Skip to content
  • The hospital was founded in 1330 by Henry Plantagenet, the 3rd Earl of Lancaster and Leicester
  • Behind the building is a herb garden where, in the past medicinal plants and herbs were grown for patients
  • Many parts of the building have undergone reconstruction at various times over the last few hundred years

Founded by a Plantagenet

The Hospital of the Honour of God and the Glorious Virgin and All Saints (Trinity Hospital and Chapel) was founded in 1330 by Henry Plantagenet, the 3rd Earl of Lancaster and Leicester, who was a grandson of King Henry III and chief advisor to King Edward III.  Henry's predecessors, the earls of Leicester and Lancaster, had possessed the nearby castle since the 12th century.

The hospital was built to care for the poor and infirm of Leicester and could house fifty patients as well as staff including a warden, chaplains and nurses. The first hospital was a long, one storey hall divided by an arched aisle, with a chapel on the end.  This open design ensured that all patients could see and hear services from their beds.

The tomb of Lady Mary Hervey

Today the chapel is the oldest and least altered section of the building. Visitors can see a number of small niches in the walls, which would have once held statues and holy water basins and the floor tiles around the altar are original. A monument to the left of the altar is almost certainly the tomb of Lady Mary Hervey, who was governess to the children of Henry IV.

Mary was a generous patron of the hospital – her name can be found on the first benefactors’ board. In fact, the hospital attracted much patronage and support from local people, which can be seen from the boards on display in the Chapel.

Trinity chapel 03
The tomb in Trinity Chapel which most likely belongs to Lady Mary Hervey, governess to the children of Henry IV. Redpix Photography

Georgian expansion

In the late 1700s, the crumbling medieval hospital was rebuilt at the expense of King George III, creating a two storey building with rooms for staff, kitchens, washrooms and sitting room. The tall pointed arches from this phase of building can still be seen around the entrance.

The building experienced further changes in 1901, when increasing industry in the area created demand for a new road leading down to the river. This made it necessary to demolish one end of the hospital and rebuild it at an angle, a feature still apparent today.

Becoming part of the campus

In 1994 the hospital was purchased by De Montfort University and they moved the staff and patients to modern premises a short distance away on Western Boulevard. The hospital and chapel buildings now form part of the De Montfort University campus housing the Chancellor and Vice-Chancellor’s offices as well as other services.

Behind the hospital was a garden which grew medicinal herbs for patients. This space was recently regenerated to resemble an Elizabethan style garden by the De Montfort University Green Future project to improve local biodiversity, provide cooking herbs and attract wildlife to campus.

Trinity Chapel and the Herb Garden are open to the public for on Heritage Sundays, find out more.

Visitor information
Public access inside on special event days


Roman Leicester

(47- 500) A military fort was erected, attracting traders and a growing civilian community to Leicester (known as Ratae Corieltauvorum to the Romans). The town steadily grew throughout the reign of the Romans.

Tudor & Stuart Leicester

(1500 – 1700) The wool trade flourished in Leicester with one local, a former mayor named William Wigston, making his fortune. During the English Civil War a bloody battle was fought as the forces of King Charles I laid siege to the town.

Georgian Leicester

(1700 – 1837) The knitting industry had really stared to take hold and Leicester was fast becoming the main centre of hosiery manufacture in Britain. This new prosperity was reflected throughout the town with broader, paved streets lined with elegant brick buildings and genteel residences.

Victorian Leicester

(1837 – 1901) The industrial revolution had a huge effect on Leicester resulting in the population growing from 40,000 to 212,000 during this period. Many of Leicester's most iconic buildings were erected during this time as wealthy Victorians made their mark on the town.

Edwardian Leicester

(1901 – 1910) Electric trams came to the streets of Leicester and increased literacy among the citizens led to many becoming politicised. The famous 1905 ‘March of the Unemployed to London’ left from Leicester market when 30,000 people came to witness the historic event.

Modern Leicester

(1973 – present day) Industry was still thriving in the city during the 1970s, with the work opportunities attracting many immigrants from all over the world. While industry has declined in recent years, excellent transport links have made Leicester an attractive centre for many businesses. The City now has much to be proud of including its sporting achievements and the richness of its cultural heritage and diversity.

Change time period...
  • Roman Leicester
  • Medieval Leicester
  • Tudor & Stuart Leicester
  • Georgian Leicester
  • Victorian Leicester
  • Edwardian Leicester
  • Early 20th Century Leicester
  • Modern Leicester
story of leicester
Your ultimate guide to visiting the city