In 1190 the Hospital of St. John the Baptist was founded on the site of the current Bluecoat building. This was an ecclesiastical foundation, with a prior, brethren and lay servants living under a religious rule, and in 1241 permission was granted for the building of a chapel.
The hospital had a chequered history with several phases of neglect and impoverishment, but it is known that around the middle of the fourteenth century there were thirteen beds kept ready for the city’s poor and that each inmate was to receive a daily allowance of a loaf of bread, a dish of pottage, half a gallon of ale and a piece of meat or fish.
The almshouses behind The Bluecoat building, the direct successors to this hospital, still provide accommodation today.
The hospital was demolished in 1644 when all the hospital’s stone buildings, chapel and the surrounding wall were pulled down (so as not to provide cover to the Parliamentary forces then besieging the city). Nothing remains of this original hospital building.