The Maison Dieu is the remaining building of the Hospital of Blessed Mary of Ospringe, known as Maison Dieu or “God’s House” which was a general Mediæval name for a hospital. Commissioned by Henry III in 1234, its purpose was to care for the sick and aged giving hope that they had not been forsaken by God. Pilgrimage was the legitimate reason for the poor to travel and the Maison Dieu was the last stop on the journey to Canterbury.
Staffed by brethren of the Holy Cross governed by the rule of St. Augustine of Hippo; the master, priests’ and sisters’, care was predominantly prayer, food and shelter. In 1235 assurance had been given that a blind sister would be treated in the same way as the others.
Henry III added a Camera Regis or “King’s chamber” to enable Royalty to stay at the Maison Dieu and many Kings and Queens stayed here.