views updated May 21 2018

1. Establishment founded and endowed by private charity for the reception, housing, and support of the aged poor. Almshouses often consisted of groups of dwellings, sometimes with a chapel and dining-hall. Many English almshouses were erected following the dissolution of the monasteries: some are very simple terraces of houses, but others, e.g. the Beauchamp Almshouses at Newland, Worcs. (complete with church), of 1862–4, have architectural pretensions.

2. House where alms of a monastery were dispensed.


Bailey (1988);
Godfrey (1955)


views updated May 29 2018

alms·house / ˈä(l)mzˌhous/ • n. a house built originally by a charitable person or organization for poor people to live in.