of the town. Gifts and legacies to the hospital resulted in a chapel being built.  Consequently, it was closed during the Dissolution of the Monasteries in the mid 16th century.  Great Yarmouth Corporation soon found many uses for the prime site, which occupied all the land inside the Town Wall to the Market Place between the Pudding Gate and the Market Gate. Uses included: an armoury, the first grammar school in the town, a workhouse and a house of correction (bridewell).  On the south-west of the site, the town’s butchery was established and the Feather’s Inn expanded its holdings.  To the north of the site, the fine house (later occupied by Miles Corbet) was built.  Some land was left open and part of this became the Dissenter’s Graveyard.  In 1650, a Children’s Hospital (a charity school for boys and girls) was established, which later, as the Hospital School, operated until 1982, although its buildings were replaced in 1842 and 1931.  The Great Yarmouth College of Art had an annexe here and the Priory School had partial use of the building, until its wholesale move to the site in 1999.  Thus, there has been a continuous educational use on part of the site since 1552.