Waterford Lazar or Leper House, 1661

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[In the Franciscan Convent, Clonmel, is an interesting document bearing on the history of the Leper Hospital, Waterford. It is in manuscript-bound up in a volume of Archdalls “” Monasticon “”- and purports to be a copy of an inquisition taken at Waterford immediately after the Restoration, before the Sheriff of the County and the Mayor of the City (William Halsey), with whom were associated Richard Power, Member of Parliament for the County, and James Bryver. Halsey represented the City in Parliament at the same time that he filled its Mayoral Chair. Father Cooney, O.S.F., Clonmel, copied the manuscript for our Most Reverend President, and we are here enabled, through the courtesy of the latter, to present its contents to the readers of the Journal. The site of the old Leper House, it may be well to add, was in Stephen-street, close to St. Stephen’s Church, and partly on the site of the present brewery.

In St. Stephen’s graveyard a few tombstones of no great antiquity still remain, and a small piece of masonry, apparently a fragment-the only fragment traceable of the church. A chamfered lintel of limestone, forming a wide angle arch over one of the windows in the present brewery buildings, bears the date 1632. The figures are cut in high relief, two on either side of the arch. This lintel belonged to the old Leper Hospital. Portion of the building itself, over a window of which the inscribed lintel is inserted, constituted very probably a part of the ancient hospital, and is in fact the only remnant of the latter now remaining. St. Mary Magdalen’s Chapel was apparently situated somewhere in the direction or neighbourhood of John’s Hill or Ballytruckle, in which direction also most of the suburban landed property of the hospital lay. The names of the persons found in possession of the hospital lands and buildings have a decidedly Cromwellian ring.- signed EDITOR (JWAHS).]

An inquisition taken before the Sheriff of the Co. of Waterford, the Mayor of the City of Waterford, Richard Power and James Bryver, Esqs, the 25th of Sept., 1661, at Waterford aforesaid, upon the oaths of honest and good men, etc., who being sworn upon the Holy Evangelists doe finde as followeth in these words, viz. :–
“”We find that the Lazar or Leaper House in the suburbs of Waterford, in St. Stephen’s Parish, was erected and founded by King John, and hath given the said house immunities and a charter to a Master, Bretheren, and Sisters of the said House for the maintenance of the Leapers for ever, and of which immunities they had a liberty that if any assault, battery, or bloodshed was committed within the precincts of said Lazar House, the Baron or Master of said House were sole judges of any such fact. We doe also find that it is further part of the immunities of said House, that if any man or woman in the City or Country of Waterford be infected with the Leprosie, and not taking their licence and freedom of members of the house to live abroad, and soe dying, their estate is forfeited to the said Leaper House. And we also find that there appertains to the House aforesaid as part of the perquisites thereunto belonging, the oblation of St. Mary Maudlin’s Chapel and the oblation of St. Stephen’s Church, together with all the christnings, mariages, and burials within the said Parish of St. Stephen’s Church, the house allowing to the Vicar of said Parish a competent annuity in consideration thereof, and the Mayor of Waterford did appoint a trusty man to oversee and receive the revenues and part out leases, by the name of Senescall in these latter adges, by what authority we know not.We find that Leaperstoun, in the Barony of Galtier and Parish of Kilmacom, esteemed were plough lands, with the tythes thereof, great and small, to belong to the said House, valued in the year 1641 at £106 sterg. a year, and so yielded for two or three years, recd. then by Francis Bryver, being Senescal of the said House, to the use of said Master, Bretheren, and Sisters of the said House. And since sometimes wast by reason of the wars, and sometimes sett at £50 a year, and sometimes more or less, which was received by the said Bryver during his life, and after him succeeded Baltazar Woodlock, he died in the year of the plague 1650, as Senescall, at which time the city was surrendered to the usurped power, who settled and recd. the revenues of the estate of the said House, since which to Colonell Laurence for 3 years at £30 pel annum, after to Mr. Andrew Lynn for 3 years at £70 per annum, having the tythes of Kilmoyhabe and a garden in Colpeck belonging to the Hospital of the Holy Ghost, to help him in his rent, and after Mr. Thomas Watts, from Mr. Lynn’s times until May last, at £80 per an., and after Mr. Andrew Lynn, who enjoys it to this day, by commission from Dublin, upon what account we know not.

We find that in the year 1641 there was £10 per ann. out of several houses and gardens in St. Stephen’s Parish coming yearly to the said Leaper House, and since these times several of the said houses were ruined, we find that they had tythes of the said Parish of St. Stephen’s besides.
We find that the old House of the Leapers is ruined, and the timber and materials thereof were taken away by Ensign Smart, Robert Woods, and others, and the same with the new House, a thatch house and a garden were sett by the then Commissioners of Revenue to Col. William Leigh at forty shillings a year, who sett them all to Mr. Hall at £4 st. per ann. We find also that Roger Coats, Walter Cantwell and Edmond Leary, masons, took away the tomb stones and paving stones that covered the graves of dead bodies in St. Stephen’s Church, and brought to Lott Leigh’s house to floor his kitchen therewith, and also brought some of the said stones to John Morris’ house, and also some of the said stones to Leftenant-Coll. Leighs Wheeler’s house, where now liveth Coll. Mullor, and also that William Cooper took away the stones of the said church yard.

We find and present that Mr. John Williams had a parcell of hay in St. Stephen’s church, and the rooffe of the said church fell upon the said hay; and he converted the timber thereof in creating a barne near it to his own use. We find and present that the 2/3 of the tythes of Kilbeartane and Ballymoris, in the Parish of ………. and Barony of Middle Third, in the said County of Waterford, did belong to the said House.
We find and present that the whole tythes of Brittas, in the Parish of Drumcannon, doth belong to the said House. We find and present that the parcell of land called Ballycadelan, leading from the Bridge of St. John upon the right hand leading to the meare of Ballytruckle, containing…………acres in parcel of the said Lazar House, with all the houses upon the Hill, and the two parcells called Parckcarraghmore and Parckcarraghbeg, with all the tythes great and small belonging to the said Leaper House. Also that a chapel called St. Mary Maudlin’s Chapel, in possession of John Hevens, who yielded a considerable profit to the sd. Leaper House by the oblation thereof, and turned and converted by John Hevens to a house, which lands and houses were sett for long leases at small rents by the said Lazar House in ancient times, and after when the leases came to the usurped authority they disposed of all these estates as we find to Coll. Laurence, Capt. Warde, Thomas Watts, who held from the Commissioners of Reveuue, at what rents we know not, and how they converted the same we know not, but only this. Thereafter, at present we find Butler’s mill, with the small meadow thereto adjoining, in the possession of Samuel Browne, at the rent of 30/- per annum.

We find a house and garden next to the said mill in the possession of Nicholas McEdmond Cottner, tenant to Capt. Thomas Bolton, at the yearly rent of 50/-. We find a tan house, garden, and yard of tan pitts, late in the possession of John Davis, at the rent of 20/- per ann. A house of Richard Farrell at the rent of 30/-. We find that. John Hevens holds several tan pitts and several houses and 1/2 f acre of land at 20/- per ann. William Hevens, house and garden at £3. Thomas Sherlock, house and garden at £3. Several other cabins, valued at 30/- per ann., upon the hill. A close called Parckcurraghmore, set to Widow Reidy at £3 per ann. Nicholas Lea pays for Parckcurraghbegg and for the house thereon 40/- per ann. ; Walter …….?? for one cabin, 4/- per an. Llachernee Cuffe, for one cabin, 9/- per an. ; John Deimis, for one cabin 4/- per an. ; Nicholas Power, for one cabin, 20/- per an. ; Edmond Walsh FitzRichard, for one cabin, 4/- per an. ; Nicholas Murphy, for one cabin, 4/6 ; Richard Phelan, for one cabin, 4/- per an. ; Job McMorris, for one cabin, 4/- ; Bartolomy White, for one cabin, 20/. Per an. ; James Purcell, for one cabin, 10/- ; five pieces of land going down to the new mill, valued……… ..per an, £3. All the grounds between that and Ballytruck is set by Cart. Thomas Boulter at eleven pounds per an. Lazart Park, held by Mr. Watts, and Little Marsh beyond it southward of, we esteem to be worth £4 per an. Two small pieces of ground adjoining the new mill, with the small island adjoining, we esteem to be worth per an. 20/-. We find the Widow Ruddy pays for her cabin 6/- per an.
We also ……………….there are two Leapers in the Barony of Gallyen, one in Ballynvelly, named Juan McNicholas, and one Denby O’Flyne, of Ballyne Kill, who would not obey.We find and present that Juan Murphy, servt. unto the Widow Bennett, was enfected with the Leprosie, and in the time of the usurped power was presented to the then Commissioners of Revenue, who denyed to give her any releefe, wherefore she miscarried, and dyed a miserable condition. We have summoned Nicholas Walshe and Paul Aylwarde, who denyed to appear before us, as concerning they had most testimony ……………..concerning our charge.

We find and present that we have seen …………….past by the Master, Bretheren, and Sisters of the Lazar House unto John Butler and Nicholas Madden, in fee farm; bearing………………. 1477, of the mill, commonly called Butler’s Mill, with the ……………small meadow and all the land from the Bridge to Mary Maudlin’s Chapel, at 5/- per an., excepting a bean garden which was reserved for the use of the said Leapers’ House.

Published in the Journal of the Waterford & South East of Ireland Archaeological Society c. 1895. All spellings as are in the original document. Where there are dots thus in a sentence, the original script could not be read.

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