Who We Are

Trinity Hospital has been established for over 340 years and has been a prominent Alms House institution in the town since the 17th Century.

It was set up from the Will of John Darrel, a local doctor, in 1671, to provide ‘hospitality’ to 15 ‘Poor Bachelors or Widowers of good Character, who are not less than 50 years of age’.

The Charity offers generous hospitality and benefits to 15 gentlemen now as it did 340 years ago. The Hospital offers ‘hospitality’ to its residents, and is not a traditional hospital, which provides medical care.

The residents of Trinity Hospital, known as ‘Brethren’ are required to be able to look after themselves. However, there is a staff presence on site, the Matron, who is the point of contact for the Brethren to assist them and to check on their welfare on a daily basis.

Overall responsibility for the Charity is vested in the sole Trustee, who is the person holding the post of Sub Dean of Lincoln. Currently, the Trustee is Canon John Patrick. The Charity is managed on a day to day basis by the Bailiff and Estates Manager, Bob Rabagliati, who is assisted in the Estates Office by Mrs Liz Kirton, the administration officer, and Mr David Bean, the accounts administrator.

Miss Helen Lems is the Scheme Manager (Matron), resident at the hospital, and Canon Dick Lewis is the Chaplain to the Brethren. He officiates at our daily weekday services in the Hospital Chapel and looks after the spiritual welfare of the Brethren.

The Hospital combines the ancient traditions followed since the 17th century with contemporary facilities offering a comfortable and fulfilling lifestyle for the Brethren, paid for under the provisions of the will of John Darrel, the Charity's founder.

trinity hospital retford about

He endowed the charity with a significant portfolio of property and land, and a Bailiff was to be appointed to manage this estate. The income generated from the rental of the properties was intended to cover the necessary repairs of the buildings, including the Hospital itself, and be sufficient to sustain the Charity in providing benefits to the Brethren.

The estate continues to be managed in this way today. The Charity holds a sound reputation in Retford and many of its buildings are recognisable by the Red Tilestone paint which adorn the doors and windows of its properties.


Trinity Hospital Brethren

The 15 Brethren occupy almshouse cottages in Trinity Hospital, located on Hospital Road in Retford.

The 'Hospital' is not a hospital as we know them today, but a beautiful Grade 2 listed building, with the communal buildings and cottages set in lovely gardens. Each cottage has its own front door and comprises a lounge, small kitchen and bathroom and a bedroom upstairs.

The Brethren enjoy many benefits, including the opportunity to live independently within a supportive community. Each cottage has an emergency call system connected to Matron’s cottage. Satellite Television facilities were recently installed and made available to each cottage. Brethren have the opportunity to go on excursions and visits to local landmarks and places of interest. Twice a year there is a traditional celebratory 'Feast' for the Brethren, the Epiphany Feast in January and the Trinity Feast in June. Other informal events, such as barbeques and coffee mornings, are regular features in the diary. The Hospital community has a Christian ethos. There is a Chaplain, and the Brethren are encouraged to attend daily weekday services in the Hospital Chapel, as well as special services such as Harvest Festival and Christmas Carols.


Brethren are appointed by the Master Governor. The criteria for consideration are based on the original objectives established in the Will of John Darrel:

  • Applicants must be male bachelors or widowers
  • Applicants must be over the age of 50
  • Applicants must be of good character
  • Applicants must be of poor or modest means
  • Applicants must be able to look after themselves
  • Applicants must have a connection to Retford or the surrounding area
  • Preference will be given to any descendants of John Darrel
  • Applications must be made in writing to the Bailiff, and references will be taken.

If you would like to know more, please contact us, or click here to download and print the application form.

Privacy Policy
Registered Charity No. 231984
Registered Charity Office: Trinity Estate Office, Newcastle House, 37 Bridgegate, Retford, DN22 7UX

Built with gusto by CREATEINN