Hospital of St Nicholas.


OS Ref: NJ 319517   RCAHMS No: NJ35SW 2

The Hospital of St Nicholas at Boat o' Brig on the River Spey has long occupied the imagination of historians principally because of a complete absence of any remains of this once important ecclesiastical site.

The hospital was built for the reception of poor travellers at this crossing point on the river.  It was mentioned as early as 1232 and was assigned to the chapter of the cathedral - "A brook that falleth into the River Spey at the passage-boat, calle the Boat of Bridge, was formerly called Orkil (now the Burn of Mulben); and the lands on the banks of it were called Inverorkil, which lands Muriel de Polloc mortified in the 13th century, for building an hospital there, of which hospital some vestiges still remain." King Alexander II in 1232 granted provision of a chaplain for the hospital. It is said that there was a wooden bridge here across the River Spey also built, it is said, by Muriel. it was known as Pons de Spe. One ancient tradition tells that the bridge was first built by the Romans. The wooden bridge was swept away some time after the Reformation - presumably the dissolution of the hospital meant that there was nobody to maintain it - and it was not re-built until 1830. There was no other bridge for miles - for 250 years only a ferry served the crossing.

Any remains of the hospital disappeared in 1830 when the bridge was rebuilt. However, locals say that snow never lies on its site, near the bridge-end.

Skene makes the Pictish town of Tuessis, of the Vacomagi tribe, hereabouts, mentioned by Ptolemy in the 2nd century. However, there is much debate on this subject.





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