A ‘SECRET’ seal at the Lord Leycester Hospital in Warwick is one step closer to being revealed.
A plaque was placed in the Great Hall 400 years ago to commemorate King James I’s visit to the medieval High Street building which has been a retirement home for old soldiers since the 16th century.
He was invited to the town in November 1617 by Chancellor of the Exchequer Sir Fulke Greville, who lived at Warwick Castle, and enjoyed a feast at the Lord Leycester which lasted three days.
Since then the hall has been known as King James Hall – but the plaque which recognised his time there was covered up in the 1950s.
A hospital spokeswoman said: “It is believed the seal was covered partly in order to preserve it.
“A false wall was installed at one end of the Great Hall, covering the original fireplace and the mantle where the seal is positioned.
“The seal is quite large, some 5ft in diameter, and early exploratory work has determined the seal has incurred some damage over the years.”
Now to restore the plaque to its former glory, the grade I listed hospital – which is a charity and remains a home to wounded and retired soldiers – is aiming to raise £50,000.
The money will pay for restoring the original wall and fireplace along with the seal.
To kick-start fund-raising the charity hosted a replica of the feast – with guests dressed in 17th century attire enjoying pease soup, roasted meats, vegetables and posset.
The spokeswoman added: “We want the Great Hall to go on being a place to hold special events and celebration and we want to ‘reveal the seal’ so it is on display for all to see.”
Visit www.lordleycester.com to find out more.