The Hospital of St Cross and Almshouse of Noble Poverty is a medieval almshouse in Winchester, Hampshire, England, founded between 1132 and 1136. It is the oldest charitable institution in the United Kingdom. The founder was Henry of Blois, Bishop of Winchester, grandson of William the Conqueror and younger brother to King Stephen of England.Take the guesswork out of planning a Winchester vacation by using our trip itinerary maker.
It is also the largest medieval almshouse in Britain: it is built on the scale of an Oxford or Cambridge college, although it is older than any of the colleges at those universities. It has been described as "England's oldest and most perfect almshouse". Most of the buildings and grounds are open to the public at certain times.
The Hospital still provides accommodation for a total of 25 elderly men, known as "The Brothers", under the care of "The Master". They belong to either of two charitable foundations: those belonging to the Order of the Hospital of St Cross (founded around 1132) wear black trencher hats and black robes with a silver badge in the shape of a Jerusalem cross, while those belonging to the Order of Noble Poverty (founded in 1445) wear claret trencher hats and claret robes with a silver cardinal’s badge in memory of Cardinal Beaufort. They are often referred to as the "Black Brothers" and the "Red Brothers". Brothers must be single, widowed or divorced, and over 60 years of age. Preference is given to those in most need. They are expected to wear their robes and attend daily morning prayers in the Church.
Hospital of St Cross Reviews
An interesting place, tranquil and restful. The gardens are beautiful even in October and extremely well maintained and the coffee and cakes were delicious more »
We were fortunate enough to enjoy and evening here for an event. It is a magical setting and such an historically interesting place. Worth checking out the beautiful grounds and medieval buildings more »
Had my little boy here, a couple of the staff had a real lack of job satisfaction. Midwife was lovely though and we got a birthing pool. Which was great
Well worth a visit. Try for the historical dole. The site is beautiful with well maintained gardens in the setting of the Water Meadows overlooked by St Catherine's Hill. Refreshments available.
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