Were there inns and hostels in medieval Europe?

Were there inns and hostels in medieval Europe?



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In fantasy novels or roleplaying games it is very common for the characters to stay a night at an inn, hostel or tavern. But I'm curious of what it was like for real in medieval times. I'm particularly interested in Britain, but any references to other parts of northern Europe are interesting as well, like France and Germany, or eastern Europe for that matter.

I know that in Roman Britain they had, so called mansio that were run by the Roman government and meant for Roman officials, like tax collectors, to stay in on their travels to the far reaches of the Empire. Some of these even had bath houses.

But what happened after the Romans left, and we enter the so called "Dark Ages"? During Anglo-Saxon times the feudal system started to rise with Jarls and Thegn, but how much freedom of travel did people have in this period, and was there any need for travel? Didn't most people have a farm to take care of and lived a mostly self-sufficient life? I guess there were markets and fairs now and then where they sold surplus produce (if any) and that required some amount of travel.

In Norman times after 1066, weren't most villeins bound to their village in the Manor, and only a few freemen where allowed to leave the manor and travel? So how much need was there for inns and hostels and would there be enough travelers to make it a viable business? I suppose nobles had more liberty to travel, but would they settle for an inn in a village or would they rather stay at another noble's manor house or castle?

Did this change later during the period? The middle ages spans almost 1000 years so I suppose a lot of things changed during this time? What about during the Plantagenet dynasty and the Tudor period?

After the black death and the Peasants' Revolt in 1381 I can imagine that the travel ban was not so strictly enforced, and perhaps foreign trade had increase by now so that there were more merchants in the country, doing a lot more traveling.

In the Mediterranean world hostels seemed more common; even the Bible mentions an inn in the Parable of the Good Samaritan, where a Samaritan takes a wounded traveller to an inn and leaves him there with a few coins for the innkeeper to take care of him.

But the restriction on commoners by the feudal system in northern and eastern Europe seems to have made traveling more difficult and thus lodging a rather uneconomic business. Am I right?


SHORT ANSWER

Yes, there were, but information on inns and hostels before around 1300 is patchy at best and the evidence suggests that, for the early middle ages especially, travellers were often given board and lodging by locals, especially those higher up the social hierarchy. After 1300, though, there are an increasing number of references to inns and hostels as well as some physical evidence.


DETAILED ANSWER (this is mostly, but not entirely, chronological and refers to England unless otherwise stated)

Evidence of inns or hostels in Anglo-Saxon England and among the Norsemen is limited. In part, this may be because there were few of them as there was little need in many places (see below). There were fewer travellers than in later times and the custom in Scandinavian and Anglo-Saxon societies was to provide food and lodging for travellers. In Icelandic society at least,

hosts [meaning everyone] were expected to generously welcome and provide food and shelter for passing travelers… guests were likewise expected to be polite… and sometimes even reimburse them in the form of goods, services, or labor.

In Anglo-Saxon England,

hospitality was always a duty, strictly limited and framed by custom. It may have been provided to a single traveller, to a member of a formal or informal network (particularly ecclesiastical), to a king or to his agents

This 'system' of hospitality was, in all likelihood, fairly widespread and dated back many centuries. Tactitus (c. 56 to c. 120 AD), in Germania, writes that:

It is accounted a sin to turn any man away from your door. The host welcomes his guest with the best meal that his means allow… No distinction is ever made between acquaintance and stranger as far as the right to hospitality is concerned.

Source: Tactitus, The Agricola and the Germania (trans: H. Mattingly, revised by S. A. Handford, Penguin Classics, 1970)

Nonetheless, at least some Anglo-Saxons were not unfamiliar with hostels. Clear evidence of hostels in Rome is found in the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle where there are

several references in ninth-century entries to the “ongelcynnesscole” (“Anglo-Saxon quarter”) in Rome, where English expatriates and visitors could stay in an English hostel or worship at an English church.

Although one might expect enterprising individuals to set up inns in areas where there was a demand, this does not appear to have always been the case. In early 12th century Norway, King Eystein I (reigned 1103 to 1123) set up a hostel in Dovre because,

As visitors such as craftspeople and merchants came in increasing numbers to Bergen, the traditional hospitality that travellers could normally expect would no longer suffice

A statute of King Edward I of England in 1285 mentions the ownership by foreigners of, among other things, hostels and inns; later, foreigners were barred from owning such establishments along the River Thames in London.

According to John Hare in his book Inns, innkeepers and the society of later medieval England, 1350-1600, inns "were a crucial part of the economic infrastructure of the country". Also, Phillipp R. Schofield, in Peasant and Community in Medieval England, 1200-1500, states

By the close of our period [1500], village inns and hostelries were establishing themselves as permanent features of the countryside.

This article, which uses Compton Reeves' Pleasures and Pastimes in Medieval England and Life in a Medieval Village by Frances & Joseph Gies as sources, states:

The inn of a town was usually located in a central location such as the town square, or in places where trade roads met. In France and the Holy Roman Empire, coach-inns also became important drivers of the economy - these coach inns were mostly found on big trade routes between distant locations.

As inns became more common in the 14th century, they began to put up signs (with pictures, for many people were illiterate) as a way of advertising themselves. By the time of Chaucer (died 1400) at least, one could find a wide range people when one walked into an inn or tavern. In addition to adventurers, among them were

foreigners… transient English, unspeakable Scots… a general rabble of rootless people… . honest peasants and artisans, respectable merchants… pilgrims, clerics… royal officials, nobles, knights, robbers, prostitutes, and con men

Unsurprisingly, the physical evidence of these establishments has mostly vanished but there are a few which have survived, at least in part. One such is in Paris, established by Nicolas Flamel (“today immortalized as an alchemist, thanks in part to J.K. Rowlings' Harry Potter series”) in 1407 as an early charity to cater for itinerant workers.

Exterior of the Auberge Nicolas Flamel

Also in France, another example of a hostel was at Cluny monastery:

Adjoining the gatehouse was a large building that held the stables and a hostel for travelers, with adjacent latrines.

Source: J.L. Singman, 'Daily Life in Medieval Europe' (1999)

In England, The Angel Inn in Andover (Hampshire, southern England) has been in operation since at least 1456 in the current building (built between 1444 and 1455, although the façade is much more recent). Another example is The New Inn in Gloucester, built in 1450.

A 1973 photograph of The New Inn, Gloucester-the most complete surviving example in Britain of a medieval courtyard inn. Attrib: Alan Longbottom [CC BY-SA 2.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

As to profitability (in the late medieval period at least), this abstract on Hare's book states:

Inns generated substantial rent and were evidently felt to be worth considerable investment. Innkeepers were among the rich and influential members of the town.

As European economies grew, there were increasing numbers merchants who needed a place for the night (business travellers, if you like). Pilgrims were, in some places at least, a source of profit sufficient for local authorities to target for for taxation. In Italy, for example,

At Siena on the Via Francigena in Tuscany, a special levy was exacted from innkeepers who stood to profit from the flow of pilgrims.

Source: D. Webb, 'Pilgrims and Pilgrimage in the Medieval West' (2001)

Other source

G. J. White, 'The Medieval English Landscape, 1000-1540' (2012)


Some of the early lines of Chaucer's prologue to The Canterbury Tales (circa 1386), tell of The Tabard inn in Southwark, just south of London Bridge.

In Southwerk at the Tabard as I lay
Redy to wenden on my pilgrymage
To Caunterbury with ful devout corage,
At nyght was come into that hostelrye
Wel nyne and twenty in a compaignye
Of sondry folk, by aventure yfalle
In felaweshipe, and pilgrimes were they alle,
That toward Caunterbury wolden ryde.
The chambres and the stables weren wyde,
And wel we weren esed atte beste;
And shortly, whan the sonne was to reste,
So hadde I spoken with hem everichon
That I was of hir felaweshipe anon,
And made forward erly for to ryse
To take our wey, ther as I yow devyse.

Nevill Coghill's very liberal translation of that passage into modern English is as follows:

It happened in that season [April] that one day,

In Southwark, at TheTabard, as I lay

Ready to go on pilgrimage and start

For Canterbury, most devout at heart,

At night there came into that hostelry,

Some nine and twenty in a company

Of sundry folk happening then to fall

In fellowship, and they were pilgrims all

That towards Canterbury meant to ride.

The rooms and stables of the inn were wide;

They made us> easy, all was of the best.

And, briefly, when the sun had gone to rest,

I'd spoken to them all upon the trip

And was soon one of them in fellowship,

Pledged to rise early and to take the way

To Canterbury, as you heard me say.

The fictional pilgrims as they journey to Canterbury agree each to tell two tales. One supposes that they stayed at other inns, such as the Tabard, in the Borough High Street near London Bridge. It had begun operating in 1307, and unfortunately it is not still there today but this will tell you a little about it, with a picture of how it looked in 1850. This is of course a much later building on the site.

Whether it was typical of inns of its time I know not.


CHAPTER 9 - MOBILITY

Medieval men loved travel. It mattered little that roads were few and that they could go only on foot or on horseback, by cart or by boat. The twentieth century thinks of the travellers thronging the roads of Europe in the Middle Ages as the ubiquitous armies, merchants going from town to town, and pilgrims. Especially pilgrims, for thousands and thousands of the faithful went on pilgrimage to the holy places of Jerusalem, Rome, or Santiago de Compostela, or to shrines nearer home. There was no lack of these in medieval Christendom, or of hostels, boarding-houses, inns, hospitals, and refuges along the pilgrimage routes.

Until the end of the eighteenth century pilgrims or travellers ( peregrini ) of another kind were also a familiar sight on the roads of Europe. These were the university students and professors. Their pilgrimage ( peregrinatio ) was not to Christ's or a saint's tomb, but to a university city where they hoped to find learning, friends, and leisure.

Literary tradition represents medieval students as undisciplined, unprincipled, bohemian, violent, footloose, all for wine, women, and song. Among the goliards there were of course real students, seekers for an alternative culture, members of a medieval intelligentsia in their critical attitude to society they were at one with the motley crowd of clerical debauchees, ribalds, jugglers, jesters, singers, and sham students who peopled the fringes of society. Any study of wandering students must distinguish between writers and singers of carmina burana and students bent on learning and a university degree, with whom this chapter is concerned.


Five Legendary Castle Hotels on The Rhine in Germany

The Rhine River has been the highway of Germany since prehistoric times and fueled the economic development of Europe throughout the ages. Today it is still used by barges to transport goods but these commercial freighters now fight with cruise lines that sail down the UNESCO sanctioned Upper Middle Rhine&mdashships that are filled with passengers gawking at the 40 hilltop castles and fortresses which were built over a period of 1,000 years.

Many of these majestic buildings were built by the original robber barons&mdashlandowners who would extract fees from every ship sailing up or down the river. This practice went on for decades until the Habsburg Monarchy took control of the area and put a stop to some of the more ostentatious thievery. Through the centuries, the castles (barely) survived Napolean's Palatine Wars, the ravages of time and failing family fortunes and today, many of them are picturesque ruins. But a precious few have been restored to their former glory and are now hotels, where, for (mostly) reasonable prices, the hoi polloi can check in after spending their days traipsing through the medieval towns at the foot of the fortresses. As all the castles are within 65 kilometers of each other, rent a car and spend an idyllic week cruising through Germany's wine country and sleeping like a king.

"Of all the many hoary towns lining the narrow shore of the Middle Rhine valley, none is so impressive, so intensely medieval as Oberwesel. " - Professor Edmund Renard, 1922.

Schonburg Castle has been around since the 10th century. It was occupied by the Dukes of Schonburg from the 12- 17th centuries when it was burned down during the Palantine Wars. In the late 19th century the Rhinelander family, of German-American descent, bought the ruins and restored the castle to its former glory. In 1950, the town of Oberwesel acquired the castle and since 1957 the castle has been run by the Hüttl family have been living at the castle on a long-term lease and for three generations have been running it as a hotel and restaurant. The hotel has 25 rooms &ndash many of which have balconies with views of the Rhine and the medieval town below.

Built in the 13th century, the castle is one part of the "Hostile Brothers"&mdashmade up of Liebenstein and the adjoining Sterrenberg&mdashso named as it was formed by two siblings who rowed over their inheritance and thus built separate yet adjoined domiciles. In 1793, Baron Preuschen acquired the castle and it is still owned by his descendants&mdashwho turned the castle's main tower into a hotel in 1995. According to reviews, the guest room on the top floor has a four-poster bed, as well as a spectacular view of the Rhine and the attached Castle Sterrenberg. The castle is also said to be haunted by the ghost of one of the Baronesses of Liebenstein, who apparently likes to hang out late at night near the tower's spiral staircase.

Overlooking the Rhine river and valley, Burg Reichenstein is a classic example of a Rhine castle&mdashwith a bloody robber baron history. First established in the 10th century, by the 13th century it was owned by the thieving Reinbod and Hohenfels families who preyed upon any and all merchants traveling up the Rhine. Their crime spree ended in 1282 when the new Habsburg king lay siege to the castle, starving its occupants&mdashmany of whom ended up hanging from the surrounding trees after surrender. The castle fell into disrepair until bought by a few barons in the 19th century. In the 1930s, Nicolaus Kirsch-Puricelli, the iron industrialist from Rheinböllen, whose wife Olga was a direct descendant of the renowned "Huntsman of the Palatinate," moved in and had the castle rebuilt as a neo-Gothic English style castle residence. Their descendants run the castle hotel now which underwent extensive renovation in 2014. It's a 7-minute walk from Trechtingshausen train station and an 8-minute walk from the storied St. Clement's Chapel, which was said to have been built by the robber barons' relatives to repent for their many sins.

This historic 12th-century Stahleck Castle, towering above the Rhine valley, has had an ironic fate. While once home royals it now opens its rooms to backpackers as a hostel. Overlooking the romantic town of Bacharach, its right out of the pages of a Grimm Brothers' fairytale. Destroyed in the Palatine Wars, the castle was rebuilt in the 20th century based on the results of excavation and a 1646 engraving and turned into a youth hostel. During World War II, it was used by the Nazis first as a Hitler Youth camp and then as a youth prison for teenagers who were seen as not. Sufficiently loyal to the party. Today it welcomes over 42,000 hostellers a year.

While much of the 13th century castle is still technically a ruin, the outer buildings have been rebuilt and are now a luxury hotel and wellness spa. Surrounded by vineyards the castle hotel boasts great views of the river, the town of St. Goar and the legendary Lorelei rock&mdashwhich is said to house the ghost of a deeply unhappy woman who has allegedly lured thousands of sailors throughout the millennia to their deaths.


A HISTORY OF HOSPITALS

The first hospitals were founded in the Ancient World. There were hospitals in India and Sri Lanka before 200 BC. By the 2nd century AD, the Romans had military hospitals called Valetudinaria. In the late 4th century The Roman Empire split in two, east and west. Meanwhile, Christians believed they had a duty to care for the sick and they founded many hospitals in the Eastern Roman Empire in the late 4th century. One of the first was built by Basil of Caesarea (c. 330 – 379) in what is now Turkey.

In Medieval Europe, the church ran hospitals. In 542 a hospital called the Hotel-Dieu was founded in Lyon, France. Another hospital called the Hotel-Dieu was founded in Paris in 1660. The number of hospitals in western Europe greatly increased from the 12th century. In them, monks or nuns cared for the sick as best they could. Meanwhile, during the Middle Ages, there were many hospitals in the Byzantine Empire and the Islamic world.

In Medieval Europe, there were also leper hostels outside towns. There was nothing they could do about this dreadful disease except isolate the sufferers.

After the Reformation almshouses were founded in many English towns and hospitals often began as offshoots of them. During the 18th century, a number of hospitals were founded in England. In 1724 Guys Hospital was founded with a bequest from a merchant named Thomas Guy. St Georges was founded in 1733 and Middlesex Hospital in 1745. Hospitals were also founded in Bristol in 1733, York in 1740, Exeter in 1741, and Liverpool in 1745. The first civilian hospital in America opened in Philadelphia in 1751. Many new hospitals were founded in the 19th century. In London Great Ormond Street Children’s Hospital was founded in 1852.

In the late 18th century and early 19th century, dispensaries were founded in many towns. They were charities where the poor could obtain free medicines.

In 1792 a Frenchman named Dominique-Jean Larrey created an ambulance service for wounded men. The US Ambulance Corps was formed in 1862. The first civilian hospital ambulance service started in Cincinnati, Ohio, USA in 1866.

However, hospitals could do little for the sick except care for them till anesthetics were developed in the 1840s and antiseptic surgery was invented in 1865.


Their Resurgence

These pests are the most detested of the household pests. Infestations are out of control and they can be difficult to eliminate. Previously, extermination treatments were sometimes dangerous to an individual’s health. In the battle of today’s worldwide resurgence, we can learn from the past.

They are famous for hiding in bags or attaching themselves to clothing to travel. Looking back in history we can see that the recent resurgence actually followed a comparable pattern.

The extreme infestations began once again in the late ‘90s. They first appeared in ‘gateway’ cities like Miami, New York, San Francisco and Los Angeles.

Showing Up in Hotels and Motels

In the middle to late ‘90s, they started to appear in more and more motels and hotels. These infestations were not limited to the less expensive establishments. They began showing up in premium hotels, single-family homes, apartments, hospitals and in nursing homes.

Unfortunately, today these bugs are still making a comeback. This is not a slow comeback, but a very fast-paced one. They are national news and there are media exposés uncovering attacks in some of the five star hotels.

Some of the research indicates that as many as 25% of the residents in various cities have reported bug problems. These infestations were generally being seen in the lower-class urban areas.

For the residents in these cities they are not just a nuisance, the infestations are reaching epidemic levels. Throughout history, this kind of intense and widespread infestation has NEVER been seen.

They’re Back

It is extremely clear that the bugs have made a major resurgence. This resurgence has occurred throughout most of the world. Their increase has been acknowledged for Canada, the United States, Australia and in parts of Europe and Africa.


Opportunities in Modern Hotel Industry

Customer Alliance as partners for your review management

The digitalisation and academisation of the hotel industry does, however, present an opportunity to distinguish yourself from your competitors by utilising these new technologies in addition to applying hotel management knowledge.

Nobody can be an expert in all fields and it is well worth distributing some of the responsibilities of hospitality managed onto other strong capable shoulders. As always, it is of utmost importance to choose the right partners.

The hotel industry has come to a point in time where online reviews are often the decisive factor when booking accommodation. Professional review management is vital if you don’t want to fall behind in the competition with other hotels and online travel agencies.

Talk to us and discover new opportunities for your business with our solution. We are the leading German company in the field of review management with over 4,000 satisfied clients.

Don’t be daunted by the rapid evolution in the hotel industry and the customer experience. Together, we can find ways to help you use these developments to your advantage.

We would be more than happy to advise you – for free and with no obligation to buy!


Conclusion

The study of the inn sign needs to be rescued from its current position as the preserve of amateurs there is far more to its history than appealing stories. This is not to suggest that there are not extremely intriguing and sometimes baffling inspirations behind many signs, but the inn sign has far more historical significance than such interpretations allow. This subject could well provide a new way of understanding certain elements of early modern society: it can show us how the inhabitants of towns and villages interacted and identified with their local drinking establishments, and how the signboard was used in their language and indeed their geography. The sign was not just significant in terms of the public house to which it was attached, but was also crucial to the ways in which people understood and navigated their physical environment, allowing us a window into the mental universe of the early modern population. Similarly, the study of signs can provide an insight into how the populace interacted with wider political and social change. Changes of sign reflected a changing world by looking at the signs of drinking establishments we can gain some perception of the viewpoints of their patrons, the majority of which would normally be lost to history. From a wider historical perspective we could see inn signs as a fresh angle on the role of advertising in the consumer revolution. After all, the purpose of a sign, above all its other functions, was to encourage people inside. Advertising is far from a modern phenomenon and inn signs are an important part of its early incarnations that should no longer be overlooked.

Inn signs never lost their place in European, and particularly British, consciousness. They need to be considered separately from shop signs because although they are similar, inn signs have more historical longevity. Public houses were the first buildings to have signs and when the introduction of street numbering all but wiped out the shop sign, they remained. A pamphlet from 1876 demonstrates that, well into the Victorian era, inn signs still held a place in the British consciousness. The author of 'The Blot on the Queen's Head' uses a change of inn sign to satirise the Royal Titles Act. The inn sign in this case becomes a metaphor for the queen herself:

It had been painted many a long year ago, and many able artists had had a hand in it. Storms had burst over it, winds had rattled and shaken it, fiery suns and freezing winters had worked their worst upon it. Yet its glorious and wondrous colours remained fresh (Jenkins, 1876: 14)

The inn sign is no longer a historical curiosity. Perhaps now it can help us navigate our way through the world of early modern European history as it helped so many find their way through the streets and the politics of the time.


Public Space and Social Activism

Students protesting in Paris, May 󈨈. Photograph: Serge Hambourg. Courtesy of Hood Museum of Art

During times of political instability, the public space is charged as a vortex of social discontent. In the 1960’s social and political turmoils were frequently played out in public spaces, which were decorated with the language of protest (banners, murals, graffiti). Protestors frequently appropriated public spaces, and sometimes private ones, to voice their dissent. The notion that citizens can and should take control of open spaces was very vivid in these times, establishing the “right to the city” movement.


Your 20s: Amsterdam, Berlin, Krakow

As a young adult, your 20s are likely to welcome the first overseas adventure without the &lsquorents. These cool cities offer a plethora of backpacker hostels, culture, and nightlife, and are stepping stones for challenging yourself in a new environment, while meeting fellow travelers from all over the globe.

Amsterdam, or Venice of the North with all of its canals, has a romantic side, but younger types will appreciate it for its liberal easy-going lifestyle, brown cafes, the sex, drugs, and rock &lsquon&rsquo roll vibe of the Red Light District (said to be on the verge of a clean-up), live music venues, and bike culture (cycling is the preferred Dutch way to experience Amsterdam and the most popular form of getting around and exploring).

From here, there&rsquos a six-hour train to Berlin, one of Europe&rsquos most fun and eclectic cities. It also boasts an easy train system to explore the vibrant arts and entertainment scene. This lively city is a sprawling hub of clubs, restaurants, and museums, and it&rsquos popular with students, young creative types, writers, and artists who take advantage of its affordable living costs.


Medieval Europe

Medieval hospitals in Europe followed a similar pattern to the Byzantine. They were religious communities, with care provided by monks and nuns. (An old French term for hospital is hôtel-Dieu, “hostel of God.”) Some were attached to monasteries others were independent and had their own endowments, usually of property, which provided income for their support. Some hospitals were multi-functional while others were founded for specific purposes such as leper hospitals, or as refuges for the poor, or for pilgrims: not all cared for the sick. The first Spanish hospital, founded by the Catholic Visigoth bishop Masona in 580AD at Mérida, was a xenodochium designed as an inn for travellers (mostly pilgrims to the shrine of Eulalia of Mérida) as well as a hospital for citizens and local farmers. The hospital’s endowment consisted of farms to feed its patients and guests. From the account given by Paul the Deacon we learn that this hospital was supplied with physicians and nurses, whose mission included the care the sick wherever they were found, “slave or free, Christian or Jew.”

During the late 700s and early 800s, Emperor Charlemagne decreed that those hospitals which had been well conducted before his time and had fallen into decay should be restored in accordance with the needs of the time. He further ordered that a hospital should be attached to each cathedral and monastery.

During the tenth century the monasteries became a dominant factor in hospital work. The famous Benedictine Abbey of Cluny, founded in 910, set the example which was widely imitated throughout France and Germany. Besides its infirmary for the religious, each monastery had a hospital in which externs were cared for. These were in charge of the eleemosynarius, whose duties, carefully prescribed by the rule, included every sort of service that the visitor or patient could require.

As the eleemosynarius was obliged to seek out the sick and needy in the neighborhood, each monastery became a center for the relief of suffering. Among the monasteries notable in this respect were those of the Benedictines at Corbie in Picardy, Hirschau, Braunweiler, Deutz, Ilsenburg, Liesborn, Pram, and Fulda those of the Cistercians at Arnsberg, Baumgarten, Eberbach, Himmenrode, Herrnalb, Volkenrode, and Walkenried.

No less efficient was the work done by the diocesan clergy in accordance with the disciplinary enactments of the councils of Aachen (817, 836), which prescribed that a hospital should be maintained in connection with each collegiate church. The canons were obliged to contribute towards the support of the hospital, and one of their number had charge of the inmates. As these hospitals were located in cities, more numerous demands were made upon them than upon those attached to the monasteries. In this movement the bishop naturally took the lead, hence the hospitals founded by Heribert (died 1021) in Cologne, Godard (died 1038) in Hildesheim, Conrad (died 975) in Constance, and Ulrich (died 973) in Augsburg. But similar provision was made by the other churches thus at Trier the hospitals of St. Maximin, St. Matthew, St. Simeon, and St. James took their names from the churches to which they were attached. During the period 1207–1577 no less than 155 hospitals were founded in Germany.

The Ospedale Maggiore, traditionally named Ca’ Granda (i.e. Big House), in Milan, northern Italy, was constructed to house one of the first community hospitals, the largest such undertaking of the fifteenth century. Commissioned by Francesco Sforza in 1456 and designed by Antonio Filarete it is among the first examples of Renaissance architecture in Lombardy.

The Normans brought their hospital system along when they conquered England in 1066. By merging with traditional land-tenure and customs, the new charitable houses became popular and were distinct from both English monasteries and French hospitals. They dispensed alms and some medicine, and were generously endowed by the nobility and gentry who counted on them for spiritual rewards after death.

According to Geoffrey Blainey, the Catholic Church in Europe provided many of the services of a welfare state: “It conducted hospitals for the old and orphanages for the young hospices for the sick of all ages places for the lepers and hostels or inns where pilgrims could buy a cheap bed and meal”. It supplied food to the population during famine and distributed food to the poor. This welfare system the church funded through collecting taxes on a large scale and possessing large farmlands and estates.


Watch the video: Learn English for Hotel and Tourism: Checking into a hotel. English course by LinguaTV