Ancient Monuments

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Maison Dieu (or Hospital of the Holy Trinity), Dunwich

A Scheduled Monument in Dunwich, Suffolk

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Latitude: 52.2784 / 52°16'42"N

Longitude: 1.6326 / 1°37'57"E

OS Eastings: 647893.036356

OS Northings: 270689.821617

OS Grid: TM478706

Mapcode National: GBR YXX.5L8

Mapcode Global: VHM7C.7ZYR

Entry Name: Maison Dieu (or Hospital of the Holy Trinity), Dunwich

Scheduled Date: 1 May 1970

Last Amended: 1 February 2016

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1005995

English Heritage Legacy ID: SF 142

County: Suffolk

Civil Parish: Dunwich

Traditional County: Suffolk

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Suffolk

Church of England Parish: Dunwich St James

Church of England Diocese: St.Edmundsbury and Ipswich


A medieval hospital surviving as buried remains. It is variously known as ‘Maison Dieu’, ‘Domus Dei’ and the ‘Hospital of the Holy Trinity’.

Source: Historic England


The buried remains of a medieval hospital. Partial excavation has recorded part of the foundations of the hospital. These include a flint, beach pebble, sandstone block and mortar wall, 0.8m wide, that extends north to south. To the west is a mortar layer running for about 4m at a depth of 0.6-0.9m. Cartographic and documentary evidence indicates that the foundations are part of a complex of at least three buildings, which are of rectangular plan, and constructed of stone and timber. A medieval floor surface and post hole have been uncovered at the south-west of the site. Inhumation burials have been identified in shallow graves, orientated east to west, at the east. A range of medieval finds have also been recovered including stone mouldings (such as a corbel block, decorated with a dog-tooth pattern), lime mortar or plaster, floor and roof tiles, window glass, C12 to C15 pottery sherds, charcoal, oyster shells and animal bones.

The scheduling excludes: the Second World War concrete pillbox; all modern buildings and structures, including the late-C20 weatherboard gabled buildings, public toilets and fisherman’s huts; the surfaces of all modern roads, concrete hard-standings and pavements; telegraph or electricity poles; lamp posts; litter bins; benches and tables; collection boxes; signs and sign posts; fences and fence posts; gates and gate posts. However, the ground beneath all these features is included.

Source: Historic England

Reasons for Scheduling

The Maison Dieu, a medieval hospital surviving as buried remains in Dunwich, is scheduled for the following principal reasons:
* Historic interest: as a medieval hospital under royal patronage that is a surviving part of the town of Dunwich, a prominent Saxon and medieval settlement which has largely been lost to the sea;
* Documentation: the Maison Dieu is well documented in historical sources from the C13 onwards, which provide a valuable contribution to our knowledge and understanding of the site;
* Potential: the site holds archaeological potential for a range of structural, artefactual and environmental remains dating from the medieval period onwards;
* Group value: the Maison Dieu holds group value with St James’ Hospital Chapel, Greyfriars, the Pales Dyke and the west side of medieval Dunwich, as surviving scheduled remains of the medieval town and its associated monuments.

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
Chant, K, The History of Dunwich, (1986)
Comfort, N, The Lost City of Dunwich, (1994)
Parker, R, Men of Dunwich: The story of a vanished town, (1979)
Blinkhorn, P, Pottery from Dunwich, Suffolk, accessed 18 November 2015 from
British History Online – Victoria County History: A History of the County of Suffolk Volume 2 (edited by William Page) – Hospitals: Holy Trinity, Dunwich, accessed 2 November 2015 from
Dunwich Museum Research Database, accessed 2 November 2015 from
Suffolk County Council Archaeological Service Report: Excavation summary, plan and section, Keith Wade 26 July 1988 (1988)
Suffolk County Council Archaeological Service Report: Site of the Hospital of the Holy Trinity, Dunwich, Suffolk, Report No.96/7, DUN 006 (1996)
Suffolk County Council Historic Environment Record: Hospital of Holy Trinity: Maison Dieu Hospital, Monument No. DUN 006 – MSF1991
Wessex Archaeology, Dunwich, Suffolk: Time Team Archaeological Evaluation and Assessment of Results, Report No.77505 (2012)

Source: Historic England

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