Saturday, 29 May 2010

The Hospital of St Cross

The Church of St Cross. Click the heading for more photos of the church.

The Hospital of St Cross, Winchester, is the oldest charitable institution in Britain, founded in 1133 by Henri de Blois, King William's grandson. It has been home to the Master and Brethren of St Cross since medieval times.

The Hospital* is also England's oldest continuing almshouse and is a group of medieval and Tudor buildings, including a medieval hall and tower, Tudor cloister, the Norman church and gardens. For over 850 years St Cross has provided food and shelter to people in need and visitors can still receive the Wayfarer's Dole (a small beaker of beer and a morsel of bread) on request. In times past in the Hundred Mens' Hall up to a hundred poor men received a daily ration of food.

My father Patrick was first married here to Catherine Stephenson in 1940.

Visiting on a rainy day in May, I came across the Society for Creative Anachronism holding a fair and engaged in a pilgrimage to nearby Winchester Cathedral. Click here for some photos.

[*The term "hospital", in this context, has the same origin as "hospitality"]