In his desire to support Guildford, Archbishop Abbot (we’ll meet him in a moment) decided to build a hospital, or almshouse, as a gift “out of my love to the place of my birth”. It was designed so that twelve Brothers and eight Sisters from Guildford could live their later years in comfort. Having been associated with Oxford university for much of his life, the Tudor layout and design takes inspiration from the place of his learning and chancellorship.
Completed in 1622, the philosophy was one of mildness and compassion, though discipline was a feature. In return for their accommodation and a weekly allowance, the residents were required to assist with the running and upkeep of the hospital, and to attend chapel and church on a routine and frequent basis.
Originally housing only single people, the current hospital has 12 flats for singles and 9 for couples, and still fulfils it’s original raison d’etre.
The latin text above the door means “God has made this place of ease for us”.
50m further up the High Street is the Three Pigeons pub.
The Three Pigeons
A pub called the Three Pigeons has stood here since the middle of the 18th century, though a fire in 1916 means that the 17th century Jacobean design you see today is little over a century old. Like many buildings on Guildford’s ancient High Street, it is reputed to be haunted.
Between the Three Pigeons and Abbot’s Hospital stood Gates’ grocery. In 1882 it was inherited by Arthur and Leonard Gates. The brothers went on to found the Cow & Gate business – still famous today for its range of infant and toddler products.
If you’re ever sat in the Three Pigeons, and light fittings start to mysteriously swing to and fro, you’ve just experienced an earthquake. Or a paranormal experience…
From the Three Pigeons, looking up and across the High Street, you’ll see the imposing statue of George Abbot. Make your way to him via the crossing.
Next : George Abbot
Previous : Holy Trinity Church
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