Wooden model of a 1400s alms bowl, England, 1917-1920

1917-1920 in England

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A635020 Wooden model of 15th century leper's alms bowl, English, 1917-1920, A635019 Wooden model of 15th century
Science Museum Group Collection
© The Board of Trustees of the Science Museum

Wooden model of 15th century leper's alms bowl, English, 1917-1920

This alms bowl has six drain holes and may have been used to give money or food while keeping the donor at a ‘safe’ distance.

This example was made for an exhibition and is a copy of one used at St Nicholas Hospital in Harbledown, Kent. It was founded in 1084 by Archbishop Lanfranc for 32 people. The hospital would have been staffed by members of religious orders; to expose oneself to infection was seen as a mark of holiness.

Henry Wellcome did his utmost to acquire objects for his collection. He was not always successful. Undeterred, he would seek permission to have copies made of those objects he could not acquire. Shown here with a similar example (A635019).


Public Health & Hygiene
Object Number:
alms bowl
  • furnishing and equipment
  • container - receptacle
  • ceremonial container

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