“…; and the tone of the chapel bell, coming across the Valley of the Brent, still reminds me, morning and evening, of the weft-remembered and mingled congregation of the afflicted, and who are then assembling, humble yet hopeful, and not forgotten, and not spiritually deserted.”
As a function of the Christian ethic, monasteries in Britain from the Middle Ages onwards set aside a section for the care of the sick. The monastic tradition ensured that the spiritual needs of the physically sick were well taken care of: chapels formed an integral part of the building complex and chaplains were, of course, constantly on tap. The mentally sick were less well served, however. For example, the second building to be occupied by St Luke's Hospital, London, opened in 1787, did not even boast a chapel, a distinction shared with Bethlem, the other major charity asylum, then occupying a purpose-built structure in Moorgate in the City of London.
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