Unveiling of the St. NICHOLAS PLAQUE to ANTHONY TROLLOPE
The inspiration for Anthony Trollope’s novel “The Warden” was recognised with the unveiling of a Blue Plaque at St. Nicholas Hospital in Salisbury on 25th October commemorating 800 years of service and worship on this site, the buildings’ unique heritage, and the connection to the novel by Anthony Trollope.
The unveiling ceremony was performed by David Bartlett, Chairman of the Board of Trustees of St. Nicholas, and Dame Rosemary Spencer, Patron of the Salisbury Civic Society, supported by Councillor Atiqul Hoque, Mayor of Salisbury and the Master of St Nicholas Hospital, The Venerable Caroline Baston.
Following the unveiling, guests were invited by Caroline Baston to a talk in the medieval chapel given by David Bartlett and Eric Williams, followed by refreshments.
David Bartlett spoke about the founding of St. Nicholas Hospital by Bishop Bingham as a hospital in the 13th century, though its origin may have been much earlier. Bishop Bingham made sure that the hospital appointed a Warden in 1244, and declared that the purpose of the hospital was to receive, help and maintain the poor of Christ, the weak and the sick. The complex was restored by William Butterfield and others between 1850 and 1884 and continues as an almshouse to the present day.
Trollope enthusiast, Eric Williams representing the Trollope Society, described how the medieval almshouse complex is widely acknowledged to be the inspiration for Hiram’s Hospital in The Warden by Anthony Trollope. In his autobiography he writes in July 1852, “It was then more than twelve months since I had stood for an hour on the little bridge in Salisbury, and had made out to my satisfaction the spot on which Hiram’s Hospital should stand”.
This is the third blue plaque to be unveiled by the Salisbury Civic Society this year, bringing historical characters, buildings and events to the forefront of Salisbury’s rich history.