The Hospital of St Cross in Winchester is an Almshouse of Noble Poverty. It’s a church, once also a hospital but also a home to two orders of brothers.
It’s such a beautiful place, in a gorgeous setting, it’s no wonder it’s been used by a variety of production companies for filming. One of the most notable and recent was the television show Wolf Hall.
I didn’t know you could visit until one year I went to the Christmas market with my Aunt and discovered it.
Looking for somewhere new to visit? Discover The Hospital of St Cross…
The Hospital of St Cross
The Hospital of St Cross has a beautiful church, grounds and series of buildings containing the brothers dwellings.
But, when it comes to the rest of the site, I can only describe it as a form of modern day community, an evolution of perhaps what you’d expect a traditional monk to be. They even make their own honey!
But, the brothers have never been monks and The Hospital of St Cross has never been a monastery. They describe themselves as a secular foundation.
I quickly came to the conclusion that it’s a community that tries to support the less fortunate people within society. Although despite it saying it’s secular, it still feels weirdly religious. I’m not sure where
It’s on the route of one of my favourite walks through Winchester and it’s surrounded by fields and looks very pretty.
St Cross accepts daily visitors and you can even arrange a guided tour, if you enquire well in advance.
The grounds are gorgeous and the buildings stunning. The church is particularly beautiful too and deceptively large, it definitely looks smaller on the outside.
There’s a fair bit to explore, enough to fill an afternoon and discover a part of Winchester you’ve never seen before.
My favourite part of the grounds is at the back by a large pond that kind of looks like a long swimming pool. It has a huge tree hanging over it with beautiful little flowers that pop up under it at different times of the year.
The church, hospital and surrounding buildings have an extensive history as do the monks and brothers that have occupied The Hospital of St Cross.
I’d be a fraud if I said I was good at history. I’m absolutely terrible and you’re best reading the ‘History’, ‘Church’ and ‘Brothers’ sections of the website. It explains the origins and story of the brothers and the buildings in Winchester perfectly and in quite a succinct and manageable little read.
It’s worth noting that it has a summer fete and winter Christmas market which are nice to pop in and browse around – when pandemics permit of course!
When I went I got to hold several owls, bought some honey and stunning stained glass style Christmas decorations and tried some of the brothers mulled apple juice. Yes, I did feel like I was at Hogwarts with an owl on my arm surrounded by these incredible buildings.
I also tried calligraphy at one of the stands which got me back into learning how to letter again. It was a lovely afternoon spent with friends and family discovering somewhere new on our doorstep.
Summer (1 April to 31 October)
9.30am-5.00pm (Monday to Saturday) and 1pm-5pm (Sundays)
Winter (1 November to 31 March)
10.30am-3.30pm (Monday to Saturday) and closed on Sunday except for church services
Guided tours are available by prior arrangement.
If you want to visit take a look at the website for all the details and the most up to date opening information.
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