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Tree Planting At Abbot’s Hospital Commemorates Platinum Jubilee and a 400th Anniversary

Published on: 14 Dec, 2022
Updated on: 15 Dec, 2022

Abbot’s Hospital has celebrated 400 years of its community in the heart of Guildford. 

While the first brick was laid in 1619 and the building’s 40th anniversary marked in 2019, 1622 was when the first residents moved into the almshouse. 400 years ago this year they established the community that brought the building to life and that continues to flourish today.

The Lord Lieutenant of Surrey, Michael More Molyneux (far right), and Jacob and Phoebe Keffler are joined by the Mayor and Mayoress of Guildford, Dennis and Mary Booth, chair of governors Colin Mullis and Ian Bowler, master of Abbot’s Hospital.

The master of Abbot’s Hospital, Ian Bowler, reports that in a service of celebration at Holy Trinity Church in Guildford, the Revd Jonathan Hedgecock gave thanks for “the thread of constancy, consistency and continuity that has run throughout 400 years of history in the life of Abbot’s Hospital”, a community living together in “mildness and love”, reflecting Archbishop George Abbot’s instructions.

The four centuries of Abbot’s Hospital’s service to the people of Guildford are illustrated in the ceramic murals at the top of Jeffries Passage. Through all the changes depicted there, Abbot’s community has continued.

Looking to the future, the celebrations of this 400th anniversary year concluded with the planting in the hospital’s garden of trees donated by Abbot’s governors.

One tree marks the platinum jubilee of our late Queen Elizabeth II and is given added poignancy by her recent death.

This tree was planted by the Lord Lieutenant of Surrey, Michael More Molyneux. For the second tree, which marks the anniversary of the arrival of the first residents, the Lord Lieutenant was joined by two grandchildren of current residents, emphasising the community at the heart of Abbot’s across its history and into its future.

Abbot’s Hospital is an almshouse which provides accommodation for older people of limited means with a Guildford connection. It was never a ‘hospital’ in the modern sense of the term. It has since 1622 provided ‘hospitality’ and continues to do that today.  

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