The Lord Leycester


Note: This is a show notes page accompanying my on-location podcast at The Lord Leycester, Warwick, recorded in the autumn of 2023.

An Introduction to The Lord Leycester

In this month’s episode, The Tudor History & Travel Show heads to Warwick, which is a market town, civil parish, and county town in Warwickshire. Situated on the banks of the River Avon, Warwick is known for its rich history and well-preserved medieval architecture. Dating back to before Roman times, the town grew into prominence during the medieval period as a centre of trade. Today, its timber-framed buildings, historic churches and narrow winding streets pay homage to its rich cultural heritage.

With a history spanning over nine hundred years, the Lord Leycester was founded initially as a guild for the care of the deserving poor of Tudor England. Hospitals for the poor served as vital institutions for providing care and support to those in need. These hospitals, also known as almshouses or charitable institutions, were crucial in offering relief to the sick, elderly, and impoverished.

In 1571, Robert Dudley, Queen Elizabeth I’s favoured courtier, founded a community of Masters and Brethren within the former Guild premises. The structure maintains its medieval design, comprising a Great Hall, a Chapel, and a Guildhall. The Brethren, military individuals dedicated to serving the Crown and Country, were carefully selected to dwell within these walls.

Sarah and Heidi. Image © The Tudor Travel Guide

Today, the Lord Leycester one of the most important examples of intact medieval architecture in Britain. Its eight ex-servicemen and their spouses are accommodated in almshouses, fulfilling ceremonial roles and serving as guides for visitors. Our guide today is Heidi Mayer, Master of the Lord Leycester, the first woman to hold office. She showed us around the buildings, sharing their incredible history.

Note: There is unrestricted access to the first half of this podcast here. However, to listen to the full episode, you must be a member of The Ultimate Guide to Exploring Tudor England, The Tudor Travel Guide’s membership site. For more information on the membership, click here.

The Lord Leycester Image Gallery

Exterior and Courtyard of the Lord Leycester. Image © The Tudor Travel Guide.

The Guildhall, dating from the fifteenth century, served as the administrative centre for the Guilds. It now houses displays of armour and other artefacts, showcasing the history of the Hospital and its residents.
Image © The Tudor Travel Guide.

The Brethren’s kitchen. Images © The Tudor Travel Guide.

Masters dining room. Images © The Tudor Travel Guide.

The Lord Leycester’s Chapel, dedicated to St. James the Great. Image © The Tudor Travel Guide.

Medieval wall of Warwick leading to the gardens at the Lord Leycester. Images © The Tudor Travel Guide.

Useful Links

Visiting information for the Lord Leycester is here.

If you’re interested in accessing the full podcast, or suggestions for historic places to visit nearby, you can join my membership The Ultimate Guide to Exploring Tudor England, which brings together all my best, most comprehensive content in one place: blogs, videos, live chat, progresses, maps, itineraries, travel information and podcasts. For more information on the membership, click here.

Similar Posts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *