Saturday 19 February 2011

Impression from a seal matrix of Burton Lazars hospital

Having received a gift of land from the Earl of Arundel at Wymondham, Norfolk, in c1146, the Order of St Lazarus became properly established in England somewhere around 1157 after his noble cousin, Roger de Mowbray, had returned from the Second Crusade. Mowbray must have known of the Lazarite hospital of Jerusalem, and with the support of King Henry II he granted a manor and lands to the Order for the foundation of a leper hospital in Leicestershire. The veteran crusader and patron of several monastic orders died in the Holy Land in 1188. The Preceptory he founded near Melton Mowbray became known as Burton Lazars, a name that remains to this day. It prospered and attracted further patrons, including King Edward I.

AD 1400-1500
Found in Suffolk, England

The Latin inscription on this seal refers to Burton Lazars in Leicestershire, the chief English house of the Order of St Lazarus of Jerusalem. Length: 60 mm; Width: 39.5 mm
The British Museum PE MLA 1887,0727.31

For a fascinating account of the Seal and its discovery see this article by Dr David Marcombe, Director of the Centre for Local History at the University of Nottingham, and the author of Leper Knights: the order of St Lazarus of Jerusalem in England, c.1150–1544.