St Mary Spital, London: reconstruction of canons' infirmary
This is a draft reconstruction drawing based on the excavated evidence for the range of buildings which developed from the original late 13th/early 14th century two-room canons' infirmary (click on image to enlarge).
By Dissolution the area had developed into a complex of timber framed buildings around a
semi-enclosed courtyard and may have ceased to function as an infirmary.
The excavations at Spitalfields between 1998 and 2009 were just one part of a long campaign of excavations in the area by the Museum of London. The main MoLA excavations, led by Chris Thomas, uncovered a Roman burial ground, this was covered by the remains of the Augustinian priory hospital of St Mary Spital. The east end of the Priory church was excavated, as was the Canons' Infirmary, fishponds, gardens and much of the Outer Precinct which contained numerous tenement buildings. The main cemetery was also excavated, with over 10,000 individual skeletons excavated, possibly the largest archaeologically excavated cemetery in the world. Up to 100 archaeologists worked on the site for over a year.
Chiz Harward was one of the principal supervisors of the main excavations, and is co-author of the forthcoming medieval and post-medieval monographs.