Hospital roof propped up for next 100 years

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Historic Lord Leycester Hospital has received a substantial contribution towards on-going maintenance costs from one of the town’s oldest charities.

Trustees of The King Henry VIII Endowed Trust - which still holds lands dating back to its foundation in 1545 - have awarded a grant of £40,000 towards the cost of roof repairs at the hospital.

It was Lord Leycester - a favourite of King Henry’s daughter, Queen Elizabeth I - who transformed the 14th century guild meeting place with its 12th century chapel spanning High Street into a “hospital.”

Not a medical establishment but accommodation for the brothers-in-arms who had fought alongside him in battle.

And unlike Chelsea Hospital in London - founded some 150 years later - the Warwick ‘pensioners’ were always able to share their safe lodgings with their wives.

Today the hospital is a major tourist attraction in the town, attracting some 8,000 visitors a year.

It’s also a popular venue with a wide range of outside conferences and events.

Above all, it is still home to a community of 25 ex-servicemen and their wives.

But the current master of the hospital, retired Lt Col Gerald Lesinski, admits: “Maintaining this building is a bit like painting the Forth Bridge - it never finishes.

“We couldn’t exist without the help that the King Henry VIII Trust and others have given us over the years.

“Even with this latest grant we still need another £50,000 or more to complete our roof repairs.”

John Edwards, deputy chairman of the trust, said: “We’re always very glad to help the hospital whenever we can.

“Under the terms of our charter we can support the community of the Warwick borough with grants for the repair of historic buildings.

“We can also offer relief of the town’s elderly, infirm and needy inhabitants; the improvement of social welfare, recreation and leisure facilities and the support of local educational facilities.”