The Eastbridge, or the Hospital of St. Thomas the Martyr, Eastbridge to give it its full name, is not a hospital as we use the word today. It was and is still a hospital in the original sense of the word, a place of hospitality.
Since its foundation in the 12th century the Archbishop of Canterbury has been the patron. Originally created to provide for pilgrims visiting the tomb of St Thomas Becket, for over 800 years the Eastbridge has given shelter and help to pilgrims, soldiers, local societies and schoolchildren. For the last 400 years it has provided and still provides, a permanent home to a number of elderly people.
Today Eastbridge remains, in part, an almshouse (see Almshouses and our Residents) and most of its historic buildings are open to the public. The two chapels within the Hospital are in regular use and a number of exhibitions covering a variety of topics are held, usually in the Undercroft, throughout the year.