History of All Hallows Healthcare Trust

In 1855 the Community of All Hallows was founded by Lavinia Crosse, daughter of a Norwich surgeon, who came to be known as Mother Lavinia. In 1872 Mother Lavinia set up a Hospital in a cottage in Ditchingham but very soon the cottage proved to be too small and work began on the present building, which was opened a year later. Sir Rider Haggard visited in the early days when he was resident in Ditchingham.

Mother Lavinia became the Community of All Hallows first supervisor and applied to Norfolk and Norwich Hospital for Sisters to be trained as nurses to work in the Hospital.

The earliest records tell of burns from paraffin lamps and injuries from falls from carts and horses. Doctors and surgeon cared for the sick, but qualified nurses were a rarity at that time. Day to day nursing was carried out by the Community Sisters and their voluntary helpers. However, in 1902 the Community had a fully trained nurse, Sister Augusta, who worked at the Hospital.


Patients came to the Hospital for surgery and medical care and there were also beds for those who needed constant nursing during the last few days of their life. The First World War put a stop to much of the Hospital’s care for local people, whilst wounded and sick soldiers were looked after during a four year period.

In 1933 Sister Gwyneth took charge and the maternity section grew. Mothers from surrounding villages came to have their babies at the Hospital. After 35 years Sister Gwyneth retired and the Hospital was put in the care of Sister Frances in 1968. She was not a nurse, therefore Sister Joy became Matron. In Sister Joy’s time as Matron the NHS was asked if they would be interested in using beds at All Hallows and they funded eight. Since the deaths of Sister Joy (1976) and Sister Frances (1980), the Sisters from the Community have continued to care for the patients and relatives pastoral needs. Today the Sisters are few in number and the Hospital is staffed by a professional lay team.


In 1994 the Community took over the operation of a 38 bedded residential home now known as All Hallows Nursing Home, providing long term nursing care with respite beds available.

The Day Treatment and Therapy Centre was built and opened in May 2004 in the grounds of the Hospital.

In May 2007 it was announced that the Sisters from the Community were to promote an independent charity. A registered charity and a company limited by guarantee was then formed: All Hallows Healthcare Trust.

In 2009 All Hallows Homecare was launched introducing care at home and shortly after Befriending and Meals on Wheels were introduced.

The Trust continues to provide a seamless service of integrated health and social care.

The care team aims to support people with health and social care needs to stay in their own home and community rather than be admitted to an acute or main hospital or into long term care. It provides medical care to people when they have been admitted and then discharged from a main hospital, helps people to remain independent and helps to identify any on-going needs. We are constantly evolving and developing existing services and introducing new ones to help improve the health and well-being of our local population living in South Norfolk and North Suffolk.