Leper Chapel of St Mary Magdalene, Cambridge

The Leper Chapel of St Mary Magdalene was part of the buildings of a leper hospital that stood a little beyond the outskirts of the city on the road to Bury St Edmunds.

Parts of the east wall are original, but most of the rest of the chapel was rebuilt in the 13th century, although it still retains many Romanesque features.

In 1199 King John gave a royal dispensation to hold a three-day fair on Stourbridge Common to support the hospital. Stourbridge bridge became the largest fair in medieval Europe and the chaplaincy at the leper hospital became one of the richest posts in the church.

In 1279 the hospital ceased to take in new lepers, and the few that remained were transferred to a hospital at Ely. In 1546 the chapel was closed and the property was taken over by the crown. During the 18th century the chapel was used as a public house during the time of the fair.

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