"The Castle Rising Sisters"
Photograph by Unknown (England)
This photograph is commonly titled "Welsh Witches' Tea Party", but the subjects are not witches, nor are they Welsh. They are posed at Trinity Hospital, Castle Rising in Northampton, England. Trinity Hospital, Castle Rising was an Almshouse Charity, a place for unmarried (or widowed) poor women over age 56 to live.
The original requirements (circa 1600) were: “They must be of honest life and conversation, religious, grave and discreet, able to read, if such a one be had, a single woman, her place to be void on marriage, to be of 56 years at least, no common beggar, harlot, scold, drunkard, haunter of taverns, inns and alehouses.”
Residents of Trinity Hospital were asked to go to prayers three times each day to say the Lord’s Prayer, the Creed and a prayer ordered by the Founder for himself and his noble family.
Fast-forward to the present day and the criteria of this almshouse charity is not quite as strict. The only qualifying requirement is for single women from parishes of Castle Rising, North Wootton, and Roydon who are in reduced financial circumstances. There’s no dress code these days either, yet the residents take great pride in dressing in the “uniform” (such as in the picture) provided by Henry Howard, Earl of Northampton for special occasions such as Founder’s Day.
Rectangle Canvas Wrap
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