You can often date a building by its style, a style is something we inherit, an historical legacy, which will pass from past generations on to future generations. In historical terms, a legacy is something that is handed down from one period of time to another.
As an architect, I often wonder what legacy I will leave behind, I pay attention to the detail on the buildings that I design as I know they will be here long after I am gone. Legacies are, more or less, what we remember about a person, a building or even a country. What an individual does might, in the future, be a memorable legacy and that’s what I want to talk about today.
At the weekend I had the privilege of being invited to the 350th Anniversary of the death of Dr John Darrel, founder of the Trinity Hospital in Retford. His story is one of a remarkable man whose unselfish act of charity left a huge legacy and which is still being appreciated today. John Darrel was born in Retford in 1624, he attended Lincoln College in Oxford gaining an MA. He inherited the Manor of West Retford and in his will of 1664, talks of his thanks to God for the good fortune he enjoyed from the inherited estates and the obligation he felt to dedicate his estate to charity.
On his death the Manor became known as ‘The Hospital of the Holy and Undivided Trinity’ and provided homes to 16 men, known as ‘Brethren’ and was governed by the Subdean of Lincoln, known as the ‘Master Governor’. Another charity, known as the Darrel Scholarship, was set up to provide grants to students studying at Exeter College in Oxford.
350 years after his death, Trinity Hospital continues to provide a community for single men of Retford and grants are still made to students of Exeter College, Oxford. What a legacy, an unselfish act of kindness that has provided care and support for many, spanning 350 years.
The day started with a Service of Celebration at St Michael’s Church, West Retford and was followed by a splendid meal at the West Retford Hotel, before visiting Trinity Hospital. The Master Governor, Canon John Patrick, welcomed everyone and thanked everyone for their help with the charity before toasting the benefactor, Dr John Darrel.
When you read about men like John Darrel, he sets a high precedence for leaving a legacy and probably out of reach for most, but what I can do is assist the charity to help them realise John’s dedication. We are delighted to be able to work alongside the Trinity Hospital Charity and look forward this year to progressing with their extension project.