REASONS FOR DESIGNATION
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 important.
The earthwork and buried remains of Castleton medieval hospital are particularly well preserved and retain significant archaeological remains. Hospitals usually survive as ruins or by being incorporated into later buildings. Earthwork remains such as those at Castleton are unusual and provide a rare opportunity for the preservation of stratified archaeological and environmental evidence. The combined archaeological, environmental and documentary evidence will enhance our knowledge and understanding of the construction, history, and development of hospitals and their place in the wider medieval landscape.
The monument includes the earthwork and buried remains of Castleton medieval hospital. The site is situated on the south side of Castleton Road on a low knoll which slopes to the south towards the flood plain of Peakshole Water. The hospital, known as 'The Hospital of the Castle of Peak', was founded in the early 12th century by the Peverel family and was dedicated to St Mary the Blessed Virgin. It appears as a royal foundation in John of Gaunt's register dated 1372-1376. The last warden was in office between 1536-1542, after which the hospital was dissolved. The remains include three sides of a large sub-rectangular platform defined by a substantial bank, representing the site of a building, measuring approximately 35m by 27m. The north and east sides of the platform are the most clearly defined but oval shaped hollows to the south west of the platform suggest that some post-medieval quarrying has taken place. A low, curved mound inside the platform may also be related to quarrying activity. At its eastern end, the platform is divided from north to south across most of its width by a low bank. This is interpreted as an internal dividing wall. The size of this building, together with evidence that it was a substantial construction, indicate that this was a major building belonging to the hospital. Medieval hospital complexes usually included a range of buildings and features often including medicinal herb gardens. The precise function of the building along with the wider Organisation and layout of Castleton hospital are not yet fully understood. Running between, and parallel to, Castleton Road and the northern side of the hospital is a sunken track which survives to a width of approximately 5m. This would originally have provided access to the hospital building and may have been the predecessor to the modern Castleton Road. The track links to another sunken track which runs parallel to the eastern side of the hospital and has been infilled close to its northern end. This track, which survives to a width of approximately 8m, cut into the natural slope of the field, runs to the south and continues for about 20m beyond the building platform. It is possible that this track led to a fording point on Peakshole Water which once passed much closer to the hospital building. To the east of the junction between the two tracks is a small rectangular building platform, the southern side of which has been degraded by vehicle erosion. The platform measures approximately 14m by 5m and is defined by low banks. The platform may represent an annex to the main hospital building. All fences and gates are excluded from the scheduling, although the ground beneath these is included.
Book Reference - Title: Castleton Medieval Hospital - Type: DESC TEXT - Description: SMR no. 3336
Book Reference - Author: Cox, J. C. - Title: Victoria History of the Counties of England Derbyshire - Date: 1907 - Page References: 86 - Type: DESC TEXT
Book Reference - Author: Lysons, Rev. D. and Lysons, S. - Title: Magna Britannia. A concise topographical account of several coun - Date: 1817 - Page References: 72 - Type: DESC TEXT