Sir William Turner founded his almshouses on the family estates at Kirkleatham June 1676, officially known as Sir William Turner’s Hospital it was never a medical establishment. The word ‘hospital’ is used in the old-fashioned sense, meaning a place offering hospitality. That hospital was in the form of free accommodation for 10 elderly men, 10 elderly women and up to 20 orphaned boys and girls.
The east wing on the left as you enter, originally housed the elderly women and the schoolgirls. The women each had a ground floor cottage and the first floor provided a classroom, museum and library for the girls. The men and boys were similarly accommodated in the west wing. Statues set in niches at first floor level near the entrance to the courtyard indicate where the men and women were accommodated.
The houses either side of the chapel at the head of the courtyard were for the schoolmistress and the headmaster of the school. Small statues on the corners of the chapel roof indicate the accommodation for the boys and girls in their attic dormitories above the teachers’ rooms. Management of the estate was the responsibility of a chaplain, a master and a mistress.
The school closed in the 1940s and the entire building has been converted to provide 25 flats for people in their retirement years.