Mitchell's Hospital Old Aberdeen

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search

Coordinates: 57°10′08″N 2°06′13″W / 57.168819°N 2.1035680°W / 57.168819; -2.1035680

Mitchell's Hospital 2012[1]
Mitchell's Hospital Bell Tower - foundation date and the date of the early Twentieth Century alterations
Plaque in The Cathedral Church of St Machar, Old Aberdeen commemorating David Mitchell.

Mitchell's Hospital, Old Aberdeen, in Old Aberdeen, Scotland, was founded by the philanthropist David Mitchell in 1801 as follows: " .. from a regard for the inhabitants of the city of Old Aberdeen and its ancient college and a desire in these severe times to provide lodging, maintenance and clothing for a few aged relicks and maiden daughters of decayed gentlemen merchants or trade burgesses of the said city.. ". See the text of the 1801 Mortification[2] or the conditions of the endowment.[3] The Hospital is owned and managed by the University of Aberdeen, Aberdeen City Council[4] and the Cathedral Church of St Machar in Old Aberdeen. The origins of the Hospital are due to various attempts by the Incorporated Trades and Merchants in Old Aberdeen to provide a "care home" for their elderly and infirm members and their "relicks".[5]

From 1801 until the beginning of the twentieth century, the hospital served as a refuge for "relicks"[6] of Old Aberdeen Trade Burgesses. Mitchell's mortification laid down very specific conditions for eligibility. One of which gave preference in selecting residents to those who had the name "Mitchell". Originally, the residents lived a communal life with a strict system of management and care.[7] A Board of Management carried out Mitchell's wishes to the letter. The operation of the hospital has been modified twice in the twentieth century to provide self-contained flats for elderly ladies. However, the original mortification by Mitchell determines its overall operation - within twenty-first century financial constraints.[8]

David Mitchell[edit]

David Mitchell came from a large family in Old Aberdeen. He had nine brothers and sisters.[9] There is a record of his baptism on 24 September 1731.[10] His father was Robert Mitchell, possibly a vintner and his mother was Christian Forbes. He studied at Marischal College in Aberdeen from 1748, graduating in 1752.[11] It appears that he was the only member of the family who studied at either Kings or Marischal Colleges. For almost fifty years very little more is known about him. It is not until he intimates his wishes to found as hospital in Old Aberdeen that any secure record for him occurs. It is likely he spent his life in Holloway Down in Essex and he owned what was then called Holloway Down Farm. The village of Holloway Down is now in the Leytonstone/Waltham Forrest district of London. It is probable that he was a Stock Broker.[12] His other interests were in insurance[13] and shipping. He was the owner of at least three ships that traded for the East India Company.[14] Mitchell is recorded as investing £1,500, in 1797, to a Government "Loyalty Bond".[15] His brother Alexander came to London and worked for the East India Company as a ship's purser on Mitchell's ships. Alexander died in 1788. It is probable that Alexander had a son called Alexander and one daughter.[16] David Mitchell's sister Mary came to live in London. The only record of her time there appears in an obituary from 1807.[17] David's life-style in London may be judged by his effects when he died in 1803. David and his brother Alexander together with Mary are buried in St Paulinus Church, Crayford, Kent.

St Paulinus Church, Crayford Kent.
The Cathedral Church of St Machar, Old Aberdeen - - burial site for the Mitchell family (David, Alexander and Mary are buried in Crayford Kent)

Curiously David didn’t leave a will. A sense of his standing comes from a public notice by an administrator selling his farm lists the farm as follows:

'Lot 1 A very compact and desirable detached leasehold residence pleasantly situated on Holloway Down five miles from London on the road leading to Epping Forrest. The premises stand removed a short distance from the road with fore court; excellent pasture and kitchen gardens fully planted with fruit tress; and well cropped orchard and paddock; with comfortable cottage nearby adjoining; with coach house, stabling and lofts and various outbuildings, tack years etc.; well supplied with fine water comprising in the whole five acres with right of common.

Lot 2 A piece of copyhold land in front of the above on the opposite side of the road held of the Manor of Wanstead and Stonehall.

While he did not own a large estate, he appears to have had a very comfortable life as a gentleman bachelor.[18] Before he endowed the hospital, he acquired a family coat of arms.[19] It is not clear how this happened as he adopted the arms of Mitchell of Craigend in Stirlingshire.[20] He was not given any rights to have his own. There is no known link between the Mitchell's of Old Aberdeen and the Stirlingshire family. It appears that David Mitchell adopted the Mitchell of Craigend coat of arms late in life – perhaps when he was thinking about his estate and legacy.[21]

Mitchell's claimed Coat of Arms - Cathedral Church of St Machar, Old Aberdeen

A further act of Mitchell's generosity was the endowment of six studentships to Marischal College in 1801.[22] As a result of his endowments of the Hospital and Marischal, he was elected a Burgess of Old Aberdeen and "new" Aberdeen[23] and granted an honorary LL D degree from Marischal College in 1801.[24]

Early Days of the Hospital[edit]

On or about 19 November 1800 the Principal of King's College Old Aberdeen, Dr. Roderick MacLeod, received a communication that ".. an unknown gentleman had an intention of founding and endowing an Hospital for the maintenance of 10 old women of this city ..…". This brief entry, in the records of Mitchell's Hospital Old Aberdeen, records the creation the "Auld Maids Hospital".[25] While David Mitchell was ".. an unknown gentleman.." the proposal was warmly received. The College contacted the Merchant Society, the Magistrates and the Trades Council to seek support for "… founding and endowing an Hospital for the maintenance of ten old women of this city ..…". The residents were to be ".. five aged relicks and five maiden daughters of decayed gentlemen or merchants or trade burgesses… " William Jack, the Sub-Principal of Kings College reported that the Magistrates and Town Council of Old Aberdeen had agreed unanimously that land would be acquired and granted gratis to the College for use by a Hospital. James Stronach, Convener of the Trades Council said they prepared to contribute their share to have a hospital built. James Jaffrey, Clerk to the Merchants Society responded that the Society considered the matter to be of the highest importance and would an appoint members to a committee to further the build of a hospital. In a very short time the idea of a hospital for aged relicks and maiden daughters was turned into practice.

Part of the Mitchell's Archive - Sederunt Volume 1

Mitchell gave by Deed of Mortification dated 25 May 1801, the sum of £5500 consolidated 3% Government annuities for the purpose.[26] Of the total sum the interest on £500 was to be allocated to repairs to the building. The hospital was " ".. for all time is to be called Mitchell's Hospital..". The Mortification was a very detailed document that determined how the hospital was to run, who were eligible for residence, what they were to wear and what type of food was to be provided. The selection of residents was very precisely drawn. The Mortification specified that the ladies had to be virtuous and of good moral character ".. of the names of Mitchell or Forbes in equal numbers…".[27] In addition the residents were to wear " gowns of a deep blue colour.." resulting in residents being called " .. auld maids in blue gowns..". The issue of eligibility was an early problem for the Governors. Exceptions were made, in particular for a Christian Mitchell. This lady was not related to the Mitchell family but was a "name-daughter"[28] after the founder's mother Christian Forbes. The Governors decided to make an exception for her but not to allow this to be a precedent for others. Along with the Mortification Mitchell executed on 19 August 1801 further detailed Regulations containing minute directions as to the management of the hospital, the admission, qualification, behaviour and even diet of the residents together with the appointment of a governess or matron and the duties of a board of Managers or Trustees.[29]

The trustees were to be drawn from King's College, the Church of Old Machar, the town council of Old Aberdeen and the Trades Council. Nothing was left to chance. On 5 January 1802, the Trustees met and agreed an advert be placed in the Aberdeen Journal and on the principal gate of the hospital with an entry date set for the last Monday in January, 1802 The Governors met on the 23rd and 25th Of January and admitted nine women. Two of the applicants were rejected ".. though their moral character, age and indigence was fully ascertained.." because they could not provide proof of their husband's link to the Incorporated Trades. The state of one of those accepted, a Mary Weir, underscores the real need that was being met. A minute of the Governor's on 2 February 1802 records that she ".. came over from the new town in a cart, she being unable to walk on account of the poor state of her health..". By 20 May of that year, a Governess had been appointed after a detailed exchange of letters with the founder. Mitchell continued to take a keen interest from where he lived in London about the residents, the building, its insurance and its boundaries until he died in 1803. His immediate family became involved in providing for the ladies and the hospital's organization. Mitchell's nephew, Alexander Mitchell provided a large hand bell and a clock to alert residents to the time for meals and the closure of the doors at night time. His sister Mary was very insistent that a long wooden bench seat be provided in Old Machar Church for the ladies to occupy on Sundays. An unnamed brother provided a large marble table for the dining room. This involvement was to continue after Mitchell's death with marble tablets commemorating his generosity erected in the public room of the hospital and also in the Old Machar church. In addition, horn beakers with silver rims were given to the hospital which were used to issue drinks to the residents. These beakers were used by the "auld maids", the Governors, the Matron and visitors at an annual Founders Day celebration on 31 December each year.

Toasts to be said at Founder's Dinner 31 December - each year.

Whatever the administrative problems were that caused the eighteenth century hospital to fail, Mitchell's Hospital provided a secure basis for care of the "auld relicks". The Merchants and Trades of Old Aberdeen were now secure in having a properly funded institution to meet the needs of their community.

Mitchell's Hospital Excerpt from Rules and Regulations in 1801

See also[edit]

References[edit]

Anderson, P. J., New Spalding Club (Aberdeen Scotland), et al. (1898). Fasti academiae Mariscallanae Aberdonensis. Aberdeen, New Spalding Club.

East India Company. and A. Farrington (1999). Catalogue of East India Company ships' journals and logs, 1600-1834. London, British Library.

Farrington, A. and British Library. (2002). Trading places : the East India Company and Asia 1600-1834. London, British Library.

Hackman, R. d. (2001). Ships of the East India Company. Gravesend, World Ship Society.

Hardy, C. and East India Company. (1811). A register of ships employed in the service of the East India Company from 1760-1810. London,.

Marischal College and University., P. J. Anderson, et al. (1889). Fasti Academiae Mariscallanae Aberdonensis : selections from the records of the Marischal College and University, MDXCIII-MDCCCLX. Aberdeen, Printed for the New Spalding Club.

Maxwell, A. S. (1986). Monumental inscriptions, Old Machar churchyard, Aberdeen, Scotland. Aberdeen.

Munro, A. M. (1899). Records of Old Aberdeen, 1157-1891. Aberdeen, New Spalding Club.

Munro, A. M. and New Spalding Club (Aberdeen Scotland) (1899). Records of Old Aberdeen, MCLVII-MDCCCXCI (MCCCXCVIII-MCMIII) Vol. 2. Aberdeen, Printed for the New Spalding Club.

Unknown (1800). A List of Brokers of the City of London at Michaelmas 1800. London, Henry Fenwick, 63 Snow Hill London.

Citations[edit]

  1. ^ https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Aberdeen_Map_24_1_14_Wiki.jpg
  2. ^ A Mortification is a legal document in Scots Law that sets out the terms for a gift of money. Mortification has a wide use in terms of bequests. In Scots Law, it is also used in the context of lands given formerly to the church for religious purposes, or since the Reformation for charitable or public uses.
  3. ^ ("Deed of Mortification and Regulations for Mitchell's Hospital, Old Aberdeen" (Aberdeen: G. Cornwall and Sons, 1875), p. 3).
  4. ^ The City or Burgh of Old Aberdeen ( founded 26 December 1489) and the "Royal City of Aberdeen" ( Founded about 1319) were merged into the City of Aberdeen in 1891
  5. ^ See Aberdeen Trades Hospitals.
  6. ^ "relick" is the Scots/ Doric term for a widow.
  7. ^ See the book by Katherine Trail for a vivid description of the "Founders Dinner" - Katherine E. Trail, Reminiscences of Old Aberdeen. [with Plates, Including Portraits.] (Aberdeen, 1932).
  8. ^ The origins of this hospital may be seen within the context of the medieval hospital - sometimes known as a "Maison Dieu" - "God's House", or Bedehouse. The Pre-Reformation sub-monastic life of the residents had disappeared by the beginning of the nineteenth century. However the Auld Maids in Mitchell's Hospital lead a frugal life.
  9. ^ George (16 November 1923); Ann (29 December 1926); Walter (14 July 1928); Mary (b. 15 January 1970: d. ?/6/1807); David (27 September 1931); Isobel (7 July 1933); Alexander (23 March 1937); Margaret (22 December 1942); Elisabeth (2 October 1942); Walter (died 21 August 1928). See Maxwell, A. S. (1986). Monumental inscriptions, Old Machar churchyard, Aberdeen, Scotland. Aberdeen.
  10. ^ Scotland's People - 168/OB 0030 2233 Old Machar)
  11. ^ Marischal College and University., P. J. Anderson, et al. (1889). Fasti Academiae Mariscallanae Aberdonensis : selections from the records of the Marischal College and University, MDXCIII-MDCCCLX. Aberdeen, Printed for the New Spalding Club, Anderson, P. J., New Spalding Club (Aberdeen Scotland), et al. (1898). Fasti academiae Mariscallanae Aberdonensis. Aberdeen, New Spalding Club. p320
  12. ^ The only clear evidence comes from the Deed of Mortification for the Hospital. The Deed was witnessed by Thomas Barnes and Thomas T Ellis from the Stock Exchange, London 15 April 1801). A list of Registered Brokers does not include him or the other names from the Mortification. See, Unknown (1800). A List of Brokers of the City of London at Michaelmas 1800. London, Henry Fenwick, 63 Snow Hill London. Searches of the Guildhall Library in London have not found any reference to David Mitchell.
  13. ^ See notice in Morning Chronicle, 16 January 1805 – seeking a Director to fill a vacancy in the Imperial Insurance Company. David Mitchell is listed as an owner in Hardy, C. and East India Company. (1811). A register of ships employed in the service of the East India Company from 1760-1810. London
  14. ^ See the Records of the East India Company. ibid., East India Company. and A. Farrington (1999). Catalogue of East India Company ships' journals and logs, 1600-1834. London, British Library, Hackman, R. d. (2001). Ships of the East India Company. Gravesend, World Ship Society, Farrington, A. and British Library. (2002). Trading places : the East India Company and Asia 1600-1834. London, British Library. Mitchell was the managing owner of at least two or three ships – including the Grosvenor and the Fort William. The Fort William had two successful trips: 1785/6 Madras and China. Capt George Simson. Downs 16 Jan 1786 - 10 Feb Madeira - 22 Jun Madras - 14 Aug Penang - 28 Aug Malacca - 29 Sep Whampoa - 6 Feb 1787 Second Bar - 14 Jun St Helena - 21 Aug Long Reach. 1788/9 Bombay and China. Capt George Simson. Downs 13 Dec 1788 - 3 Apr 1789 St Augustine's Bay - 3 Jun Bombay - 7 Sep Malacca - 11 Oct Whampoa - 27 Jan 1790 Second Bar - 19 Jun St Helena - 28 Aug Long Reach at the National Archives - Likewise the Grosvenor had three trips: 1767/8 Madras and China. Capt David Saunders. Downs 31 Dec 1767 - 19 Apr 1768 Johanna - 2 Jun Madras - 4 Aug Malacca - 4 Sep Whampoa - 16 Dec Second Bar - 19 Mar 1769 St Helena - 28 May Downs. ; 1770/1 Madras and China. Capt David Saunders. Downs 22 Jan 1771 - 6 Jun Johanna - 1 Jul Madras - 28 Aug Malacca - 25 Sep Whampoa - 5 Feb 1772 Second Bar - 16 Jun St Helena - 29 Jun Ascension - 30 Aug Downs. ; 1774/5 Madras and China. Capt David Saunders. Downs 18 Jan 1775 - 21 May Johanna - 22 Jun Madras - 28 Aug Malacca - 4 Oct Whampoa - 22 Dec Second Bar - 9 May 1776 St Helena - 18 Aug Downs. (See [IOR/L/MAR/B/671A - IOR/L/MAR/B/677C] )
  15. ^ See England Bank of, 'A List of the Names and Residencies of the Subscribers to the Loan of £18,000,000 for the Service of the Year 1797', s.n., (1797).; p70, (House of Commons Papers)
  16. ^ The archives of Mitchell's Hospital records an Alexander Mitchell in Sederunt Book 1, p 37
  17. ^ (Gentleman's Magazine, June 1807, p 594) – "31st May, in Powis-place, aged 78, after a lingering illness, Mrs. Mary Mitchell, formerly of Aberdeen, and late of Holloway Down, Essex; whose exemplary piety and benevolence will long be remembered."
  18. ^ There is no known marriage certificate or record of a wife or family.
  19. ^ … blazoned as Sable a Fess between three Mascles Or in chief a dagger erected point upward proper within a Bordure Argent charged with eight Cinquefoils Gules…" with hand holding writing pen. Motto "Favente Deo Supero" - "By the Favour of God I succeed
  20. ^ Mitchell, Alexander, of Craigend [3 March 1712]. Apprentice to Charles Bell.- Son of John Mitchell of Craigend, Stirlingshire. Born about 1678. Married 24 April 1713, Alison, daughter of Alexander Livingstone of Parkhall, Stirlingshire. Died 14 December 1738. The Arms are those on record in the Public Register of All Arms and Bearings in Scotland in name of 'Alexander Mitchell of Mitchell Sometime designed of Craigend Writer To his Majesty's Signet', with the motto "Favente Deo Supero" and the crest showing 'a hand holding a writing pen Proper'
  21. ^ The Mitchell lair in the cemetery of the parish church of St Machar has the Mitchell of Craigend coat of arms cut on the flat tombstone. See Maxwell, A. S. (1986). Monumental inscriptions, Old Machar churchyard, Aberdeen, Scotland. Aberdeen, The Author. The same coat of arms is seen in the tablets erected in Crayford Church in Kent. The memorial in St Machar Cathedral has words by the minister of St Machar, Dr Skene Ogilvy. The inscription is: "Conscientia bene actae vitae multorumque benefactorum recordatio jucundissima est" - "Awareness of life well spent is a delightful reminder of many benefits".
  22. ^ Marischal College and University., P. J. Anderson, et al. (1889). Fasti Academiae Mariscallanae Aberdonensis : selections from the records of the Marischal College and University, MDXCIII-MDCCCLX. Aberdeen, Printed for the New Spalding Club, Anderson, P. J., New Spalding Club (Aberdeen Scotland), et al. (1898). Fasti academiae Mariscallanae Aberdonensis. Aberdeen, New Spalding Club.
  23. ^ Munro, A. M. (1899). Records of Old Aberdeen, 1157-1891ibid., Munro, A. M. and New Spalding Club (Aberdeen Scotland) (1899). Records of Old Aberdeen, MCLVII-MDCCCXCI (MCCCXCVIII-MCMIII) Vol. 2. Aberdeen, Printed for the New Spalding Club.
  24. ^ Marischal College and University., P. J. Anderson, et al. (1889). Fasti Academiae Mariscallanae Aberdonensis : selections from the records of the Marischal College and University, MDXCIII-MDCCCLX. Aberdeen, Printed for the New Spalding Club, Anderson, P. J., New Spalding Club (Aberdeen Scotland), et al. (1898). Fasti academiae Mariscallanae Aberdonensis. Aberdeen, New Spalding Club.
  25. ^ Volume 1, Sederunt Book, Mitchell's Hospital Archives
  26. ^ Consols or consolidated annuities are perpetual bonds issued by the Government that bring a defined rate of return in perpetuity. The UK Government first issued the 3% consols in 1757.
  27. ^ Forbes was the maiden name of David Mitchell's mother. This particular condition was to prove difficult for the Managers to the Hospital to maintain over the years.
  28. ^ Someone named after another person but not necessarily related to them
  29. ^ The Managers or Governors were specified as: The Principal, the sub-Principal and Professor of Divinity of King's College; the first and second ministers of Old Machar (formerly St Machar's cathedral); two persons of either sex from the Town Council of the city of Old Aberdeen and the Convener of the Incorporated Trades of Old Aberdeen.