A t first sight, it seems curious that money should have lain at the root of most of ..l"l.the conflicts over Bethlem. Because of its original purpose, what was by the twentieth century a wealthy hospital, began life as one of the poorest. In the midfourteenth century, the Master and brethren of the House were said to depend on charity for their subsistence. Most of the evidence for its existence at this period comes from royal grants of protections to those whom Bethlem licensed to collect alms on its behalf. I By 1403, the Hospital had other resources, but the Master of the Hospital estimated its income from charitable donations - admittedly, in suspiciously round figures, and he had incentive to exaggerate - at a healthy £! I or so a year. Since both the amount and the focus of charitable giving seems to have changed after the Black Death, and of course money values shifted over time, this figure is not a reliable indicator of earlier levels of donations. What one can say is that by the early fifteenth century alms contributed about half the Hospital and Master's incomes, leaving aside the uncertain contribution made by bequests. It is therefore possible that it was largely charity which kept the Hospital going in the century after its foundation. 2

from quite an early stage, if not from the very beginning. In 1346 a small tenement consisting of a 'chamber, solar [private room] and cellar within the close of the moat [precinct] of the hospital' was let out. But the evidence is scant, and may perhaps reflect how very limited was the Hospital's involvement in letting property within the precinct before the second half of the fourteenth century. The first time we know for certain that tenements, or at least rooms, were being built in order to be leased out is in the 13 80S and 13 90S. It may therefore be that the development of the precinct for commercial purposes did not take place until then.4