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St Mary and St Lazarus Hospital, moated site and two fishponds, Burton Lazars

A Scheduled Monument in Burton and Dalby, Leicestershire

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Latitude: 52.743 / 52°44'34"N

Longitude: -0.8706 / 0°52'14"W

OS Eastings: 476337.968311

OS Northings: 316749.002822

OS Grid: SK763167

Mapcode National: GBR BP9.2NY

Mapcode Global: WHFK6.LBM0

Entry Name: St Mary and St Lazarus Hospital, moated site and two fishponds, Burton Lazars

Scheduled Date: 10 December 1951

Last Amended: 13 December 1994

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1012242

English Heritage Legacy ID: 17029

County: Leicestershire

Civil Parish: Burton and Dalby

Traditional County: Leicestershire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Leicestershire

Church of England Parish: Melton Mowbray Team

Church of England Diocese: Leicester


The monument at Burton Lazars is situated on the west side of the village, 2km
south of Melton Mowbray. It consists of a medieval hospital complex which
includes a moated site and two fishponds.

The hospital complex is defined by a series of earthworks enclosed within a
bank and ditch boundary which survives on all but the eastern side. The
earthworks represent the foundations of buildings including the infirmary,
chapel and domestic ranges. These are surrounded by an elaborate system of
ditches and ponds, some of which appear to have been used for treating the
sick and infirm. The boundary ditch is about 0.5m deep and 6m wide, with a
bank about 0.5m high located on the inside. In the north east corner of the
complex is a moated site believed to be contemporary with the hospital. This
moat is partly water-filled and the site measures 100m x 80m in overall
dimensions. The southern arm of the ditch is now a dredged out pond, whilst
the remaining arms are up to 10m wide and 2m deep. The moat island has an
internal bank all round, and displays slight evidence of medieval ridge and
furrow ploughing, indicating that it was cultivated after abandonment. To the
north of this are two long partly water-filled fishponds, measuring
approximately 80m x 15m, which are connected to the moat by a channel on the
eastern side.

Burton Lazars was the principal English hospital of the monastic order of St
Lazarus of Jerusalem, a military order especially devoted to the foundation
and protection of Christian leper hospitals. It was founded by Robert de
Mowbray between 1138-62 but was burned down in the 14th century and dissolved
in 1546. The elaborate system of waterways is thought to have been used for
curative bathing and inspired an attempt to make Burton a spa c.1760.
Excavations were undertaken on the building foundations by Charles Lindsay and
the Duke of Rutland in 1913, when a large piece of pavement was uncovered,
and a group of `round ovens' which have been interpreted as tile kilns.

The site of the monument is shown on the attached map extract.

Source: Historic England

Reasons for Scheduling

A medieval hospital is a group of buildings housing a religious or secular
institution which provided spiritual and medical care. The idea for such
institutions originated in the Anglo-Saxon period although the first definite
foundations were created by Anglo-Norman bishops and queens in the
11th century. Documentary sources indicate that by the mid 16th century there
were around 800 hospitals. A further 300 are also thought to have existed but
had fallen out of use by this date. Half of the hospitals were suppressed by
1539 as part of the Dissolution of the Monasteries. Some smaller institutions
survived until 1547 when they were dissolved by Edward VI. Many of these
smaller hospitals survived as almshouses, some up to the present day. Despite
the large number of hospitals known from documentary sources to have existed,
generally only the larger religious ones have been exactly located. Few
hospitals retain upstanding remains and very few have been examined by
excavation. In view of these factors all positively identified hospitals
retaining significant medieval remains will be identified as nationally

A small number of hospitals were established solely for the treatment of
leprosy. These leper houses differ from other hospitals in that they were
specifically located and arranged to deal with contagious disease. Their main
aim was to provide the sufferer with permanent isolation from society. In
contrast to other hospitals they were normally located away from population

Burton Lazars was the most important leper hospital in England. The site is
well preserved and includes a diverse range of features amongst which are a
moated site and fishponds. Limited excavations have confirmed that buried
remains, including those of major buildings, survive.

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
Hartley, R F, The Medieval Earthworks of North-East Leicestershire, (1987), 7,24
Pevsner, N, Williamson, E, The Buildings of England: Leicestershire and Rutland, (1984), 119

Source: Historic England

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