Maison Dieu, Faversham

Maison Dieu

Maison Dieu
Coordinates 51°18′41″N 0°52′25″E / 51.3115°N 0.8735°E / 51.3115; 0.8735Coordinates: 51°18′41″N 0°52′25″E / 51.3115°N 0.8735°E / 51.3115; 0.8735
OS grid reference TR0036260855
Built 1234
Built for Henry III of England
Governing body English Heritage
Type Grade II*
Designated 29 July 1950
Reference no. 175959
Maison Dieu location in Kent

Maison Dieu ('House of God') is a hospital, monastery, hostel, retirement home and Royal lodge commissioned by Henry III in 1234. The timber framed building is located beside what is now the A2 road in Faversham, Kent.

Edward Hasted in 1798, notes, it was dedicated to the Virgin Mary. It consisted of a 'master' and three regular 'brethren', of the order of the 'Holy Cross'. Also two secular clerks, were used to celebrate mass for the soul of the founder, and the souls of his royal predecessors and successors. They were to be hospitable, and give entertainment to the poor and needy passengers and pilgrims (heading along the Watling Street). There was a chamber in it, which the king used to repose himself when he passed this way, which was then called Camera Regis, or the king's chamber.[1]

In 1245, 'Robert de Bathel', the abbot of St Augustine's Abbey, in Canterbury, granted to the brethren of this hospital, wearing the habit, and the diseased who happened to die here, but to none else, the right of burial.[1]

Also King Henry III in 1240, granted to the master and brethren of the Maison Dieu, founded by him not many years before, the privilege of a market and a fair to be held in this parish of Hedcorn. The fair used formerly to be held on St.Peter's day, June 29. But it had been for some years past, held on June 12.[2]

In 1314, 'Nicholas de Staple' (the master), left the hospital after an argument with the other brethren, and went to the hospital of St. John the Baptist, Oxford. The brethren of the Oxford hospital sent a brother to Ospringe in his place. In 1334, he returned to Ospringe.[3]

In 1384, on a taxation, the revenues of this hospital were valued at the church of Hedcorn, at 13l 6s 8d.[1]

On 28 September 1511, Archbishop Warham made a visit to the hospital.[3]

In November, 1518, the last brethren of the Holy Cross order died, supposedly of the 'plague', which scared away others from the place.[4] Afterwards the hospital became secular.[3] The estate was then passed to St John's College, Cambridge. The contents were given to the abbots of St Augustine's Abbey. The building then became a public house.[4]

In 1573, the building was leased to Robert Transham (a friend of Thomas Arden (from the 1592 play Arden of Faversham)). He also rebuilt the Parsonage (also leased from St John's College), using materials from the Maison Dieu chapel. Robert was later buried in Ospringe Parish Church.[5]

In 1925, it became England's earliest village museum. Water Lane beside Maison Dieu still flooded every winter time until 1965, when the stream was diverted by a culvert during the building of the M2 motorway.[6]

In 1950, it became a Grade II* listed building.[7]

It is owned by English Heritage and managed by the Faversham Society. Currently it is used to display Roman artefacts from the surrounding area including the ruined 'Church of Our Lady of Elwarton' in Stone.[8] but is only open at weekends from April to October.


  1. 1 2 3 Hasted, Edward (1798). "Parishes". The History and Topographical Survey of the County of Kent. Institute of Historical Research. 6: 499–531. Retrieved 6 March 2014.
  2. Hasted, Edward (1798). "Parishes". The History and Topographical Survey of the County of Kent. Institute of Historical Research. 6: 324–336. Retrieved 6 March 2014.
  3. 1 2 3 Hasted, Edward (1798). "Parishes". Hospitals: Ospringe, A History of the County of Kent. Institute of Historical Research. 2: 222–224. Retrieved 14 March 2014.
  4. 1 2 Edward Jacob (1774)The history of the town and port of Faversham: in the county of Kent, p. 37, at Google Books
  5. Roy Kendall (2003)Christopher Marlowe and Richard Baines: Journeys Through the Elizabethan, p. 176, at Google Books
  6. Robert Turcan (11 November 2013)Faversham Through Time at Google Books
  7. "The Maison Dieu Museum, Faversham". Retrieved 15 August 2014.
  8. "Faversham Stone Chapel (Our Lady of Elverton)". English Heritage. Retrieved 18 May 2012.
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