Thursday, 21 February 2013

Royal Hospital Chelsea Rules 1692

The Royal Hospital has been around for over 320 years and, understandably, some things have evolved over time. That is certainly the case with some of the rules that were established to govern the Royal Hospital in 1692.

Drawn in 1690, before the Chelsea Pensioners took up residence in 1692

Amongst the rules set out in the Instruction Book of 1692 are the following:

1. That the Serjeants daily attend the Hall at Dinner and Supper Time.

2. That they constantly and gravely say Grace at the head of their Table.

3. That they make the men at their Tables behave with Order, Silence and Decency.

4. The Hospital Sweepers are to admonish the soldiers from time to time not to throw any pieces of Tobacco, Pipes, foul Papers or Raggs into the Quadrangle Court nor into either of the Side Courts.

5. The Chaplains are during their respective Wayetings to say prayers twice a day in the Chappell, visit Morning Prayer to begin constantly att Halfe an Houre after Tenn att Furthest; and Evening Prayer att Halfe an Houre after five from Lady Day to Michaelmas. And from Michaelmas to Lady Day att Halfe an Houre after Three.

6. They are to preach a sermon every Sunday morning... and are to administer the holy sacrament of the Lords Supper att least Thrice a year...

7. The Phisitan to frequently visit the sick and wounded and prescribe for their cure and Dyett, directing orders for their cure to the Chirurgeon or Apothecary and for their Dyett to the Housekeeper.

8. The Housekeeper to notify their days of attendance at the said Hospital.

9. The Sexton not to suffer any Person whatsoever so sit upon the sixteen forms appointed for the soldiers, not to let any Doggs come into the Chappell nor women with pattens.

10. Good and wholesome provisions to be bought and provided by the Stewart for the Officers Table in the Great Hall, taking care that the whole Expence of the said Table do not exceed Tenn Shillings a day for sixteen persons. He should also have a strict eye to the Cookes... that no Embezzlement of Wast be committed by any of them.

11. The Usher of the Hall to let no body into the Hall when the Soldiers are at Dinner or Supper except the officers and servants of the Hospitall. But you may admit any Body into the Gallery who desires to see them eat.

12. The Wardrobe Keeper to wait upon all Persons of Quality who wish to see the Hospital and show them the Halls, Wards, Chappel and Walks.

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